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FACULTY WEB SUPPORT: BLACKBOARD AND CUSTOM CLASS SITES

There are two options available to faculty members and their staff for creating and maintaining course Web pages, ranging from full-featured to basic:

  1. Blackboard system
  2. A custom site you create from scratch (or hire an outside consultant to create)

Factors to consider in your choice include:

  • your familiarity with Web editing tools (such as Dreamweaver MX)
  • security concerns in regard to your material
  • time commitment involved
  • the availability of advanced features

1. Blackboard

Blackboard is a popular Web-based class administration tool supported by Northwestern. Each class has its own "website" that is pre-made, yet customizable by the instructor.

Files posted to Blackboard are only available from the beginning to the end of a quarter. If you choose to use Blackboard, we recommend also posting your syllabus on your Teaching Tab. This will allow students to access the syllabus during course bidding so they can make an informed decision when registering for courses.

Advantages include:

  • Requires no knowledge of html or Web editing software
  • Integrated with campus-wide security structure, i.e. NetID and password
  • Access may be restricted to class members only
  • Advanced features include automatic enrollment of students, discussion groups reserved for registered students or subsets of your class, and varying levels of access for TA's or DA's
  • Easy upload of files for student download
  • Online quizzes, grade posting, document handoff
  • Ability to e-mail some or all of the students enrolled in your course

Disadvantages include:

  • Less control over graphic layout of site
  • Requires use of complete package, although most features can be disabled by the instructor
  • Students cannot access the syllabus from previous classes

Getting Started:
For more information, including how to request a site for your course(s), please visit the Kellogg Information Systems (KIS) hosted website Using Blackboard at Kellogg, as well as the NU supported Course Management System Help and Support Site.

Blackboard Permissions
Access to course pages built using Blackboard may be controlled on an individual-user basis, allowing a faculty member to restrict access to class attendees or any combination of users. Control the security settings for each section of your Blackboard site by selecting the Control Panel and choosing Course Options under the Site Management category.

Linking to Blackboard Pages
Students access files for their courses by entering through the Blackboard log in page. In general, there is no need to link to Blackboard from your Faculty Directory Page.

If you would like to link to Blackborad from your Faculty Directory Page, go to the Sitecore login and enter the Blackborad URL in the location for "Course Page" in the Sitecore Content Editor.

Blackboard URL: https://courses.northwestern.edu/webapps/login/

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2. Custom Course Sites

Based on your level of expertise, you may choose to link from your Faculty Directory Page directly to a website you have designed and built yourself. Knowledge of Web editing software is helpful in building your custom site.

Advantages include:

  • Ability to create a unique website for each class you teach
  • Complete control of site content
  • Freedom to experiment with different layouts and styles
  • Ability to restrict access to Kellogg NetID users only
Disadvantages include:
  • Requires knowledge of Web editing software or Web authoring language
  • Cannot restrict access to class members only as in Blackboard
  • No built-in discussion groups, no built-in e-mail, no document handoff capabilities

Getting Started:

  • You may wish to obtain Web editing software. The software of choice at the Kellogg School is Dreamweaver. This can be purchased through your department.
  • Based on your level of expertise, you may now either start working or contact your department's Web administrator for assistance.
  • Receive a Dreamweaver tutorial at Using Dreamweaver.
  • Northwestern offers classes to faculty and staff on Web authoring with Dreamweaver MX. The schedule is located on the Human Resources website.


Linking an existing site to a Faculty Directory page:
If you would like to link to your custom course page from your Faculty Directory Page, go to the Sitecore login and enter the URL of your page in the location for "Course Page" in the Sitecore Content Editor.

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