UAB Online Announces Campus Overview Sessions for Blackboard and Instructure/Canvas

As the academic learning system selection process continues, the two finalists will be making presentations to the UAB Campus between October 29-31.  Sessions will be held in the Center for Teaching and Learning
(Education Building Room 243 across from Sterne Library) and will also be streamed live for those that wish to participate online.   Both Blackboard and Instructure/Canvas will present identical sessions over different days to accomodate as many schedules as possible.

Schedule: (Note: session archives are now available, see below)

  • Tuesday October 29
  • Wednesday October 30
    • Canvas overview session at 11:00am
    • Blackboard overview session 2:00PM (view archive)
  • Thursday October 31
    • Blackboard overview session 11:00am

More information on the learning system selection process can be found on the UAB Online website.
A "needs assessment survey" is open for all interested faculty, staff, students and instructional designers (i.e. "UAB Online stakeholders") to share their thoughts on features/tools that must be present in the UAB learning management system (LMS), whether the current system (Blackboard) is selected, or a new one is adopted. The survey will be open through Aug. 5 and the results will be announced in the eReporter and posted on the UAB Online website by Aug.12. All are encouraged to complete the nine-question survey and give feedback. Direct questions regarding the process to The survey can also be accessed from UAB Online.

UAB's contract with Blackboard as the academic learning management system will be ending in September 2014. In order to ensure a fully informed decision is made related to this critical system, an academic-driven process is in place for LMS evaluation, decision and rollout, which will heavily involve the CTL Academic Council, the UAB Online Academic Council and the Instructional Designers Consortium. All three groups will be needed to ensure broad and deep participation throughout the UAB community in this important decision process. For details on the process see

Post an Announcement in Your Course

Announcements will appear in the Announcements module on your institution home page and on the course home page (if the default home page is retained). You can also designate announcements as the home page if you so desire. You can also opt to email announcements to each individual in the course. This option uses the email address imported in the course roster.



Send an Email to your Course Roster

The email tool sends an email to designated class participants from your account to the participants’ accounts. The message does not reside in blackboard, it is sent from Outlook or other email client, and responses to that email will come into your email client inbox.

If you use this feature, you may want to create a folder for you course in your email client and set up a rule to drop email from course members into that folder. This will help you organize emails from several different courses. You can select from the following lists or select individual users




Post an Announcement

Upload Your Syllabus

On the course home page, on the top left corner of the page, you will see a list of links similar to the image below. This is the course menu. To add a link to your syllabus in the course menu:


Click on the syllabus link to access the content area you have created and you will see this set of menus across the top of the content frame:


On this page:




At this point, just ignore the Standard Options listed under "2." and hit submit. You’ll then see this screen, with Blackboard helpfully telling you that you have succeeded in your quest:


And it speaks the turhth, you have now successfully uploaded your syllabus. For the skeptics among us, we can confirm using that students can access what we've uploaded using the Edit Mode OFF view:


The syllabus is loaded. A couple other useful features allow you to communicate with students: email, and Announcements.
Let's look at email first.

The Course Home Page

Now we're at your course home page. If you've never edited any item in a course shell before, you'll see this view, containing 3 major components:

  1. The course menu
  2. The content frame
  3. The control panel


Click here if you want to learn more about the course home page. But, if you just have some very specific needs, we'll address some essentials here:

IF all you want to do is….

Click on on any of the above to get started.

Getting Started in the Blackboard LMS

You can access your blackboard course shells through the Faculty Dashboard under the Courses & Training tab in Blazernet. But since you're already here, this page will walk you through logging in to the system from this web site, right after we list a few blackboard basics:

  • Maximum individual Course size = 2 GB : the sum total of the files you load into your course cannot exceed 2 GB (this does not include files loaded by students in a given term)
  • Maximum Individual file size = 50 MB: but you really shouldn't test this maximum out. Large files are difficult to access for some students on the other end (particularly if they have limited bandwidth connections at home). You should use our streaming server for large files.
  • Only instructors from the previous and current terms, and students enrolled in the current term will have access to the system
  • Seminars and labs don’t get populated with instructors. If you are teaching a course that contains a B,D, or E in its banner ID then you will have to request to be placed in the course as instructor (
  • Standard Course Timeline:
    • Course shell loads 35 weeks before the academic term starts: you will be able to access and edit the course shell at this point in time; e.g. course shells for the Fall 2012 term (start date of August 15th) were loaded into the system on 12/14/2011.
    • Note: You will not have access to any course shell unless you have been entered into Banner as the instructor of record.
    • By default students can access their courses on the first official day of term; instructors can change this through the course request form
    • By default, students have access to their courses for 10 days beyond the last day of term; instructors can change this using the course request form
    • Instructors can view student enrollment details 15 days prior to the start of term, but you won’t be able to communicate (e.g. send announcements or email) until the first day of term unless you request that students get access to your course prior to the first class date.
    • Your courses will be archived after 2 years plus 1 term beyond the course completion date.

Click to learn about logging in