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Instructor/Designer Support Services


This page is the starting point for instructors and designers with courses in the Blackboard Vista (formerly WebCT Vista) environment at UAB.

Getting Started - If you are new to Blackboard Vista, you may want to begin here.
Requesting a Course Section - will take you to a page that outlines instructions on developing a course section as well as instructions on how to activate the course section and populate it with students.
Tutorials and Guides - contains a series of interactive pieces that will help you get more familiar with Blackboard Vista.
Resources and Tools - has information about supplemental software as well as links to articles about best practices for online teaching.
Frequently Asked Questions - addresses common issues for working in Blackboard Vista.


Getting Started

This area addresses several issues that will help you get started with Blackboard Vista. Once you are familiar with this information, you may want to view the Tutorials and Guides as well as the Frequently Asked Questions page.

User Roles

In Blackboard Vista, building a course is a process distinct from teaching a course, and each of the tasks belongs to a separate role. The role that does the building is called the designer role. For example, designers add assessments, assignments, and content. The role that does the teaching is called the instructor role.

The same person can be enrolled in both roles, allowing him/her to perform both building and teaching tasks. To do this, the user would need to be enrolled as both a section designer and a section instructor (sections are explained in more detail below).

Designers have access to Build functions, which include the following:

  • Create, manage, and organize content, tools, and components.
  • Design quizzes and assignments for evaluating student progress.
  • Provide course members with communication methods.
  • Change the visual presentation of the course.

Instructors have access to Teach functions, which include the following:

  • Communicate with students.
  • Grade assignments, quizzes, and discussions.
  • Manage the Grade Book.
  • Monitor student performance and statistics.
  • Change the visual presentation of the course.

Both instructors and designers also have access to a Student View, which provides the ability to experience the section as a student by taking a quiz, or submitting an assignment, for example.

To obtain a course section, please see Requesting a Course Section by clicking here.

Technical Requirements

Blackboard Vista is web-based. For the application to correctly work for the instructor, designer/developer and student,  the computer must be set up properly.  If your desktop is serviced by a technical administrator,  please request his/her assistance in assuring that it meets requirements specified below.  If you are setting up your own computer,  please access the link below for further instruction.  Once you have done that, you can begin working in your course(s).

To learn how to properly setup your computer, please choose the computer setup guide for your computer
located here.

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Requesting a Course Section

Starting Fall 2008, ALL UAB courses (except labs, independent studies and seminars) will be automatically issued a virtual classroom (Bb Vista course section) to the official instructor(s) of record with default UAB content, 15 weeks prior to the official start date of class according to Banner. Content from previous offerings will not automatically appear in the section, if you would like to request content from a previous course, please see below.


Academic Courses
For  faculty who have previously used the virtual classroom for on-line or blended learning, you can request that the previous course section/content is uploaded. Make this request by completing the “Course Update Request” at www.uab.edu/courseupdaterequests. The request will be filled within 1 – 3 days.

Note: All sections will open to students on the first official day of class and will close five (5) days after the last day of final exams unless otherwise specified by using the Course Update Request form.

Training Courses
To request a course for the Training Institute, please click here.

To see the ITIT calendar of events for available Bb Vista 8, please click here.

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Tutorials and Guides

Instructor/Designer Reference Manual Adobe PDF File

This document is very large (853 pages). You may find it helpful to use the Search function in Adobe Acrobat Reader® to find the topic you are looking for.

Adobe PDF File indicates an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file which requires Adobe Reader (right-click on these files and choose "Save Link as..." to download)

Get Adobe Reader

Designer Demos

These interactive tutorials will help you get comfortable with the features and functions available in Blackboard Vista. You will need to enter your BlazerID and password to access these materials*.

*These presentation requires Adobe Flash Player. If you do not already have this player, please click the icon below.

Get Flash Player

Instructor Demos

These interactive tutorials will help you get comfortable with the features and functions available in Blackboard Vista. You will need to enter your BlazerID and password to access these materials.*

*These presentation requires Adobe Flash Player. If you do not already have this player, please click the icon below.

Get Flash Player

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Resources and Tools

The following is a list of links to tools and resources that may be helpful to you in building and teaching in Blackboard Vista:

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