Blackboard has many tools which can be used by students for collaborating on group projects. Before students can take advantage of group tools, an instructor must first create the groups in Blackboard. Creating groups in Blackboard is easy. When in a Blackboard course, navigate to Control Panel -> Users and Groups -> Groups.
The Groups page will be displayed with a list of all groups that currently exist in the course.
If only a single group is needed, the Create Single Group button should be used. If there will be multiple, related groups the Create Group Set button should be used. There are three types of groups in Blackboard:
- Random Enroll groups are just what it sounds like. The instructor chooses either the number of groups or the number of students per group that is wanted and Blackboard automatically creates them.
- Manual Enroll groups allow the instructor to specify which students belong in which groups. It is always possible to go back and change the group configuration later if needed. (Random-Enroll groups can be changed later as well.)
- Self-Enroll groups enable the ability to post a sign-up sheet in a Blackboard content area which students can use to join a group. It is possible to limit the number of students that can join any group. This method is perfect if the students will be forming their own groups or if there is an optional project that students can be a part of.
There are many options that can be set when creating a Blackboard Group, including which tools that they are allowed to use. The tools that can be available to a group are:
- Discussion Board
- File Exchange
Each tool is optional. Just check or uncheck the box for a tool when creating (or editing) a group to turn it on or off. Some tools, such as the blogs and wikis, allow for grading to be turned on. It is also possible to create an assignment as a group assignment that only requires the group to submit once for the entire group instead of having each individual student submit.
More information about creating and using groups in Blackboard can be found online at the Blackboard On Demand Learning Center.