How many times has this happened to you?
You’re revising a class handout, and manage to get it just how you want it. You print copies, but then get interrupted. As you’re handing the document out, you realize, “I forgot to put a copy on Blackboard!” You add “upload the document” to your ever-growing to-do list. (Or you make a mental note and hope you remember to do so later!).
Or, you decide you’re going to get ahead of the game for once. You revise your PowerPoint slides a few weeks before the class session and schedule them to post to your Blackboard site. But then on the morning of your class, you decide to change the slides significantly, which mens you have to re-upload them.
How would you like to make two small changes to how you upload your course material to Blackboard at the start of the semester in return for a compounding sliver of your mental energy and focus back each day? A sliver you could reinvest in the things that matter most to you, like crafting meaningful assignments and mentoring students.
What if implementing this time-saving tip meant you could:
- Schedule the document to post to Blackboard at the correct time
- Revise the document at your convenience after scheduling it to post
- Never have to remember to upload it to Blackboard
- Always allow students to access the most recent version of course documents
If you already save your course documents in a cloud drive, you can do precisely these things by making two small changes to how you upload your course material to Blackboard.
- Upload a link to the document in the cloud, not the static document itself.
- Schedule the link to your document to go live at a set date and time.
Here’s how to implement this time-saving tip.
Step 1: Follow the Cloud Drive-Specific Instructions to Get a Shareable Link to the Existing Document
Instructions for Dropbox
Instructions for Google Drive
Note if your school uses Google Drive, when you click “get a shareable link” (in Step 2) the sharing permissions will default to “Anyone at YOUR UNIVERSITY with the link can view.” So that students can access the file regardless of which account they’re logged into, follow these steps at well.
Click on “Get shareable link” and click on the downward triangle next to “Anyone at YOUR UNIVERSITY with the link can view.” Then, select “More” at the bottom of the dropdown menu.
Click the radio button next to “On – Anyone with the link” and click “Save.”
Now, copy the resulting link.
Instructions for Box
Step 2: Create a Web Link on Blackboard and Set it to Post at the Desired Date and Time
In Blackboard, navigate to the course and content area you’d like to add the document to. At the top of the page, hover over “Build Content” and then click on “Web Link.”
Title your web link appropriately and paste the URL in the box.
At the bottom of the screen, under the “Select Date and Time Restrictions,” check the box to the left of “Display After.” Then enter the date and time you’d like students to be able to access the document. For instance, if you’re posting lecture slides or an assignment you will hand out in class, type the date of the class lecture and the time that particular class period ends.
Click “Save.” You should now see an item with greyed out “Availability” information below it, like this:
Important note: If you do not see the greyed out availability information, the link to the document has been posted to Blackboard. Your students can see it in its current form. To change this, click on the downward facing triangle inside the grey circle next to the File Name (“Paper 1 Rubric” in the example above) and select edit. Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and set date and time restrictions.
Step 3: Revise the Document in Your Cloud Drive
If you have followed the above steps, you can revise your document between now and when it posts. Students will not be able to access the document before the date and time you set above.
Step 4: Relish the Reduced To-Do List Items and Drain on Your Memory
Once the date and time comes, the link to the document will automatically go live, without any thought or effort on your part. So, you’ll never see “post class slides” or “post review sheet” on your to-do list again or have to keep track of what you’ve already uploaded to Blackboard.
Small Next Steps to Implement this Time-Saving Tip Now
Take these first steps now to reduce what you have to juggle–both in the hectic first few weeks of classes and later this semester.
✓ Before Classes Begin: Pre-post materials to Blackboard for the first 2 weeks
✓ During the First 2 Weeks: Revise those documents before the post date and time
✓ After Accomplishing 1&2: Use teaching prep time to pre-post as many links as possible
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