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Blogs: Using Blogs for Summative Assessments

Blogs can be used for summative assessments. A blog on Blackboard is a powerful online tool that is designed for individual students to share their ideas on a topic with classmates.

The blogs on Blackboard have a commenting feature so that fellow students can respond to one another’s thoughts on the activity blogged about. The purpose of pedagogic blog activities is to encourage students to learn to clearly express their ideas. Blogs are a social learning tool.

In Blackboard, instructors create and manage blogs, and only enrolled users can view and create entries and comments in them. Blogs can be used for graded assignments or to gather opinions without assigning a grade.

Step One: Adding a Blog Area to Blackboard

  1. Click on the plus icon on top of the menu bar.
A screenshot of the Blackboard Module Site Navigation Menu. The top of the menu is shown, it contains the site name and ID, and a plus icon in the top left.
  1. Click on the Tool link option.
A screenshot of the Blackboard Module Site Navigation Menu. The Add menu is expanded and the Tool Link option is highlighted.
  1. Click on Blogs from the drop-down, give the item a name describing the activity and tick Available to users.
A screenshot of the Add Tool Link menu in Blackboard, the Name field, the type field, which is set to Blogs, and the Available to Users checkbox is shown.
  1. Move the item up on the menu bar using the Reorder menu items tool.
A screenshot of the Reorder Menu Items feature of a Blackboard Module Site. A list of items is shown including Assessments, Learning Materials and Blogs, two arrows are shown to move an item up or down in the navigation menu.
  1. Click on the menu item and Create Blog.
A screenshot of a Blackboard Module Site, the Blogs page is shown, a red box highlights the Create Blog button.
  1. The Create Blog wizard is comprised of six sections. For the first section, type in the Name of the activity and Instructions for students.
A screenshot of the Create Blog page of a Blackboard Module Site. Two text boxes are shown, the first is Name of the blog, the second is Instructions for how to use the blog.
  1. Fill in the Blog Date and Time Restrictions area.
A screenshot of the Create Blog page of a Blackboard Module Site.  The Blog Availability setting is shown with the option to set to Yes or No. The Limit Availability option is shown with date and time fields for Display After and Display Until.
  1. Fill in the Blog Participation details. Usually blogs would be individual to all students. You may want to untick Anonymous Comments on blogs so that students can only comment on each other’s blogs non-anonymously.
A screenshot of the Create Blog page of a Blackboard Module Site. The Blog Type setting allows for the selection of either 'individual to all students' or Site. A checkbox for allowing anonymous comments is shown.
  1. In the Blog Settings section, select how you want the entries indexed. Weekly is optimum. Decide whether you want to allow students to delete and edit entries after posting (recommended) and whether to delete their comments after posting (recommended).
A screenshot of the Create Blog page of a Blackboard Module Site.  The Blog Settings allow you to index entries monthly or weekly, and you can permit by checking the box, users to edit and delete their entries and or comments.
  1. In the Grade Settings section, select Grade: Points Possible and type the number of Points possible as 100. Set Needs Marking to 1 and set the Due Date. After you enable grading, a column is created automatically in the Grade Centre.
A screenshot of the Create Blog page of a Blackboard Module Site. The Grade Settings allows you to select total points possible if applicable, at what point does the user show as Needs Marking in the grade centre, and the Due Date for entries.
  1. Click Submit. Your Blog is now almost ready to use with students.

Step Two: Hiding the Total Column and the Blog column in Grade Centre

  1. Go to Full Grade Centre.
Screenshot showing the full grade centre menu item in the left hand navigation bar in Blackboard.
  1. Click the chevron next to the Total column and go to Edit Column Information.
A screenshot of the Total Column in the full grade centre. The chevron arrow is shown next to the column title, the expanded menu shows the Edit Column Information option.
  1. In the Options area, make sure Show this Column to Students is set to No.
A screenshot of the Edit Column Information menu for the Total Column in the Grade Centre. The option to make available to students is set to No.
  1. Do the same for the column relating to the Blog summative assignment. Your summative blog assessment is now ready to be used.

Step Three: Unhiding the Blog column in Full Grade Centre to release marks

On the day you are releasing marks and feedback, you need to go to Grade Centre, click the chevron for the Blog column, choose Hide from Students (on/off), and the red line will disappear.