Flu-proof your course: Assignments

As we head into the Fall semester, Duke officials are preparing for possible incidents of the H1N1 flu virus.  Influenza has the potential to keep students out of classes for up to a week and could have an impact on keeping all of your students on task and up to date in your course.

In our previous post, we considered how disruptive absences from your course can be to individual students and the class.  One way to keep your students participating in the course is to use the Assignments tool in Blackboard.

The Assignments tool allows you to set up a point in your Blackboard course where students can submit files – Word documents, images, or virtually any electronic material.  The Assignment shows up as a column in Blackboard’s Grade Center where you can download the submissions, examine them and make comments, and send a notated document and comments back to the student. Or, if you choose, you can print and grade the assignments offline (although returning these paper assignments to students may also be difficult if flu is still impacting the class).

Only you and the individual student can view their submission, along with anyone you have set up in your Blackboard course in the role of Instructor, Teaching Assistant, or Grader.

If you have one or more students unable attend courses due to illness, but still feel well enough to keep up with coursework, the Assignments tool can be an invaluable resource, allowing them to submit work electronically.

You can learn more about the Assignments tool and view a short video about how it works on Duke’s Blackboard support site.  In addition, the CIT offers training and office visits on Blackboard features.  For more information, see the CIT’s website for a summary of resources to flu-proof your course.