Enable Professors to preview their content on Bb Student

Blog Post created by yoleneors on Mar 21, 2017

One difficulty institutions face when trying to push for adoption of Bb Student is that Professors have little knowledge of how to create courses which provide a good experience for mobile users, and the lack of visibility of what works and doesn't works.


So here are a few ressources and tricks to help you with those challenges.


1. A "Best Practices" document which has been updated to focus on Bb Student :


I know the international Customer Success Advocate team has been working on an infographic putting this in perspective with pedagogic advice for mobile teaching. I'll make sure to track the final version from  Gillian Fielding  when it's ready and promote it here.


2. There is a specific usergroup focused on Mobile and Collaborate topics,  coordinated by Peter Rayment  :   I encourage you to join, follow and participate in discussions there : EMEA MoCo (Mobile/Collaborate) User Group


3. The BITS (Bb Innovative Teaching Series for Higher Ed) webinars are usually awesome  (Thanks Debbora Woods, MBA !) , and one recently was focused on Mobile learning ; you'll find the recording here [BITS Webinar 03/09/2017] Tips on How to Create a Mobile Friendly Course

More webinars here Higher Ed Blackboard Innovative Teaching Series (BITS)


4. Getting Professors on Bb Student


When Bb Instructor will be available, Professors will be able to preview their content as the students would see it in Bb Student, but in the meantime here is a trick to enable Professors to log into Bb Student and see their course.

They'll be using their preview user, which is automatically created when a Professor uses "Student preview" in a course (a "fake" user is created and enrolled in the course, later on for other courses previewed that same user will be enrolled, so each Professor has a sort of Student-twin).

The issue is that this "fake" account doesn't have real access, a password etc ... But the trick is to have the Bb Administrator edit those users so they have a password.


Instructions for Bb Administrators :

The Bb Administrator need to load an integration flatfile (if you're a Bb Administrator and have no idea what I'm talking about, check Bb Help, and if it's not enough get in touch with your local partner, Solutions Engineer or Behind The Blackboard.)

Set up a new integration, and when you create it, in advanced confiuration make sure that for the "users" feed you change for the default "smart inserts and updates" to "updates only" (to avoid creating accounts that would mess with automatic preview user creation)

You'll use a "person" type of feed with only the required columns plus the passwd column Snapshot Flat File Header Descriptions - Blackboard Help  . By the way, the expernal_person_key is the same as user_id for te preview user, which follow the format username_previewuser (so for example my professor username is yors and so my fake twin is yors_previewuser ). In password, put an information that will be easy to remember for the professor (so they don't have to try and do other real user stuff like password retrieval and get stuck. )

In the settings of your integration, in Advanced configuration , go to the settings of "Users" : Field mapping and make sure that Password is ticked for update (by defalt it is not).

So you can extract you professors database, and then craft your feed so it updates all the existing preview users (you'll get an error message for each professor who's never used student preview ever, which is not big deal and a good way to realize how many are unaware of ths useful feature by the way   )

Voilà, then pass on instructions to your Professors


Instructions for Professors  :

Go to your course, use student preview, and when leaving the preview mode choose "keep user and data".

Download Bb Student (and choose your institution when asked to).

Connect with the preview user credentials given to you by the Bb Administrator.

You'll be able to log into Bb Student as a student, and see your course. Anytime you want to add a course to this list, you just need to enter the your when logged in with your regular professor account, from a computer, and use "student preview" : then it will be available for you in Bb Student right after.

NB : this will obviously only work four course which are available to students, and contents within them which are available to students.


Voilà , i hope it's useful, happy teaching