This step guides you to navigate your course and learn basic tools. The Blackboard Tutorials present you with text-based and multimedia-based instruction on how to use tools such as email, discussions, assignments, assessments, announcement, calendar, and learning modules.You are recommended to sign on within two weeks prior to the start of classes to become familiar with navigation and your course interface. Seven days before the first day of your class, registered students may be able to view the course site with online orientation, Blackboard tutorials, or help information. The most updated class information is available on the first day of your online course.

1. Log on to Your Online Course

In the Step 1 of this orientation, you are given information on how to log on to your online course. If you need information, click here.

2. Navigate Your Online Course

After you log on to myCommNet, click on Blackboard icon at upper right. You then enter My Institution page. You will see a list of classes that you have registered. Click on your online class name to enter course Home Page.

A. Entry Page
Your course entry page could be the course announcement or a content page. In general, a content page is divided into two parts: the Course Menu and Main Page. The Course Menu shows links to basic tools or course content such as announcements, calendar, discussions, mail, syllabus, learning modules, web links, etc. When you click on a link in Course Menu, the Main Page displays the tool or the content of the link.

B. Class Information & Organization
It is important to click on each of the links on the Course Menu and explore various files provided by your instructor. Usually the first link is the beginning point for your class. Your professor has information on how you should get started with your course. Many courses label this link as Getting Started or Welcome. In Welcome, you may see other files such as Welcome Message, Online Orientation link, information about your professor, etc. Click on each of the icons to read the files your professor provides. All online courses have syllabus, and the Syllabus link is usually directly located on the Course Menu. The syllabus is your learning guidance. Pay special attention to the section titled as Evaluation, Assessment, or Grading Methods, which shows you what assignments are included and how much weight each of assignments is counted toward your final grade. Another section on the syllabus is Course Outline or Course Schedule. This section gives you an idea on what you are expected to do each week and when is the due date of an assignment. You should print out the class syllabus and read it closely. Some online courses use Learning Module feature and each of a Learning Module represents a Week, a Lesson, or a Session. Many courses place learning modules in a link labeled as Weekly Assignments on the Course Menu. When you click on a Learning Module -such as Week 1, you may see two split windows, click on a link in the left window, you will see detailed information about the link in the right window. The learning module is designed to place all necessary files and tools you need for class assignments in a week, a less, or a session. This tutorial provides more detailed information about a learning module. You may also access learning modules by clicking on Learning Module link in the left column. Most online courses use Discussions feature (bulletin board) to engage students in active participation. The Blackboard Tutorials have instructions on how to read, post, or reply a message on a Discussion board. You are highly recommended to first draft your discussion answers in a MS Word file on your computer. Save a copy of your answers to your computer and then copy/paste your answers to the discussion message window.

3. Learn Basic Tools

After you have gone through various links in Course Menu or a content page, you may practice various tools used in your online course such as announcement, calendar, mail, discussion, email, tests, and assignment. This Blackboard Tutorials provide demonstrations to explain what these tools are and how to work with them. Please go through all segments of this tutorial site to learn basic tools used in online learning.