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Blackboard Help

Link to Tools in a Course Area

Providing the relevant tools for a lesson within a course area creates a seamless experience for users. For example, you can provide discussion forums and journals with multimedia, lecture files, and tests.

When you include a tool in a course area, you can describe what it is used for, provide instructions for the tool, and attach necessary files. For example, you can link to a blog, attach a file to read, and explain that users need to post to the blog next week.

Your institution controls which tools are available. You have the ability to disable tools in your course on the Control PanelCustomization > Tool Availability. To learn more, see Course Tool Availability.

Watch a Tutorial

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Methods for Adding Tools in Your Course

Deciding where to put tools depends on the situation.

Method 1: Access individual tools from the course menu. This method provides quick access to frequently used tools. Make the Tools link on the course menu unavailable so students cannot access other unneeded tools. To learn more, see Course Menu.

Method 2: Access individual tools from a course area. With this method, you can provide tools near related content. For example, if students are required to read an item in a content area and then respond on the discussion board, add a tool link in the content area for easy discussion board participation. To learn more, see How to Add a Tool Link in a Course Area.

Method 3: Access tools from the Tools link on the course menu. Consider using this method to quickly set up your course. Use for a course that supplements a face-to-face class and provides tools for online communication outside of the regular classroom.

About Tool Types

In the following table, learn about the types of tools available to help students meet your learning objectives and pedagogical requirements.

Tool Type Description
Discussion Board The discussion board is an asynchronous tool for sharing thoughts and ideas about class materials. The discussion board is made up of forums that may appear anywhere in your course, but are also all centrally located in the discussion board tool.

To learn more, see Discussion Board.

Blog A blog is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for public viewing. Each blog entry can include any combination of text, images, links, multimedia, mashups, and attachments.

To learn more, see Blogs.

Journal Journals provide a personal space for students to communicate privately with you, the instructor. Students can also use journals as a self-reflective tool to post their opinions, ideas, and concerns about the course, or discuss and analyze course materials.

To learn more, see Journals.

Wikis A wiki is a collaborative tool that enables multiple writers to collaboratively contribute and modify one or more pages of content. Users can create and edit pages quickly, while tracking changes and additions.

To learn more, see Wikis.

Groups You can link to the group tool to access all groups -OR- link to a specific group page.

To learn more, see Course Groups.

Chat Chat allows users to interact with each other using a text-based messaging tool in real time.

To learn more, see Chat.

Virtual Classroom The virtual classroom includes a shared whiteboard, chat, group browser, and a map for navigating to areas in your course.

To learn more, see Virtual Classroom.

Tools Area The Tools Area provides a list all tools that are available to students.
More Tools Click More Tools to expand the drop-down list to include additional tools. Click it again to hide the additional tools.

How to Add a Tool Link in a Course Area

You can link to an entire tool, such as the main blogs page, or an area of the tool, such as a specific blog. You can also create a new blog while working in the course area.

From the Tools drop-down list, you can also select Tools Area so users can access a list of all available tools in your course.

  1. Change Edit Mode to ON and access a content area or folder.
  2. On the action bar, point to Tools to access the drop-down list to create a link to a tool or the entire tools area. You can show or hide additional tools by clicking More Tools.

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  3. In this example, click Blogs. The following steps refer to creating a blog link. The steps are similar for other tools.
  4. On the Create Link: Blog page:
    • Click Link to the Blogs Page to link to the blogs listing page where all blogs appear.


    • Click Link to a Blog and select a specific blog from the list.


    • Click Create New Blog to add a link to a blog you create at this time. On the Create Blog page, type a Name and select settings for the new blog. After clicking Submit, the newly created blog appears in the list of blogs to choose from when adding a link in your course.

      Image illustrating associated text

  5. Click Next.
  6. On the Create Link page, type a Link Name.
  7. Optionally, type a description in the box.
  8. Select the Options:
    1. Click Yes for Available to make the link visible to users.
    2. Click Yes to Track Number of Views.
    3. Select the Display After and Display Until check boxes to enable the date and time selections. Display restrictions do not affect item availability, only when it appears.
  9. Click Submit.