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Home > Faculty & Staff > Technology > Technology Applications Center > Blackboard Competency > FAQ

Blackboard Competency FAQ

How do I become Blackboard Competent?

  1. Teaching online for ELI.
  2. Taking BB I, BB II and BB III within the last 2 years and completing the deliverables for each of these workshops.
  3. Demonstrating BB competence via BB usage.  See the "Criteria" below.

Are Blackboard Competency and Blackboard Certification the same thing?

No, they are not.  Blackboard Competency is measured via any of the following things :

  1. Teaching online for ELI.
  2. Taking BB I, BB II and BB III within the last 2 years and completing the deliverable for each of these workshops.
  3. Demonstrating BB competence via BB usage.  See the "Criteria" below.

To complete the Blackboard Certificate program, you must attend TAC’s Blackboard I, II and II required training sessions (or demonstrate average development of these skills via Blackboard usage), complete the deliverables for each of these workshops, and attend a Blackbard elective covering a Blackboard Building block (such as Wimba, Respondus, StudyMate, Impatica, SafeAssign and Collaborate).  You apply for TAC Blackboard certification via your campus TAC mentor.

What would be the best first step for an absolute Blackboard beginner?

An absolute beginner should take BB I, BB II and BB III.  Each is a two-hour workshop that addresses one of the major portions of BB.

Does being competent mean you know how to do these things in Blackboard OR does it mean you have to show you can use these things?

If there is no demonstrated usage of Blackboard in your course, TAC will not know you are Blackboard competent.  Therefore, you will need to actually show us you have these skills within one of your Blackboard courses for this semester.  For Blackboard III, you could, for example, deploy a test or a survey but make that link inactive.  Then your students won’t see the link, but the test’s deployment would show up in our BB usage data report, and you would be good for BB III.  Likewise, you could create a "Frequently Asked Questions" discussion forum and post some answers to questions that you are asked each semester. Then you would satisfy the Blackboard II component.

If I participate in a Blackboard training session that was not offered by TAC, does that counts towards Blackboard competency or the Blackboard Certificate?

Participating in a training session not offered by TAC means you will need to apply the principles you learned that session to achieve Blackboard competency via demonstrate usage. 

It now appears that colleges will not close during a flu outbreak, so why do we need to worry about Blackboard?

While the college may not close, it is likely that many faculty and students will be affected and might miss as many as two weeks or more as the flu works its way through a family.  At the peak of the flu outbreak, as well as at other times, Blackboard is an important tool and much better than email for ensuring that students do not fall far behind in your class or that a huge chunk of instructional time is not totally lost.

My class is not one that can be moved online if we have to close.  Do I still need to be competent in Blackboard?

It is important for all faculty to know how to use this important tool for communicating with their students.  Even if your class itself cannot be put online, it will be important for you to maintain contact with students.  Once you master this tool, you may find it actually makes it possible to continue at least some instruction – especially since it looks like we might not close but still have lots of people missing class due to the flu.

Why do I need to be competent in all three areas of Blackboard?  I don’t plan to use them all.

Even though you do not currently plan to use all three areas of Blackboard (Moving Content Online, Successful Online Communication, and Creating Online Assessments), in an emergency you might need the full set of skills.  We have given very careful thought to the minimum skills required.  Choosing to skip some of these minimum requirements is a little like students choosing which content in your course they want to cover.  Having the skills does not mean you are required to use them more than once or that someone else determines how you should use them.  The one-time demonstration of competency offers so much flexibility that no one should have a problem doing it.

Why do I have to ‘demonstrate’ I can use Blackboard?  Isn’t just sitting through a workshop or going through a tutorial and seeing how it works enough?

It is one thing to “think” you know something and another to be sure.  These skills are so important to our students that we should be willing to demonstrate that we have at least minimal competence—and not just expect to take it on faith that we are ready.

I don’t have a computer or broadband access at home.  What do I do?

Our focus right now is to make sure all faculty are competent in Blackboard.   It looks like our immediate need is to be able to communicate with students during the coming months when the flu season is causing large numbers of absences.   There is no guarantee everyone can work from home, but communicating with our students from the college when students are stuck at home sick or taking care of sick family members is equally important.

Remember, if you were not a Blackboard user before, there are three basic ways to be identified as Blackboard competent:

  • Take the series of three Blackboard workshops (BB I, II and III) and complete the deliverables for each of these workshops.
  • Take one or more of the Blackboard workshops, use the online tutorials for the other two Blackboard content areas and then demonstrate your competence through your use of Blackboard this semester based on the established criteria*. 
  • Use the online tutorials for all three of the content areas, then demonstrate your competence through the use of Blackboard this semester based on the established criteria*.

*For competence in one of your Fall 09 Blackboard courses, demonstrate at least weak development in each of the three Blackboard areas noted below by including at least one of the elements from Blackboard I, II and III.

Criteria for Assessing Blackboard Competencies (Weak Development)

Specific Blackboard Competencies Assessed

Weak development

Blackboard I

1. # of announcements
or 2. # of assignment
or 3. # of available docs

1. 1-2 total
or 2. 1-2
or 3. 1-2

Blackboard II

# of discussion forums
1-2 total

Blackboard III

1. # of deployed tests or surveys
or 2. # of assignments (indirect measure of Grade Center use)


1. 1

or 2. 1