Blackboard 9.1 has two different communication tools for sending communication to students. The first tool is “Messages” and the other tool is “Send Email” The Messages tool allows instructors and students to send messages to other users in the course. Communication sent by the Messages tool remains within the course, and students must check the course to see their messages. This is similar to the old WebCT “Mail” tool. Users can send a message to one or more course users by using the selection tool that is shown below.:
The “Send Email” tool sends messages to the user’s UT email account, and the message is not stored in the course. Students can view and reply to communication using their UT email account. In addition, the “Send Email” tool offers the following presets for sending communication, allowing users to quickly send their communication to one of the following audiences:
- Send email to all of the users in the Course.
- Send email to all of the Groups in the Course.
All Teaching Assistant Users
- Send email to all of the Teaching Assistant users in the Course.
All Student Users
- Send email to all of the Student users in the Course.
All Instructor Users
- Send email to all of the Instructor users in the Course.
All Observer Users
- Send email to all Observer users in the Course.
Single / Select Users
- Select which users will receive the email.
Single / Select Groups
- Select which Groups will receive the email.
Single / Select Observer users
- Send an email to selected Observer users.
Best Practices for using course communication tools
Instructors should indicate their preferred communication method for online courses, and should provide the appropriate tool link and contact information to their students. In addition, instructors should also set a policy for when they will check their communications with students and provide a timeframe in which students should expect a response.