NBC Learn on Blackboard – Adding a Media Rich Resource to Your Courses

NBC Learn on Blackboard


One of the best things about the connectedness of the web space is the ability to find media rich content to supplement or enhance course activities and materials. The beauty of this particular medium is that it is not just left to the instructor to utilize this media. Students can now liven up online discussions, assignments, projects and more with historical, current or relevant video or audio media. YouTube has long been a mainstay in this arena, in that it’s API allows for easy integration and everyone is familiar with what it does. However, there are other vast collections of resources out there that are relatively untapped by the student/faculty population. One of these curated resources is NBC Learn.

NBC Learn is a rich and unique resource that provides thousands of historic news reports, current event stories, original content, primary source documents, and other digital media specifically designed to teach and engage students. NBC Learn content can easily be downloaded for offline use or connected to your Blackboard courses.

The content is also fully accessible it allows for keyboard navigation, assistive technologies(works with screen readers), support for deaf and hard of hearing. http://www.nbclearn.com/accessibility

NBC Learn PortalYou can Browse NBC Learn, and see the Collection of all NBC resources within the NBC Learn environment. You can browse by category that best matches your field of study or just Search NBC Learn via keyword.

Each video has its own CueCard with metadata like source, date, description, keywords, & citation (allows students or faculty to include citation in posting), as well as transcript tab for full transcript.

NBC Learn Cue Card

  • Each video can be saved to your personal playlist within NBC Learn. You can also print a 2 dimensional version of the CueCard.
  • Download: You can choose a quality version and save it locally to your computer. (You will need administrative access to your computer as the download will be an executable NBC Learn player)
  • Videos can be sorted for easier searching. (Title, Date, Story Date, Alphabetic, Recently Updated)
  • Don’t see your category? NBC Learn allows users to “contact us” and add comments/suggestions in terms of new categories for the NBC learn site.

NBC Learn on Blackboard


NBC Learn & Blackboard – Working Together

There are a couple of ways to add NBC Learn content to your courses:

  1. Employing the Mashups button anywhere you use the Blackboard text/content editor (items, folders, discussions, etc…)
    Adding NBC Learn to Blackboard

    This particular option allows both you and your students to build context around the video. Whether you are introducing a unit or your students are adding to a vibrant online discussion, using the Mashups button in the content editor can add rich media throughout your Blackboard course.

  2. Accessing the Mashups area under Build Content and selecting NBC Content (places content directly in content area as it’s own item).NBC Learn Mashup Item

    The beauty of this option is that the media itself becomes a piece of course content.

**You can also leverage a NBC Learn content module that will allow you to display categories of videos like: NBC Learn Science, History, News, Social Studies etc.. on any module page in your Blackboard course.

nbclearn_moduleNBC Learn and Blackboard have integrated and that is a win for Blackboard instructors and students. Now course content and contributions can become more rich, relevant and engaging!

The Performance Dashboard – Tracking Student Performance

Possibly one of the most informative and helpful tools in your Blackboard tool belt is the Performance Dashboard. Blackboard instructors can reap the benefits of keeping on top of how active students are in their courses, just by using this tool.

The Performance Dashboard provides you with a view into all types of user activity in your course or organization. All users enrolled in your course are listed, including instructors, students, teaching assistants, graders, observers, and guests, with pertinent information about each user’s progress and activity.

Performance DashboardThe page can be accessed by going to your course’s Control Panel, selecting the Evaluation category and clicking on Performance Dashboard.


The Performance Dashboard page appears and displays a summary of information for your course:

  • Last Name, First Name, and Username: The user’s name and the username they use to log in to Blackboard Learn.
  • Role: A user’s defined role within your course. Examples of roles include instructor, student, grader, teaching assistant, guest, and observer. A user can have one role in a course, and a different role in another.
  • Last Course Access: The date and time when a user last accessed your course.
  • Days Since Last Course Access: The number of days that has elapsed since the last time a user accessed your course.
  • Review Status: Displays how many items have been reviewed. For a detailed view, click the number shown. If the review status tool has not been enabled for your course, this column does not appear.
  • Adaptive Release: Displayed only if adaptive release is enabled in your course. Clicking the icon opens a new window showing a directory tree overview of the entire course relative to a user and the access status.
  • Discussion Board: Displayed only if the discussion board tool is enabled in your course. Clicking a number link opens the Discussion Board page listing all of the selected user’s discussion board comments in your course.
  • Customize Retention Center: Displayed only if the Retention Center tool is enabled in your course. This column shows the number of triggered rules and the number of total rules that may trigger a warning. For example, 2/6 would mean a user has triggered two rules out of six total. Clicking the data in this column will display a page showing the Retention Center status for the user.
  • View Grades: Displayed only if the Grade Center is enabled. This column provides direct links to the Full Grade Center.

For even more help, watch this quick video on the Performance Dashboard: http://ondemand.blackboard.com/r91/movies/bb91_evaluation_performance_dashboard.htm