UNM Learn for Students

As of Summer 2013, all online and hybrid courses taught at UNM will use the Blackboard Learn virtual learning environment. Because students and faculty will naturally use it in different ways, two user guides are available, suited to the different ways in which students and faculty must interact with the Learn environment. What follows is intended as a guided tour of the interfaces, features, and options that are available to students within UNM Learn. For a similar guide geared toward the faculty role, see UNM Blackboard Learn for Instructors. If you have questions about Blackboard Learn that are not addressed in this introductory guide, please refer to the software developer’s comprehensive Blackboard Help for Students.

Navigating UNM’s Blackboard Learn Environment

The following interfaces and controls are universal to all UNM users’ experience of Blackboard Learn, independent of the courses that they are taking or teaching.

Logging In

UNM’s Gateway to Blackboard Learn is found at https://learn.unm.edu/. This is where you will log into Learn every time you use the system, so you may wish to add a bookmark for this URL to your browser. Certain information and helpful resources are available to you directly from this Gateway page, even before you log in. For example, system-wide announcements, the UNM’s searchable knowledgebase, and links to online help specific to students and faculty are all publicly available right here. Note that cookies must be enabled in your browser’s settings (typically found in Options>Privacy) in order for the Gateway page to display correctly.

Use your UNM NetID and password to log into UNM Learn, just as you would when entering MyUNM or WebCT. If you have any trouble logging in, confirm the validity of your credentials with UNM IT.

The Page Header

Upon logging in, you will be presented with a home screen topped with a Page Header that remains present wherever you navigate within Learn. You will get used to seeing the “UNM|Learn” logo in the upper left-hand corner of the screen and your user identity (complete with an avatar if you choose to upload an image) and log-out link on the left.

Quick Navigation Menu

The Quick Navigation Menu appears with a click to the user identity, avatar, or the downward-facing triangle that appear at the upper right-hand corner of the Page Header. The Menu has two sections – Courses and Settings – as well as a sidebar of icons linking to Blackboard Home, Posts, Updates, My Grades, and Calendar. The Quick Navigation Menu also opens with the shortcut keys Shift+Alt+M.

The Courses section of the Quick Navigation Menu lists your courses for the current semester in order of most recent visit. Click on any course title to jump to the home page for that course. The Settings section, which appears below Courses, is where you can edit personal information and notification settings and set text size and screen contrast for your view of the Learn environment. The house and question mark icons at the bottom of the menu each open a new tab or window containing another view of My Learn or UNM Online Help, respectively.

Blackboard Home

The first icon in the sidebar of the Quick Navigation Menu is a stylized house labeled “Bb.” This stands for Blackboard Home, a type of landing zone that displays upcoming due dates, recently graded assignments, and recent posts to any relevant discussion boards. The “Calendar” section shows the titles of any assignments that are due the same day or week. (Click on any such title to jump to the assignment submission interface.). The “Recently Graded” section shows assignments or assessments that have been graded over the past 30 days. Hover over the word “View” next to each assignment to reveal the grade received, or click on the title of any assignment to jump to My Grades. The “Posts” section shows any discussion board posts, starting with the most recent. Click on any of these to jump to Posts.

The “My Learn” Home Screen

UNM’s configuration of Blackboard Learn opens to a home screen laid out like a dashboard. The dashboard is called My Learn, and it has two tabs, featuring functional modules separated by category.

Courses Tab

By default, My Learn opens to the “Courses” tab, which displays a collection of modules relevant to the courses you are taking. Some, but not all, of these modules have settings that you can edit to suit your style of absorbing information. Hover over the title bar of a given module to see a gear icon appear on those modules that have editable settings.

Messages Module

The “Messages” module is set by default to display links to the course-specific inbox of any class for which you have received in-course email. If desired, it can instead be set to display links to all of your course-specific inboxes regardless of whether they have unread messages. This could be useful if you use the in-course email tool often and want to access it immediately upon logging in. The “Messages” module is also capable of popping out into a new window.

Announcements Module

The “Announcements” module displays announcements made by UNM, your instructors, and any organizations you may belong to. By default, it displays announcements made in the past seven days, but can be set to show older announcements or limit the display to those made the same day. You can filter announcements by sender at the dedicated “Announcements” page accessed via the “more announcements…” link, but settings made in that interface do not transfer over to the module display.

Calendar Module

The “Calendar” module displays upcoming events posted by UNM, your instructors, your organizations, and you. By default, it displays events coming up within the next seven days, but can be set to show a wider range of events or limited to those happening the same day. Click on the text of any item to view details of the event or click on the “more calendar events…” link to open the full calendar.

Notifications Tab

The “Notifications” tab features four modules that are defined by UNM’s configuration of Learn. (Although visible to everybody, the “Alerts” and “Needs Attention” modules are intended for instructor use only, and will remain blank for students.) “What’s New” presents notifications regarding announcements, assignments, discussions, grades, and upcoming tests – click to expand any category and see the notifications listed individually.

Notifications Settings

Although the module settings are fixed, many options exist to edit settings of the notifications themselves. Within any of the modules that appear on this tab, click “Edit Notification Settings.” (Alternatively, the Notification Settings can be accessed via the Global Navigation Menu.) If you don’t see the result of changes that you have made to the notification settings, it may be that they conflict with settings defined by UNM’s configuration of Learn, which take precedence over any user settings.

Online Technical Support

Next to the “My Learn” tab at the top of the screen, click on the word “Support” to enter another dashboard-type interface featuring three resources for commonly sought technical support.

Blackboard Learn Help

This module collects links to technical support for both Learn students and instructors. The resources listed under “Help for Learn 9.1 Service Pack 11” are provided by Blackboard, Inc., the developer of the Learn environment. While they can be helpful for orientation to basic functionality, they are not geared toward UNM’s configuration of Learn, which varies slightly from the default. To supplement the developer’s documentation, the University’s Department of New Media and Extended Learning has provided help pages on selected topics tailored to UNM’s own configuration of Learn that are available at online.unm.edu/help/learn.

UNM Learn Support

StudentInfo is UNM’s home for general student support, technical and otherwise. Here, students can ask a question or initiate a live chat with a member of the Support Team. Additionally, clicking through the “WebCT/Learn” link under Featured Support Categories allows advanced search for additional information about basic UNM Learn functions and operations. In addition to web-based means of contact, the “UNM Learn Support” module provides a quick reference for telephone – (505) 277-0857 – and email – learn@unm.edu – points of contact right here at UNM.

UNM Web Conferencing & Media Support

Although commonly accessed via UNM Learn, web conferencing at UNM relies upon several different applications to function properly. This module provides guidance for troubleshooting issues with wireless connectivity, internet browsers, and audio setup, any of which can affect the web conferencing user experience. If the tips and tricks offered do not help you to resolve a web conferencing issue, seek support by phone or email at (505) 277-0857/ (877) 688-8817 or media@unm.edu, respectively.

Inside the Online Course

All online or hybrid courses in which you are enrolled are listed in the “My Courses” module of the My Learn home screen. Click on the name of any course shown in the list to enter it.

The Course Menu

The Course Menu is UNM Learn’s navigational tool for accessing documents and pages within a course. Unlike what we typically think of as a “menu,” which remains hidden until clicked, only expanding on demand, the Course Menu is displayed at all times by default. It appears in a sidebar on the left side of the screen, and is visible from anywhere you navigate within the course unless you choose to hide it. To hide the Course Menu, hover over the right boundary of the sidebar until it turns a dark gray color and click. Show it again by hovering at the far left of the screen until you see the same dark gray boundary, and click again. To collapse the Course Menu while leaving the sidebar open instead, click the name of the course at the top of the menu.

List View

Four iconic tabs control your view of the Course Menu. The leftmost tab, showing four stacked lines, represents List View, which is the default selection. List View is perhaps the simplest view, as it presents a concise overview of the main pages within a course. Additional content and content pages may exist within these main areas, but within List View, they will not be displayed. In order to view all pages within a course, see Folder View.

Folder View

To switch to Folder View of the Course Menu, click the tab showing a file folder icon, which appears second from the left. While remaining separated into existing sections, the display of the Course Menu now changes into a tree-like hierarchical representation. While hovering over the Folder View tab, you can choose to either “Expand All” or “Collapse All” folders. Expanding all folders can be helpful in quickly finding items that are not visible in List View, especially if you are unsure in which folder or Content Area they are stored.

Display in a New Window

To pop the Course Menu out into its own browser window, click the tab showing two overlapping rectangles, which appears second from the right. Displaying the Course Menu in a new window may be helpful if you wish to maximize content within the main course screen because this view provides access to the Menu even when the original side-bar display is hidden. The Course Menu will continue to display in the sidebar unless you hide it.

Refresh

Newly added content does not appear in the Course Menu right away. A 20-minute delay in availability is typical. To ensure that you are viewing the latest content available for any course, click Refresh, designated by the rightmost tab showing a circular arrow icon.

Course Content

While navigating the course, content is displayed in the content frame, which occupies the majority of screen real estate. To orient yourself within the course, look to the top of the course window at any time. At the far left of the course header, there is a house icon paired with the title of the Content Area that you are currently viewing. Furthermore, it is possible to jump right to the corresponding Content Area (assuming one is present) in any of your other courses by clicking the downward arrowhead next to the house icon and selecting the desired course.

Types of Content

UNM Learn supports a wide range of content types. Your instructor can incorporate course content in the form of text, image, audio, video, or HTML files, as well as links to websites, course tools, and external photo-streams (Flickr), presentations (SlideShare), and videos (YouTube). Some content types, such as Learning Modules, Lesson Plans, Blank Pages, Module Pages, Content Areas and Content Folders, act as containers for other items.

Content Areas

Content Areas are top-level containers that organize and store course content, such as lecture notes, assignments, and tests. Most of the headings that appear on the Course Menu are links to Content Areas, such as Home Page, Course Information, Assignments, etc. Clicking on one of these displays in the content frame everything collected into the Content Area, laid out as your instructor organized it. Click any of the component items to reveal its details.

Course Cartridges

Course Cartridges are content packages created not by your instructor but by third parties such as textbook publishers. They are not widely used at UNM, so if your instructor incorporates one into his/her course, expect also to receive instruction on how to access and use the cartridge.

Lesson Plans

A Lesson Plan is a container for the lesson profile, objectives, and instructional content needed to complete a specific lesson. It appears in the Course Menu unless your instructor has placed it inside a Content Area, Learning Module, or folder. By default, Lesson Plans have four sections: Instructional Level, Instructor, Subject Area, and Objectives, but these may be customized by the instructor.

Learning Modules

A Learning Module is an organized collection of course content presented together in support of a specific course objective, subject, concept, or theme. It provides a structured path for progressing through learning materials. If desired, your instructor may enforce this sequential path, ensuring that you view pages in the order intended. If not, you may navigate among the various pages by clicking links in the Learning Module’s Table of Contents, in addition to simply clicking forward and back one page at a time. The Table of Contents appears by default in a window between the Content Frame and the Course Menu. Using the iconic buttons in the Table’s header, it can be collapsed (designated by a vertical line), maximized (designated by a window icon), or moved (designated by a diagonal arrow) in relation to the Learning Module’s displayed content.

Content Availability

You should expect the content displayed in the Course Menu or the various Content Areas to change over time. Typically, new lessons will become visible as the weeks progress and older ones are completed. Conversely, assignments or assessments may become unavailable after their due date or after they have been graded. However, if you do not see all of the instructional materials or assignments that you believe should be available at a certain point in the course, check with your instructor – the current visibility settings may be unintentional.

Review Status

Some instructors choose to track student interaction with specific learning materials by enabling Review Status for the associated content. Upon opening an item, you will note the option to Mark Reviewed. Click to toggle between Reviewed and Mark Reviewed in the event that you wish to return to a previously reviewed item.

Communicating and Collaborating

The lack of face time with instructors implicit in online learning can be a source of discomfort to some students. However, be assured that your online instructor wants to have regular contact with students just as much as students do from their instructor. UNM Learn provides several communication tools for getting and staying in touch with instructors and classmates within a given course interface.

In-Course Email

In-course email is comparable in function to a general-purpose email account with a few exceptions. This is your best option for sending a private message to anyone or any number of people in the course, students or instructors, especially if you don’t have their specific contact info. (The course-specific email interface allows you to pick recipients from a course student list.) Further, for a variety of reasons, some instructors will only accept student email via the course-specific inbox.

In order to stay on top of in-course email, it is necessary to log in to UNM Learn at least daily, as instructors may not choose to forward course-specific email to external email accounts. Fortunately, email notifications are presented immediately upon login, in the “Messages” module of the My Learn dashboard, which provides a shortcut to any course-specific inbox in which a message awaits. Both incoming and outgoing messages will be saved by the system until deleted or until the relevant course comes to an end. Note that in-course email received through UNM Learn is not available permanently or throughout your studies at UNM – each course, with its course-specific inbox, disappears from your UNM Learn account on the day that the course is over.

Discussion Boards

The course discussion board allows students to communicate with the entire class at once. Instructors encourage the use of the discussion boards to seek help from/compare notes with other students regarding homework, labs, and other assignments. This can be an effective method of course-wide communication, but only if all class members check the discussion board for new postings regularly. Unlike in-course email notifications, activity on your course discussion board does not appear on the front page of the My Learn dashboard. Instead, the quickest access to discussion board updates from all courses is the “What’s New” module on the “Notifications” tab of My Learn. Naturally, one can also browse to the discussion board within each course separately.

Navigating Forums

Instructors typically create a number of forums by topic within the course discussion board to organize postings. Click on the title of any existing forum to enter.

Thread Status

Forums act as containers for threads, which consist of initial posts accompanied (or not) by series of responses. When viewing a forum, you will notice that the appearance of threads varies according to status. For example, the titles of new threads – and those with new messages – appear in boldface. A plus (+) icon appears to the left of any threads that include one or more responses, and a paperclip icon appears to the left of any threads that include attachments.

Search and Display

Three buttons at the upper right of the forum interface allow modifications to the display and advanced search of discussion board content. The “Search” button permits keyword search in the current forum, the current discussion board, or across all forums in the course (in the event the course features more than one discussion board), which can also be limited by date range.  The “Expand All” button expands any threads in the forum that include one or more responses, displaying the subject line, author, and time of the responses in addition to those details of the initial post. “Collapse All” reverses this action.

List vs. Tree View

The default view of any forum is known as “Tree View,” which shows threads by their titles and authors and sorts by descending date of initial post. Only Tree View can be expanded and collapsed to show responses within a thread. By clicking the words “List View” at the top right of the forum interface, you can display the forum in a way that presents more information at a glance. List View permits sorting threads by any of the available columns: date, thread (title), author, status, number of unread posts in the thread, or total number of posts in the thread. Also, by use of the “Display” menu-button (upper right of forum interface), List View also permits filtering threads to display only those that have been published, only those that are hidden, or only those that remain drafts (where you are the author).

Reviewing Threads

Click on the title of any thread to display its content. The thread is represented hierarchically, listing the initial post and subsequent responses in a tree format that shows by indentation which messages were posted in response to what. By default, the initial post in the thread displays alone below the thread tree, but three small iconic buttons at the upper right of the “Thread Detail” window exist to modify the layout. From left to right, a click on these buttons will 1) swap the positions of the message text and the thread tree, 2) hide or show the thread tree, and 3) maximize the thread tree.

Reviewing Posts

You can move among and read the messages that make up a thread in a few ways. To proceed to the next or previous message in the thread (regardless of the response hierarchy), look for the subject line in the upper left of the message text window and click on either of the right (back) or left (forward) arrows that flank the message title. (Only the forward button will be available when viewing the initial post in a message.) If sequential viewing is not important, or you have already read several messages in a thread, simply click on the subject line of another post in the thread tree to display that message text.

You can move to the next or previous thread without returning to the forum interface by clicking the left or right arrow buttons that sandwich the thread title at the upper left of the “Thread Detail” window.

Marking and Flagging Posts

Notifications of discussion board activity (e.g. in the “What’s New” module) remain active until you either view the message text of any new additions or mark them “read.” If you don’t need to review each message, but want it to stop appearing among your notifications of new postings, this can be achieved from either the forum or “Thread Detail” window. Check off the box to the left of the boldface (i.e. “unread”) thread title and choose from the “Message Actions” menu-button (upper left of window) to mark these threads as “read” or “unread.” The same process applies or removes flags from a post, allowing you to distinguish it as noteworthy even after it is read.

If you wish to mark posts that are in different forums of the discussion board, it is not necessary to enter each forum separately to do so. Instead, perform a search (see Search and Display above) for an empty keyword in the current discussion board or across all forums in the course, making sure to select an appropriate date range before clicking “Go.” The search results appear in the form of a “Collection” (see Collecting Posts below), which may be filtered to show only unread messages. Then, click to select “All” (checkmarks should appear in the boxes left of each thread), and use the “Mark” menu-button to mark them “read” all at once.

Collecting Posts

An easy way to read a selected number of posts quickly (i.e. without clicking back and forth to open each one), or to print them in a compact format, is in the form of a collection. Starting from the forum interface, check off the boxes to the left of the titles of interest and click the “Collect” button (upper left of forum window) to display their messages in full text on the same page. The posts can be sorted ascending or descending by date of last post, thread order, author’s first name, author’s last name, or subject line. Further, you may filter them (find the “Filter” button at upper right of collection interface) to show only posts by specific author, of a certain status, or with particular tags (not applicable at UNM). To print the collection, click the “Print Preview” button at the upper left of the collection interface, and send the print job normally.

Posting Messages

In order to post a message to the class, you must first choose the appropriate forum for the content (there is no way to post at the level of the discussion board itself). It is polite to review the existing threads before creating a new one, in case the subject of your intended post has already been addressed.

Replying to a Thread

If a thread exists that is relevant to your message, the best place to post is inside that thread. If the thread consists of multiple posts, choose the one that is either most relevant or most recent, and click the “Reply” button or the “Quote” button (depending whether you wish to quote the original post in your response) in its message text window.

Creating a New Thread

If your instructor has permitted students to create new threads within a forum, you will see a red “Create Thread” button at the upper left of the forum. Remember to check the forum for threads relevant to your topic before creating a new thread, as your message may be a logical addition to an existing thread. Responses or questions pertaining to existing thread topics should always be posted to those threads, whereas an entirely new topic justifies the creation of a new thread. The thread is created once you post the initial message on the topic. (See Composing Messages for details.)

Composing Messages

Every new discussion board post must have a subject line, and if your message is a response, the subject line will be automatically populated. Nonetheless, it can be changed if desired. For that matter, the message you are about to compose is customizable also. Extensive formatting options exist that go far beyond font and paragraph, but also far beyond the scope of this instruction. To learn more about the various formatting and embedding options for discussion board posts, refer to the contextual help available within Learn. Click the iconic button at the top right of this window that resembles an italic letter “i” to display a pop-out help window that explains the use of all available formatting buttons as well as a list of loaded plugins.

In addition to embedding images, videos, and other files within the message itself, files of various types can be attached to the message. Click “Browse My Computer” to upload an attachment from your local machine or “Browse Content Collection” if you have stored the necessary items in a Learn Content Collection. (Not all students have access to a Content Collection.) If necessary, click to save a draft of your message before posting, or simply click to send when ready.

Course Groups

Some courses require students to collaborate on projects or other coursework, and Learn provides an online venue for coordination among groups of classmates within a course. Course Groups can be created and populated by your instructor or (if permitted) created by students themselves. When you become part of a group (typically added by your instructor), you will see the My Groups panel appear below the Course Menu. The panel shows all in-course groups of which you are a member and expands to reveal any tools that are available for management of the group. Typical group tools include File Exchange, Group Blog, Group Discussion Board, Group Journal, Group Homepage, in-group email, and the ability to customize the appearance of the group. Click on the rightward-facing arrowhead to the right of the group name to enter the group interface, or click on the name of a tool to jump right to that feature.

Group Homepage

The Group Homepage is the first thing you see upon entering a group. It consists of a banner and several modules, much like the dashboard-style pages you have already seen. By default, you will start with the Group Properties, Group Tools, and Group Assignments modules. (To collapse or expand any module, hover over the module title-bar and toggle the rightward or downward-facing arrowhead that appears just left of the title.) Click the “Add Personal Module” button at the upper left of the Group Homepage to browse the additional modules that can be added to this page. Layout changes you make to this page are visible only to you, leaving other members to customize their own layouts. When you navigate to any of the Group Tools from the Group Homepage, find your way back to the Homepage by clicking the name of your Group in the path (e.g.  Groups > Group 1 > Group Blog) that appears at the upper left of the course window.

File Exchange

The File Exchange allows you to share files with your group and your instructor that may be too large to email. Within the File Exchange interface, click on the “Add File” button (depending on your version of Learn, you may have to hover in the upper left of the File Exchange window for this button to appear) to upload a file. Under “File Information,” provide a descriptive title for the file – this need not be the same as the file name – then click either “Browse My Computer” or “Browse Content Collection” to locate the file for upload. After file selection, click “Submit” to make it available on the File Exchange. Initiate download of a file simply by clicking on the title. To delete a file, simply click the checkbox to its left and click the “Delete” button above the file list.

Group Blog and Group Journal

The Group Blog and the Group Journal are the same except for one thing: everyone in the course can view what you post in your Group Blog, whereas only group members and the instructor can view the Group Journal. You have the option of posting anonymously in both Blogs and Journals, and you can attach or embed files just as you would do with a Discussion Board post. However your response to a Blog or Journal entry takes the form of a text-only “Comment,” rather than a “Reply,” which can include attachments, formatting, etc.

Group Discussion Board

The Group Discussion Board behaves the same way as the main Course Discussion Board except that here, students are allowed to create forums, a privilege commonly restricted to the instructor elsewhere. (See Discussion Boards for details.)

Group Collaboration

Group Collaboration is only an option if enabled by the instructor, in which case, click Collaboration within the Group Tools panel. To create a new collaboration session within your group, click “Create Collaboration Session.” Provide a name for the session, select the dates of availability, and choose whether to conduct the session via Chat or Virtual Classroom. Finally, click “Submit” to make the session available to group members. (See Web Conferencing for more information about online collaboration.)

Send Email

Click Send Email to compose a message exclusively to group members. The in-group email interface differs from the in-course email interface only in terms of the recipients you can select – in-group email can only be sent to a group member. (See In-Course Email for more information.) However, unlike normal course messages, new group-specific messages do not appear in your Course Messages inbox. Instead, they are sent directly to the external email address associated with your Learn account. Learn does not keep a record of emails sent within a group.

Customizing Group Appearance

The Group Banner and Group Color scheme can be changed by any group member, with the end result visible to the entire group. Click the Customize Group Banner link to edit the content of the Banner. You will find that all of the same options are available for formatting and embedding content that a discussion board post or email message offers, but attachment of files is not allowed. Because it always appears at the top of your Group Homepage, it is best not to make the content of the Group Banner particularly long, as this would require excessive scrolling to access the modules that appear on the same page. Click Customize Group Color to choose among 17 themes available for the group. Changes take effect as soon as you click “Submit.”

Web Conferencing

Many instructors choose to supplement their lectures and other instructional materials with online conferences. A class web conference is an opportunity to go over material and ask questions of the instructor in real-time, with the participation of any classmates who attend. To attend a web conference, click on the Web Conferences (your instructor may have designated it by a different name, such as “Online Sessions” or “Collaborate”) item in the Course Menu or anywhere else you see. From there, it is frequently necessary to click on another link (wording will vary) to access either current sessions or recordings of past sessions.

Your entry point is the Bb Collaborate List Page, which shows upcoming sessions by default. For access to previously recorded sessions, click the tab marked “Previously Recorded” at the upper left of the Bb Collaborate window. By default, the page displays any sessions that took place in the last seven days, but you can expand that date range as well as search and sort the recorded sessions by title.

When you find the session, either live or recorded, that you seek, click the icon or title of the session. A series of dialog boxes will follow, and these steps must be repeated every time you launch an online session. First, when prompted, open the file named “play.jnlp.” This launches Java, which is necessary to run Blackboard Collaborate, Learn’s web-conferencing application. You will be prompted for security purposes to authorize Blackboard Collaborate, at which point, click “Run.” With that, you should have entered the online session.

The format of a web-conference is chosen by the instructor. It is common for the instructor to both share his or her computer screen and use a microphone to speak to the class all at once while students respond by typing in a chat window for the instructor and each other to read. In cases where students are intended to speak out loud in the conference, it is advisable for them to use a headset that features both an earphone and a microphone – this reduces feedback and limits background noise. If you experience audio or video problems upon entering a web conference, you will find the helpful Audio Setup Wizard under Bb Collaborate’s Tools menu. If you hear no audio at all, visit the Speaker Settings within the same menu to ensure that your speakers are both listed and selected as the current audio playback device.

Completing Coursework

Online coursework may take many forms, but the most common coursework materials are assignments and assessments (tests and quizzes).

Assignments

Access the current assignments for each course via the Assignments link in the Course Menu. Then click on the title of the chosen assignment to open it. Information provided as part of each assignment typically includes the name, instructions, due date, possible points, and files needed to complete it.

Assignment Materials is where you will provide the input and/or files necessary to complete the assignment. Use the “Submission” field to enter content required by your assignment. Extensive formatting options are available for the configuration of Submission input. To learn more about the various formatting and embedding options, refer to the contextual help available within Learn. Click the iconic button at the top right of this window that resembles an italic letter “i” to display a pop-out help window that explains the use of all available formatting buttons as well as a list of loaded plugins.

If you opt to compose your assignments outside of Learn and subsequently copy and paste into the Assignment Materials field, be sure to insert that content as plain text only. One way to remove external formatting that might cause issues within Learn is to first paste into a plain-text editor such as Notepad.

Not all assignments will utilize the “Submission” field. You or your instructor may prefer assignments to be uploaded in the form of attachments. If so, click “Browse My Computer” to upload an attachment from your local machine or “Browse Content Collection” if you have stored the necessary items in a Learn Content Collection. (Not all students have access to a Content Collection.) If you change your mind, click the “Do Not Attach” option that appears next to an uploaded file.

If desired, use the “Comments” field that appears at the bottom of the Assignment Materials section to communicate with your instructor about the assignment. The instructor will receive all comments from this section with the assignment submission. If necessary, click to save a draft of your assignment before submitting, or simply click “Submit” when ready. Some instructors allow multiple attempts at an assignment, simply viewing and grading the final attempt, but others do not – be sure you understand your instructor’s submission policy when completing assignments.

Assessments

Access tests and surveys for each course via the Assessments link in the Course Menu. Then click on the title of the assessment to open it. Read any instructions that your instructor has provided before clicking the “Begin” button to proceed with the assessment. Although surveys are likely to be un-timed, instructors usually specify the length of time that students have to complete tests. Upon beginning a test, you will notice the appearance of a timer that counts down the time available to complete the test.

A wide variety of question types are supported by the Learn assessment interface, but instructions are provided on how to register your answers when necessary. As with assignments, if you choose to compose answers outside of Learn, be sure that any content pasted into the test submission window is plain text only. Unsupported external formatting could make your submission unreadable to the instructor or grader. Whatever the question type you encounter, be sure to click “Save Answer” when you have answered it so that no work is lost due to sudden power outages or other service failures that may take place before you have submitted your test.

My Grades

You may review your grades from two points of entry: either the My Learn dashboard, which features a My Grades module, or the My Grades link in the Course Menu of the appropriate course. All of the assignments and assessments that you have taken in the course appear in the leftmost column, followed by activity details, your score if available, and the instructor’s feedback. After you submit an assignment or assessment, but before it has been graded, the grade column will show a green exclamation mark icon. This column may also show a paper-and-pencil icon, indicating an attempt in progress, a blue-shaded box, indicating exemption from a grade, or a red exclamation mark icon, indicating some kind of error, in which case you should consult your instructor to resolve any problem.

To view the details of coursework that has been graded, click on any score that is highlighted in bold blue text. (Scores that appear in plain, non-clickable text are generally for work that was not submitted through Learn.) In the case of an assignment, this takes you to the Review Submission History page, which displays your original submission materials and the instructor’s feedback in the same review pane. The instructor also has the ability to upload files here, such as a grading rubric, if applicable. In the case of an assessment, you will instead be presented with the View Attempts page, which displays date, time, and other details of the attempt, and also restates your “Calculated Grade,” which should, again, be highlighted in bold blue text. Click here to review your answers and any corrections from the original assessment. Consult your instructor if the scores listed in My Grades are not clickable.