Collaborating in Blackboard: Student-created Glossary

Every Tuesday is Blackboard tips day. Today I’m going to write about the Glossary feature in Blackboard, a feature that I NEVER used when I was a faculty member. However, the Glossary can be a powerful tool when used creatively.

Its most obvious use is to provide a customized glossary for your course site. Students can quickly look up new words they are running into and check their understanding. You don’t have to enter each word or even have to construct your own glossary to import into your Blackboard course site. You can find glossary terms online, copy and paste into Word, and then format them properly (the word is first then comma, then the definition. The next word with definition would be on the next line and so on.) You should save this file as a .txt file and then you can upload it to your glossary in Blackboard.

But how can you turn this into a more collaborative activity, with students posting new words that they are encountering in the course? I think this would work:

  1. Create a common document that students can access through Blackboard or use Google docs.
  2. Tell students to add at least one word per week, formatted properly (word,definition). (Students could also include their name at the end, as proof of their participation in this activity.)
  3. Before uploading the file, save it as a .txt file.
  4. Upload this file every Friday to your Blackboard glossary.

That’s really all you need to do to get students to contribute to and create a specific glossary for a course. The good part of this is that you can continually develop this glossary for future courses, have students check it for errors or needed additions, and create an activity that they feel some ownership with (course development).

Here is an excellent PDF file that explains how to use the Glossary in Blackboard:

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