Communication Options for your Course

When to Use?

Blackboard Ultra offers a number of different tools for communicating with students. Listed below are some suggestions and specific tips about those tools.


Instructor-to-Student Communications

Announcements are a tool for faculty to communicate with all enrolled students at once, while the Messages feature is an option for faculty to communicate privately with an individual student. Please note that at this time students are unable to respond to Messages or Announcements.

If you'd like students to be able to respond to you with an email, you are encouraged to include your hyperlinked email in your posted syllabus, in an announcement, or you can even create a document in your Blackboard course with your contact details, including a hyperlinked email address (see example screenshot).


Blackboard Ultra document containing instructor contact information

NOTE: You can create an email hyperlink using


Use Discussions (formally the Discussion Board) to create an FAQ discussion for course-related questions. You can also enable the Conversations function, which allows students to post questions next to assignments, documents, tests, or group work.

When creating Announcements, always select Email a Copy of the Announcement. It will show up in a special window the next time students sign into your course. NOTE: You can't send an email copy for an announcement scheduled to display or hide in the future.

Please remind students to update their email notifications in their profile to Email Right Away instead of the default digest email that comes at the end of the day, if you want them to get immediate emails from you for updates. More information about updating profile settings is available in this short video

Journals are a space where students can communicate privately with faculty in the form of an assignment. Some suggested uses for journals include self-reflections, project updates, or even as a type of formative assessment. Journal entries are created solely for communication purposes by default, but in the settings instructors can choose to provide a grade for entries.


Student-to-Student Communications

1. Create Groups and Assign to a Discussion Forum

Have you created student groups in your course? If so, then you can create a non-graded Discussion Forum that is assigned to the groups so that they can use the forum for communicating with each other. Students will only see the forum for their group.

Discussion forum assigned to a group

You can also easily message each group directly from the Group tool or simply reply to their posts directly from within the forum.

Message group option from the group discussion forum.


2. Use Zoom for Collaborating Outside of Class

All current term enrolled students and student organizations with an account are eligible to setup a GVSU Zoom account. Once an account is created students can download the Zoom app to their computer and/or device and use it for connecting with other students, faculty, and staff by using either the Chat or Web Meeting option. Its highly recommended that students setup their account since it allows for easy access to any online class sessions or office hours. Students can learn more about setting up their accounts on our Zoom at GVSU website.

Instructions for Getting Setup Under GVSU's Zoom Account


Was this helpful?
0 reviews
Print Article


Article ID: 9969
Wed 9/14/22 2:14 PM
Thu 6/6/24 9:20 AM

Related Services / Offerings (1)

Ask a question about how to do specific tasks in Blackboard or it's many integrations and tools.