Need to communicate with your students using Blackboard, but not sure which method to use? You have two (actually, three) options:
Email: Found in Control Panel > Course Tools > Send Email, the Email feature is used to send communications to your students’ USD (@sandiego.edu) email addresses. Think of Blackboard as a launch pad: Once you send the message, it leaves Blackboard and any subsequent replies will go to your USD email address. You can email Groups of users, individual users, all users, all students, or all users with a particular role. For the record and to confirm the messages were sent, the sender will receive a copy of any sent messages in the @sandiego.edu inbox, but Blackboard does not keep a record of sent messages. If an Instructor makes Email available in a course menu item, all users can send and receive Email.
Messages: Blackboard says, “Messages are private and secure text-based communication that occurs within a Course and among Course members. Users must be logged in to the course to read and send Messages.” Messages is like the email feature in WebCT. Messages are contained within the Blackboard system, and cannot be transferred out of Blackboard. Messages does have a sent messages folder. If an instructor makes Messages available in a course menu item, all users can send and receive Messages.
Announcements: Announcements appear on an Announcements area (if the Instructor has enabled one) and on every user’s dashboard. System announcements (outages, bugs, etc.) will be seen by everyone, but course announcements will only be seen by members in a particular course. Announcements can be created only by Instructors and Teaching Assistants, and are emailed out to students. Please be sure to check “Send a copy of this announcement immediately” if you’d like your students to receive an email immediately after you send the announcement. Otherwise, the announcement will send upon the next system synchronization.