Pick a Course, Any Course

Now that you have gone over pretty much everything you need to know about the Welcome page, you can move on to the meat and bones of Pulse—accessing course information. Many courses have a website within Pulse through a program called Blackboard ™ that you will use to access announcements from instructors, get assignments, communicate with instructors, check grades and much more depending on the class.

What is Blackboard (TM)?

  • Conceptually, all you need to know is that the Blackboard ™ program is a standardized program for making course web pages. Because it is standardized, nearly every course webpage will look the same with the same options etc. However, the instructor determines what information will be posted on the page and under what headings they will be posted. The instructor will also choose which features he or she will use to teach their class.
  • For example, as your will learn later, one of the features of all course web pages is that you can view your grades. However, this feature will only work if the instructor enters the grades. If not, you will get a blank webpage when you try to view your grades.

    So, if one of the features I describe does not appear to be working, ask your instructor if they are using that part of the website because it may be intentionally left empty.

Well let’s get down to it! To get to the course web pages you’ll need to click on the Courses tab at the top of the page, just to the right of the My Pulse tab. You will be brought to a page that looks like the one above. The course catalog for the various colleges and years can be located on the right and browsed by clicking on the appropriate link. You can also search the web through the lower Google ™ Internet search engine and can search for a particular course through the top “Course Search” box.

Just under the bolded heading “Course List” you should see the heading “Courses you are teaching.” Under that, unless you are an instructor, it should say “none,” meaning you aren’t teaching any courses. Under that, you should see the heading, “Courses in which you are participating.” Below this you will find a list of courses. In the example above, Biochemistry and Biostatistics were listed under this heading. It means that this particular student has been enrolled (signed up) for those particular courses.

What If I don't see any courses listed under "Courses in which you are participating?"

There are several possible reasons:

  • The course hasn’t started yet or you haven’t registered for classes yet. Pulse might not be updated with which courses you will be taking.
  • Many instructors don’t activate the course website until the first day of class to prevent students from rooting around before being given instruction in class.
  • The course page has been deactivated temporarily. This often happens when the instructor is adding materials to the course webpage and doesn’t want students using the page until all the materials are posted in the proper place.

There is the outside possibility that you were not properly enrolled in the course but this is rarely the case. If, after the course has started, it doesn’t appear as a course you are participating in, talk to the instructor to see if there is a simple explanation or corrective measure that can be taken at that level before seeking technical assistance.

Assuming that your courses are listed, you can begin exploring by clicking on the course title. For the example here I have clicked on Biochemistry. The initial page that loads will be the “Announcements” page. (See Announcements Page of this tutorial for more information on this feature). Now, you will notice that we have a series of buttons on the left-hand side of the page. These will differ slightly from course to course but for the most part, they are the same.

The Bare Bones

--Course web pages are run using Blackboard (TM) software, which gives each course web page a similar template that the individual instructor must taylor for the course.

--Features on a course web page will only work if the instructor is using them. If a feature on the course page is not working, check with the instructor.

--If you click on the Courses tab and you have no courses listed under "Courses in which you are participating," there are several possible reasons for this (see text on this page).