Now is the perfect time to take advantage of a few of Mason’s many resources that are available for free to faculty and staff. Whether face-to-face or fully online, many courses use Blackboard to host course information and important resources. The Online Learning Resources (OLR) team can provide you with valuable expertise and a variety of trainings that prepare you for the many functions and aspects of Blackboard.

As part of the Division of Instructional Technology (DoIT), an arm of the Information Technology Unit (ITU), OLR supports the Blackboard learning management system (LMS) and provides training, strategies, and best practices for fostering student engagement and interaction through the LMS and other tools such as Blackboard Collaborate, Kaltura, Respondus Monitor, PB Works, and iTunes U.

“We have a lot of resources to offer. Faculty can play with new tools and see how one helps or how else we might directly meet their course objectives,” says Joseph Balducci, Manager of Online Learning Resources. “One new tool available is Course Blogs, powered by WordPress. Instructors have used the tool to create new types of interaction with their students, and students will likely encounter this software in professional environments.”

Training & Workshops

Blackboard is a robust system with many functionalities, including the ability to access external software and plug-ins from within the LMS. Balducci explains, “Blackboard acts as the hub for many of the resources available to faculty and staff. Our new media management platform, Kaltura, is deeply integrated so that users do not even realize they are accessing a separate system.”

Whether for a basic overview or advanced knowledge of Blackboard, the OLR team is a valuable resource available for free to all Mason faculty and staff. Many face-to-face and webinar-style workshops are scheduled throughout each semester, but OLR also encourages one-on-one or small group meetings to suit all users’ needs. Some of the workshops available include the following:

  • Blackboard Courses 9.1 Basics
  • Blackboard Courses 9.1: Assignments/SafeAssign
  • Blackboard Courses 9.1: Grade Center
  • Blackboard Collaborate Basics
  • Kaltura Media for Blackboard
  • Camtasia Studio 8: An Introduction to Screen Capture
  • Camtasia Studio Advanced

For a full schedule of workshops, please see

Have questions about trainings or workshops offered by Online Learning Resources? Contact