Intro to Blackboard: The ANGEL Glossary (Plus Discussion and Test Tips)

We think ANGEL users will quickly get the hang of our new LMS, Blackboard Learn. The functions are essentially the same (Blackboard owns ANGEL and has incorporated some of its features since its 2009 takeover) and learning/content management systems are a little like languages — once you learn your “first second,” it’s much easier to pick up something new. But that’s not to say that everything translates one-to-one. We’re anticipating that one of our biggest training challenges this summer and fall will be just the everyday language — and making sure we’re all understanding the same LMS terminology.

With that in mind, here’s some easy glossary tips to show the vocab differences between ANGEL and Blackboard Learn. From now on here at IDS, dropboxes are assignments!

ANGEL to Blackboard Learn Terms Glossary

ANGEL Bb Learn
Dropbox Assignment
Course Teams Course Groups
Community Groups Community Organizations
LOR Content or xpLOR
Discussion Forum Discussion Board (each course has one board with many forums; each forum has threads and each thread can have multiple posts)
Gradebook Grade Center
Assessment Test
Agents – Basic Adaptive Release covers basic agents
Agents  with Who Dun It Reports Retention Center
Agents Advanced Some will be met with the roadmap items in the Retention Center
Nugget /Component Module
Institution Directory Institutional Hierarchy
Environment Variables No match
XEI SIS integration framework

Go to the Control Panel!


These links are your new BFFs.

The only big takes-a-few-tries-to-wrap-your-head-’round difference we’ve experienced as faculty trainers is the fact that discussions and tests all “live in one place” — under the control panel, not necessarily under “Lessons.”

Should you need to get rid of a test or forum snuggly nestled in, say, Lessons > Module 1 > Learning Activities, and you delete it by following that path, you’re actually just deleting a link. The test — its questions and settings — remains in your Grade Center and Calendar, which can seriously throw you off later.

Let me say that again: Discussions and tests under Lessons are links. To edit questions or grade settings or delete, edit these items from Control Panel > Course Tools.

Editing forums

For discussions, edit from the Lessons area/the link to apply date restrictions, if you have limited availability in your course. The Course Tools area is for setting up the “meat” of your discussions — what kind of forums they are, instructions, etc. — and also for grading.


This is a link to a discussion forum.

Editing tests

For tests, you can access editing features by doing the edit chevron from Lessons area and then selecting either “Edit the Test” or “Edit the Test Options.” That’s fairly straightforward, but, just in case, I remember it by thinking tests = the questions, options = everything else.


Editing the test from the Lessons area. Clicking on these will actually take you to the Tests, Surveys and Pools area under Course Tools. So, six of one …

To add a test to the Lessons area, make sure you’re in edit mode and then go to Assessments > Test in the menu at the top of the content area.

Add a test.

Add a test.

This will lead you to a screen that allows for selecting an existing test or creating a new one. This brings up the vocab word deployment. A test can exist in a Blackboard course but not be deployed in a content area. In this case, it only “lives” in the Course Tools test area. To make it ready for students, you must deploy it through the screen above. You can tell which tests are deployed from the Course Tools test area, too.

You can learn more about ANGEL vs. Blackboard Learn feature comparison on Blackboard Help.


Alex is online course support technician at IDS, working to support all online, hybrid and LMS-enhanced instructors and students in using Blackboard and several media servers. She's also the administrator for the MCC Blogs network. You can reach her at

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Posted in Blackboard, Blackboard Learn for instructors, Online Pedagogy

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