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WebCT Vista a Learning Management System (LMS), which facilitates the creation of sophisticated Web based educational environments. WebCT Vista allows you to upload learning material (including PowerPoint presentations, html pages, pdf and other text documentss, and multimedia content), interact with students using synchronous and asynchronous communications tools (such as Mail, Discussion Forums, Chat or Whiteboard), create quizzes and assignments, plus much more.

Background Information

WebCT Vista is run and developed by Blackboard Inc., who are based in Washington, DC. It is used by a large number of universities and other education institutions around the world both as classroom management software, and as a distance education service. Its predecessor, WebCT Campus Edition 4.0, was originally created and developed here at UBC by Murray Goldberg, and then sold to Blackboard Inc. in 2006. WebCT Vista is the university-wide LMS here at UBC.

Design Questions/Issues

It has been well documented that students' ability to process, store, and retrieve new information can be greatly improved by using the sort of instructional approaches easily built into WebCT Vista’s Learning Modules. Some of these include:

  • using logical grouping and clear navigation to make materials easy to find and access,
  • providing advance organizers like headings, outlines, and graphics to establish a framework for new material,
  • listing learning objectives to call attention to key material,
  • encouraging active learning techniques such as taking notes, generating questions, creating outlines, and summarizing information,
  • using discussion for predicting and reflecting on outcomes, and
  • supplying assessment tools with immediate feedback so students can test their understanding.

Organizational context

Generally WebCT Vista is purchased at the enterprise level, meaning institutions large enough to require their own WebCT Vista server, in order to meet the needs of multiple courses and large numbers of students. However Blackboard, Inc. does offer other LMS products for the K-12, corporate and government sectors. Visit the Blackboard web site for more information.


There are three user interfaces at the course level in WebCT Vista: build, teach and student. These correspond with the educational roles of instructional designer, instructor, and student.

  • Persons with Build access can create a course site once the server administrator has created a course shell. Build access allows adding or modifying any course functionality.
  • Persons with Teach access can manage back-end aspects of the course, including assessments, grades, create student groups, tracking of student activity, and selective release of course components.
  • Student access allows students to participate in all course-related activities. If there are areas of the course site programmed for selective release, students will not be able to access those materials until the release date.

Portability & Compatibility

The content stored in a WebCT Vista section can be exported to other WebCT Vista sections but not to other LMS course sites. Web CT Vista is compatible with a number of add-on products, such as Turn It In, CoursEval, Respondus, and Wimba.

Examples of Exemplary Courses

With live courses residing behind secure servers, finding examples of WebCT Vista cour sites can be challenging. We feel the courses built for the MET programme certainly qualify though! But here are a couple of other sites to visit:


Please note: as the University will shortly be ending access to its WebCT Vista installation, these materials are for reference only: we no longer provide access to WebCT Vista for new users. Connect is the current institutionally-supported system.

Add Tools on the Course Menu

  • In the BUILD TAB, under Designer Tools, click on Manage Course
  • Click on Tools
  • Tick the small box to the left of the Syllabus Tool
  • Tick the small box to the left of the Goals Tool
  • Scroll to the bottom of your page and click Save.

Hide a Tool

  • In the BUILD TAB, under Designer Tools, click on Manage Course
  • Click on Course Menu
  • On the Goals, click on Hide Link (to the right)
  • You should see an (H) now beside Gaols on the Course Tools
  • In Student View, this item is now hidden from students

Create a Gradable Discussion

  • In either BUILD or TEACH tabs, click on Discussions in the Course Menu
  • Click on Create Topic
  • Select Threaded Topic (explore Journal and Blog options)
  • Enter a title “Should we grow trees to remove carbon in the atmosphere?”
  • Enter Description (optional)
  • In Category, click on the dropdown menu
  • Select Create New Category and type Unit 4 – Topics
  • In Grading, click the radio button next to “Numeric grade: Out of “ and type in “3”.
  • Tick the small box to the left of ‘Release grade to Students in My Grades’
  • Click Save.

Post test message to gradable discussion

  • Click on Student View tab
  • Click on Discussions in the Course Menu
  • Click on the “Should we grow trees to remove carbon in the atmosphere?” discussion top
  • Post a message to this new discussion topic
  • Click Save

Verify discussion set-up

  • Click on the Teach tab
  • Click on Student View tab
  • On the Instructor Tools, click on Grade book
  • Click your new Discussions topic
  • Click View susmissions
  • Enter a value between 0 and 3 in the Grade box on the left side of the screen
  • Click Save Grades

Create an Assessment (Quiz)

In WebCT Vista, Assessments are quizes or exams. Other types of assessments are built elsewhere, often using the Assignments tool.

  • In the BUILD TAB, under Course Tools, click on Assessments
  • Browse through existing assessments
  • Click on Create Assessment
  • In the Title field, give your quiz a title. This will be viewable by students from the Assessments item in the *course menu
  • Enter a simple Grade Book column name. Since you might have multiple assessments in a single course, try to *use no more than two short words. Examples could be: Quiz 1, Mod 2 Quiz
  • In Type settings, select Quiz
  • In Template settings, leave at the default value: “Do not base on an existing …”
  • Click on Save
  • You will now see your new assessments in the list

Note: The quiz will remain HIDDEN until questions are added and then you must “Show Item”.

Adding Questions to a Quiz

  • Click on the new underlined “Pre-Course Quiz”
  • Click on Create Questions from drop down menu and select Multiple Choice
  • In the Title field, give your question a title. This will be viewable by students during the exam.
  • In the Question text: box, typein your question exactly as you want students to see it
  • Enter your answers, ticking the Correct response box immediately above the correct answer
  • Click on More Options
  • Type some General feedback in the box – example: ‘Nice Work on the Quiz’ and click Save
  • Click on the PrecourseQuiz ActionLinks at the top of the page,
  • Click on Show Item.

Your quiz is now viewable to students.

Creating a Learning Modules

Building a Learning Module has several different components. In addition to the following activities, you will need to build other learning objects in the course before you can add them to a Learning Module.

  • Click on the BUILD tab
  • Click on Learning Modules on the Course Tools
  • Click Create Learning Module
  • Enter a title for your module
  • Selecting a numbering convention for the module’s Table of Contents (TOC) from the Numbering pull-down menu
  • Click the radio button next to On the left, so the TOC is on the left of the student’s screen
  • Click the radio button next to The first page in the Table of Contents (the other option creates a separate TOC page)
  • Click on Save

Adding a Page to Your Module directly in WebCT Vista

  • Click on the name of the new learning module you just created
  • Click on Add File
  • Click on Create File
  • In the Title field, give your page a title. This will appear in the course menu, so it should be relatively brief
  • Click Enable HTML editor
  • Enter some text in. When you are building a course you can cut and paste FORMATTED (bold, italics, underscore) text from a Word document
  • Click Save
  • Go into Student View and click on Learning Modules

Adding Content Links to Your Module

Your quiz

  • Click on BUILD TAB
  • Click on Learning Modules on the Course Tools menu
  • Click on the name of the Learning Module you created
  • Click on Add Content Link
  • Scroll down to Assessements
  • Scroll down and click on the name of the quiz you created
  • Click on Add Selected

You should see a Quiz now in your learning module

If you build any Assignments, Discussions, Web Links, or any number of other learning objects, you can add them to your Module by using the Add Content Link menu after you have created the object.

Create Learning Module Heading

  • Click on Build Tab
  • Click on Learning Modules
  • Click on the name of the Learning Module you created
  • Click on Create Heading
  • Enter the unit’s title
  • Click Save


The following links include tutorials, tips, and other useful information: