Information Systems College of Business Administration University of Missouri - St. Louis

Using MyGateway

  1. A Note to Instructors Considering My Gateway
  2. How to access MyGateWay
  3. Control Panel
  4. Using The Discussion Board in "My Gateway"
  5. Using and Administrating Forums
  6. Reading and Replying to a Message
  7. Creating and Managing Archives
  8. My Gateway (Blackboard) Training: Class Schedule
  9. Managing Student Enrollment in My Gateway and Combining Course Sections
  10. Saving Your Work and Using Your My Gateway Courses in other Semesters

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |


1. A Note to Instructors Considering My Gateway

Undoubtedly, online resources have changed the way instructors teach and students learn. Some courses are now being taught solely online. My Gateway is one such tools for building and maintaining courses online. But, My Gateway can be useful even if the course is held in the classroom. If you are teaching a course held in a classroom, how might My Gateway be useful? The following is a brief discussion of the features, advantages, and disadvantages of My Gateway.

Basic Overview of My Gateway

First let’s begin by discussing what My Gateway can do. My Gateway allows instructors to build course content online, and allows students and others to access this information. The main areas of My Gateway include:

  • Announcements – A course description, syllabus, or changes in the course schedule are posted here.
  • Staff information – This area contains information about the instructor.
  • Course documents – Lecture notes, handouts, links, etc. are posted here.
  • Assignments – Assignment and quizzes are posted here. The instructor may disable assignments and online quizzes, so students have access only at times specified by the instructor. Grades are entered automatically in the grade book.
  • Communications – Students and instructors can communicate at the same time ( in a chat room) or at different times (in the discussion board)
  • External links – This area contains course related resources
  • Student tools – Here, students may use the drop box for students to turn in assignments to the instructor, change personal information, check grades, edit their homepage, or use their student calendar
  • Instructor Control Panel – This main area for instructors contains many features:
  1. Assessments –create or administer exams, surveys, or use the grade book
  2. Accessibility – set the accessibility of areas to students and the public
  3. Content area – set up courses, create announcements, assignments, exam questions, etc.
  4. User management – add/modify/remove users or groups

Advantages of My Gateway

  • Centralization – Items such as course documents and grade books are kept in the same place
  • Flexible – Instructors may use as many or as few areas as they wish.
  • Paperless – Electronic documents such as the course syllabus or presentations can be kept in My Gateway, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for paper-based documents
  • Information Accessibility –
  1. Remote, 24 hour access to course information.
  2. Access to course information in not limited to students enrolled in the course. Instructors may give public access to some course content. This "visibility" allows prospective students and academic peers a better look at the course.
  • Student participation – In contrast to in-class discussions which involve verbal communication, online discussions and chats allow students to:
  1. plan and organize their thoughts before writing
  2. delve more deeply into subject material because there is no time limit

Disadvantages of My Gateway

  • Interoperability –
  1. Students and instructors need to have equal access to the Internet. A student living off-campus without a computer does not have the same access as a student living on-campus.
  2. Students also need to have access to any applications that the instructor uses on the web. For example, an instructor needs to make sure that all students have Microsoft Word 7.0 or later before posting such a document online.
  • Time – In some cases, information may be duplicated online. For example, a syllabus might be posted online but distributed in class as well. Of course, this is optional to instructors.
  • Lower enrollment – there is question currently being asked, "If I post the class notes online, will students show up to class?" Answers vary, but may depend on whether attendance is required.
  • Reliability – What happens if the system supporting My Gateway "crashes"? This is a scary thought.
  • Change and Adaptation – In order to take advantage of My Gateway, instructors have to:
  1. learn the technology,
  2. implement the technology, which may mean re-thinking the way they teach their course,
  3. encourage and enforce the use of My Gateway by students.

Most instructors would agree that tools such as My Gateway offer accessibility and content never before available to students and teachers. Ultimately, instructors considering My Gateway need to weigh the advantages of this tool against the efforts needed to use it. If you are an instructor who would like more detailed information on how to use My Gateway, please read on or go to C:\WINDOWS\Desktop\MygateW131.doc. If you would like to know more about My Gateway training, contact Robert Keel (516-6538, 516-6052, or or Cheryl Bielema (516-7134 or

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |


My Gateway Logon (Blackboard)

The "My Gateway" site provides you with access to a course's online resources, as well as many other features such as: class email, discussion forums, virtual chat, an address books, a calendar and task list, and a variety of other internet resources.

To log on to the My Gateway site, point your web browser to: This will bring you to the log on page. Click log on and enter your user ID and password. For faculty this is your SSO ID (MS Exchange or Outlook ID) and password (yyddsss: yy is the year of your birth, dd is the day of your birth, ssss is the last four digits of your social security number). 

You can check your SSO ID and password via the www site: You must access this page from a computer at UM-St. Louis, or through UMSL Internet dial-up.  Ignore the student number  and enter your social security number as your federal identification number.  You can change your password at:

After logging on to the My Gateway system you will be brought to your "My Gateway" page. From this page you can access most of the features of the My Gateway system, and all of your classes at UM-St. Louis, as well as a variety of other campus based resources (there is also a link near the top of this page to the web based interface for your Outlook email). The "Tools" area will allow you to: check announcements; make calendar, task list, and address book entries; search for other users; and do course email.

Under the heading "My Courses," on the "My Gateway" page, click on a class name, and you will access the class My Gateway site. The first page displayed is "Announcements." Here you will see all class related announcements, including the availability of online progress evaluations, and other class related news. The buttons on the left-hand side of the screen give you and your students access to a variety of content areas, and system tools such as:

  • The "Control Panel" (near the bottom of the column of buttons) provides instructors with access to utilities that allow for modification of the appearance of the class site, and for the adding of course content. 
  • Course Information: Possible materials--syllabus, grading policies, etc.
  • Course Documents: Possible materials--lecture notes, virtual handouts, study guides, and and relevant class materials
  • Staff Information: Contact information for the course instructor and teaching assistants.

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

  • Assignments: Possible materials--reading assignments, writing projects, and quizzes.
  • External Links: Possible materials--A variety of class related www sites, and other general Internet resources.
  • Tools: "Digital Drop Box" for storing and submitting written work, "Check Grade" gives students access to their current class grades, your calendar, a class web page editing utility—students can create a personal web page that the rest of the class can access, and a student manual that will tell students more about the My Gateway system.  There is also an "Electric Blackboard" which allows students to take and maintain online notes.
  • Communication: Class email utility, access to student web pages, the class discussion board for online discussions, Group Pages (available to any group of students who wish to work and study together online), a student roster, and the virtual chat program for synchronous online chat.
  • Books: Online bibliography

You can add, or disable content areas by using the utilities within the Control Panel.  Go to the "Course Options" area, and look under "Course Settings."   You can add course content by using the various utilities in the "Content Areas" section of the Control Panel.

Next PreviousTable of Contents

Using the Control Panel

To modify the elements of your My Gateway site that are available to students, add content to your course site, create online assessments, and manage users; navigate to your course site and click on the "Control Panel" button near the bottom of the left-hand side of your screen.  The Control Panel screen looks like this:

The Content Areas contain tools to use to make learning materials available to students anytime and anywhere. The Content Areas allows instructors to: Post course documents, staff information, assignments and more.  Here you can incorporate text, spreadsheets, slideshows, graphics files, audio and video clips, and interactive simulations. Upload documents by three methods:

1). Copy and paste from documents created in Microsoft Word or another word processor. NOTE: There is a difference in how My Gateway pages appear depending on whether you use Netscape or Internet Explorer browser.

2). Create links using the following html code within the text box <a href="URL">NAME OF DOCUMENT</a> OR place the URL in "External Links" [template with html code added automatically -- you don't have to use that string of symbols and letters in External Links].

3). Upload documents by clicking on BROWSE button below text box, locating file and clicking on it. Not all documents load equally well, depending on your computer and the program used to create them.

The Course Tools contains communication and collaboration tools that enhance interaction between students and instructors with asynchronous discussion boards and synchronous chat tools. The tools allow users to: interact and learn from each other with threaded discussion boards, manage online discussions (set up a discussion forum and start new threads. Options exist for editing, allowing anonymous posts, blocking specific users, shutting down threads through "Lock" function [still readable] and "Archiving" [taking threads out of view, but saved]. NOTE: the default is for anonymous posts; you may want to change that.), share documents as discussion board attachments or through the Digital Dropbox, and hold virtual office hours or field trips through the updated Virtual Classroom™ environment with real time chat, whiteboard, and slide creation.

The instructor can manage the appearance and structure of the course from Course Options. Options include the ability to customize navigational buttons, set the title, description and category for your course (for using the external Resources link), enable guest access, and list your course within the My Gateway Course Catalog.

User Management allows the instructor to manage the users of the course Web site. For example instructors may: Add and drop individuals or groups of students to and from courses, create groups of student who can work together within the course site (Once set up, these groups have their private discussion board, virtual chat, file exchange and email capabilities. You can access each group's unique area as instructor.), and assign students to special roles within the class site (TA, Course Builder, Grader).

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

Assessment Area

Instructors use the Assessment area to increase student preparedness, measure student progress and customize lessons by creating and administering quizzes and surveys.

Within the "Assessment Manager" area you can:

  • follow a simple, step-by-step process to create quizzes and anonymous surveys
  • mix and match multiple question types
  • include multimedia or other attachments with assessment questions
  • provide question randomization and re-use from assessment pools
  • provide password-protected tests, timed tests and instant feedback to students

"Pool Manager" is the location to develop data banks of quiz questions according to chapters or content categories. NOTE: putting questions into pools allows you to choose specific questions, as well as to create a unique quiz for each student as they access the Quiz. Pools can be exported from one course site and imported into other courses.

The "Online Gradebook" [very popular with students] automatically enters each online quiz score for students (whose names are automatically placed in the gradebook). You can also create entries for exams and papers graded outside of My Gateway. You can use letter or number grades.

"Course Statistics" keeps track of each student's access, pages entered, time of day, and day of week. This tool is helpful in assessing individual participation or spotting students having problems accessing My Gateway.

Assistance allows the instructor to research the online support site, browse the online Instructor Manual, and contact support. 

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

Using The Discussion Board in "My Gateway"

To access, administer, and use the Discussion Board element of the "My Gateway" course site, click on the "Communication" button located on the left-hand side of your course site.  From within the "Communication Area" click on the "Discussion Board" icon:

It is also possible to have a button with a direct link to the Discussion Board placed along with the other area buttons:

Finally, Instructors may access the discussion board from within the Control Panel:

Creating Discussion Forums

To begin using the Discussion Board, the course instructor must first create one, or more forums.  To create a forum, click on the "Add Forum" button located near the top of the page (only course instructors and TAs will have access to the "Add Forum" button).  Enter a forum title and description, and choose the forum settings you desire.  Please note:  when beginning a forum, the "Allow New Threads" option must be enabled, or only the instructor or forum administrator can post new threads.  (A thread is a series of messages related to an initial posting.  Within a thread, replies to an initial posting are designated by the subject line "Re: original message subject").  Click "Submit" at the bottom of the screen when you are done. 

After a thread has been started you may change this option by choosing the "Modify" button next to the forum you wish to change.  By disabling the "Allow New Threads" option, student users can only read and reply to existing forum threads.  Using the "Modify" option on existing discussion forums allows you to reset other options, as well as to designate particular students as  forum administrators, and/or block a particular student from posting to the forum.

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

Using and Administrating Forums

Select the forum you wish to enter by clicking on its name.  The default forum view appears as follows:

You may sort out unread from read messages by clicking the "View Unread Messages" button located above the messages and options areas.

New threads can be started by clicking on the "Add New Thread" button located near the bottom right-hand side of the main forum screen.  A simple template opens allowing you to type in a subject line and a message, as well as attach files (if that option has been enabled), preview your message, and submit it to the forum.


Reading and Replying to a Message: Clicking on the subject line of a message to open the message.  On the message read screen, you will also find a "Reply" button (clicking this will open a template similar to the one above, but with the subject line filled in), and a list of other messages in a particular "thread."  On the main forum screen, individual threads can be expanded or collapse by clicking on the plus or minus sign located at the beginning of a subject line, or alternatively, you can expand (collapse) all threads by clicking on the plus (minus) sign located near the top right-hand corner of the main forum screen.   New (unread) messages will be indicated by the "new" icon on the far left.  The "lock" icon on the left indicates a thread that has been locked.   When locked, messages in a thread can be read, but replies to locked messages are not possible.  To lock a thread, or to learn about other administrative options, click on the "Show Options" tab located above the date column.

By Clicking on the "Show Options" tab, the view changes to:

Now, individual messages may be selected (or choose "select all"/"unselect all" to manage all messages) and marked as read or unread, removed from the forum, and threads may be locked or unlocked (locked messages may be read, but cannot be replied to by a student).  Select the message(s) or threads, and click on the option you want to use.  Selecting a variety of messages and clicking "Collect" displays all the selected messages on a single screen for efficient viewing--this is particularly helpful if you wish to review all messages in a particular thread, or all the new messages that have been posted since you last accessed the forum.

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

At the bottom of the main forum screen will will find controls that allow you to sort messages by subject (default), author, or date.

Creating and Managing Archives

To create or access archive, click on the link: located at the bottom of the main forum screen.  First, an archive must be created by clicking on the "Add Archive" button.   Fill in the archive title and description area, and click "Submit."   Archives can be made available or unavailable to students.  After creating an archive, select the modify button to its right to add message threads to the archive.   You will be presented with a list of threads that can be moved to the archive (entire threads must be moved rather than individual messages).  Simply click in the check box located next to the thread, and then click "Submit."  Once threads have been added to an archive (and made available to students), the messages can be read, but not replied to.  You can add additional threads to an archive by using the "Modify" button.  Once threads have been added to an archive, you will also have the option of moving them back to the original forum when you select "Modify."

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

My Gateway (Blackboard) Training: SS and FS 2001

For My Gateway training during the summer of 2001, please see the Summer Institute 2001: Strategies for Online Teaching and Learning session schedule.

My Gateway training for FS 2001 will begin on Monday, August 20 and Tuesday, August 21 in 005 CCB. A basic overview of the My Gateway system will be held from 9:30-11:30 on both days. A more comprehensive overview, including the use of online assessments, the virtual classroom, and online discussions will be held from 12:30-4:00 on both days. A schedule for training sessions throughout the fall semester will be available soon.

The "My Gateway" training is designed to not only introduce new users to the system, but also to answer specific questions that current users may have concerning the various features available (online assessments, virtual chat, and the use of HTML within the "My Gateway" environment). All training sessions are available on a walk-in basis, however if possible, please contact Robert Keel (516-6538, 516-6052, or or Cheryl Bielema (516-7134 or in advance.

If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled sessions, please contact Robert Keel or Cheryl Bielema to arrange an individual, or departmental, overview of the "My Gateway" system.

Additionally, anyone interested in more detailed discussions of using "My Gateway," instructional design, and World Wide Web publishing is encouraged to explore the "My Gateway" web site, "Using My Gateway and the WWW: A Resource for Instructors" ( If prompted, enter your own "My Gateway" ID and password. This site can also be found in the "My Gateway Course Catalog" listed under "My Gateway." Explore the "Course Documents" area for specific information on a variety of online teaching topics, the "Discussion Board" for answers to frequently asked questions, and the "External Links" area for a wide range of Internet resources.

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

Managing Student Enrollment in My Gateway and Combining Course Sections

All courses on My Gateway are automatically populated with students at the beginning of each academic term. Course rosters will be automatically updated throughout the semester. Instructors can add non-registered students (TAs, delayed grade make-ups, etc.) to a class via the control panel utility in My Gateway. To do this, use the "Add Users" utility located in the "Users Management" area of the Control Panel.  Select "Enroll Existing Users" and search through the entire user database for the individual you want to add to your course.

Instructors are required to delete students who drop a class from their class rosters using the delete user utility in the My Gateway control panel.

Students can not alter their personal information as it appears in the My Gateway database. This includes their campus email address. They can access their admiral email through a variety of on, and off, campus systems including the WWW interface: Students may obtain assistance with admiral email via the Student Email help document, as well as from the support staff in any Campus Computing Laboratory (516-6061), or from the Technology Support Center (516-6034).

If an instructor desires to combine multiple course sections into one My Gateway site, or if there are sections or classes that will not be using the My Gateway system; contact the My Gateway Support Team ( with the reference numbers of the sections to be combined (or deleted).

Contact the My Gateway Support Team (email: or by phone, 516-6538, to find out more about how you can use My Gateway to enhance your classroom.

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

Saving Your Work and Using Your My Gateway Courses in other Semesters

Please Note:  These instructions were written for version 4 of Blackboard (My Gateway).  We upgraded to version 5 for WS 2000.  These pages will be updated, but the basic instructions given here should still help in using this feature of My Gateway. 

The Course Archiving utility is now found in the "Course Options" area, under "Course Utilities."

To save the work you have done in a course, or to "recycle" your course for use in another semester, navigate to your course site and click on the "Control Panel" button: near the bottom of the left-hand side of your screen.  The Control Panel screen looks like:

Locate the "Course Utilities" link under Course Options area near the bottom left-hand side of the screen.  Click on "Course Utilities."   The utilities page offers 3 options.  The first utility is the Course Recycler:

This utility allows you to selectively remove items from an existing course so that you can use the course site again in a following semester.   You can use this utility to remove course elements from a course you wish to have copied over into another semester.  We change the course ID  to accommodate registration changes from one semester to the next.  Do not use this utility until you are completely finished with a course at the end of a given semester.  Please note that the items you check in the Course Recycler utility are the items that will be DELETED from your course

The next utility, as you scroll down the page, is the Course Archive utility:

This utility allows you to download a compressed copy of your course (all elements besides course announcements, tasks, and calendar entries will be saved in a .zip file you can store on your hard drive, or on a Zip disk.  You will be prompted to designate a location on your computer (hard drive directory, or removable drive) to save your course file.  This saved file can be imported into the My Gateway system (by the system administrator) to restore a course in it's original format.  This is the "Save Your Work" utility, and should be used on a regular basis.  All courses on the My Gateway system are archived at the end of each semester by the system administrator.  We maintain a copy of these archived courses in CD-ROM format.  If an instructor wishes to reuse an archived course, contact for more information.  We also maintain a daily back-up of the entire My Gateway system to prevent loss of content throughout the year.

| Next | Previous | Table of Contents |

Import Course Cartridge

The last course utility is the, "Import Course Cartridge" utility.  Many publishers supply course content to accompany a textbook in a format that can be used with Blackboard.  Please contact the system administrator, for asistance in using a course cartridge.

| Go to UM-St. Louis Home Page | College of Business Page | IS Home Page | Resource Page |

Page Owner: Professor Sauter (