Making an "Assignment" in Blackboard provides a way for you to
This is the tool to use for essay assignments, for example. When students view your assignment, there's an option for them to upload files in response. A corresponding column in your grade book is created automatically, and it allows you to access student work and assign grades that then automatically appear on the student side.
You could also use this tool to give short answer quizzes or really ask for anything that only you and the individual students need to see. (If it would be helpful for all students to see something, use the Discussion Board instead.)
Insert an assignment by clicking on the "Assessments" menu and choosing "Assignment."
You can choose to make a discussion forum gradable. The option is there when you create a new forum.
If want to grade a discussion forum, the easiest way to do that is to click the drop down arrow next to the discussion title and choose "grade" from the pop-up menu:
Giving tests in Blackboard is possible, but there are two reasons for beginners to avoid it if possible:
If you normally give tests, consider using the assignment tool to make take-home versions of your tests. If you would like to learn more about the test tool, Blackboard.com has resources to help. In addition, the university is exploring options for online testing.
Like giving tests, assigning blogs and wikis for graded work is best left to professors with extra time and/or Blackboard experience. Discussion Boards do much of the same thing, and the grading is a bit easier to manage.