What It Is
Having a clear, organized, and engaging design for a Blackboard class page can prevent confusion, and encourage learners’ participation and enjoyment in the course.
Why It Matters
The goal is for learners to be able to locate assignments, resources, and course readings quickly and easily. The harder it is for learners to find what they need, the more likely they are to miss important information. Course organization helps enhance student focus as they navigate an easy-to-follow course structure (Scott, 2003).
Overall Look, Organization, and Setup
- Include a “Start Here” section as the first menu item in the course navigation bar. This is where a course introduction will live–a short video about the instructor and the course, or a written paragraph with a picture to increase instructor presence (Yearwood et al., 2016). Add links to the syllabus, information about getting technology support and contacting Student Services, a brief outline of major course assignments and due dates (separate from the syllabus), and any other information learners need to know right away.
Separation and Integration:
- Divide the course site (Blackboard) into sections to make it clear to learners where they should go to find what they need. Grouping and integrating similar types of information within a section creates cohesion and order within the course. Section groupings can include Modules, Units, Weeks, or general themes.
Use intuitive labels and links:
- Make it clear to learners what they need to do with each object on the page. Use hyperlinks or folders to minimize the number of “clicks” to open the resource.
- – READ this article
- – WATCH this video
- – RESPOND to this discussion board post
- – Engage: STLI Academy-Course Design Series
- – Watch: Midweek Motivation – The Power of Modules
- – Read: Blackboard Organization Help Sheet
- – Read: Designing High Impact Courses in Blackboard
- – Explore: IT’s Blackboard Help for Faculty
- – Explore: How to Organize a Blackboard Course
Scott, P. A. (2003). Attributes of high-quality intensive courses. New directions for adult and continuing education, 2003(97), 29-38.
Yearwood, D., Cox, R., & Cassidy, A. (2016). Connection-Engagement-Empowerment. Transformative dialogues: teaching and learning journal, 8(3).
Cite This Resource
Studio for Teaching & Learning Innovation. (2023, January). Course organization [Teaching resource]. https://stli.wm.edu/academicresources/course-organization-resources/