Blackboard offers a variety of ways to organize content in your course site. Good course design allows students to easily locate the information they need. You may choose to organize by topics, sections or weeks. To contain each topic/section/week's materials you can use a Content Folder or a Learning Module.
Learning Modules present content to students in the form of a notebook. There is an integrated Table of Contents that lists everything the instructor adds to the Learning Module.
Content Folders resemble computer file folders. Once a folder is created, content and subfolders may be added to it.
Learning Modules and Content Folders can be added and edited in any Content Area (Course Documents, Assignments, etc.). Learning Modules and Content Folders are shells in which other types of content, such as files, are added and stored. If the parent module or folder is made unavailable to students, the items within it are also unavailable.
A good basic unit for adding content is an Item. Items can be added to either a module or folder. An item can contain text, attached files, web links, images, and more. Descriptive text can be added as well.
Instructor Information is a place where students can easily locate contact information for the instructor(s) of a course. There are fields for Office Location, Office Hours, and Notes. Some instructors use this area as a place to include a short introduction.
Blackboard courses for semester classes are automatically created with some course menu items. If you copy a course, the left menu items will be copied as well. Navigation links can be created, renamed, reordered or removed to aid student navigation within a Blackboard course. The navigation links you add to the Course Menu appear on the left side of a course website, link to areas within a course and is visible on each page within the course. Instructors can customize the Course Menu to set the content and tools that are visible to students.
You can also view the Introduction to Blackboard video.
Blackboard's Content Editor is a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor that allows you to add and format text, insert equations, hyperlinks and tables and attach different types of files. The editor appears throughout the system as the default text editor and is available in simple and advanced modes.
You can also view the New Content Editor video.
To personalize your Blackboard course, you can determine which page students see when they enter the course. The course entry page can have a customized banner image that appears across the top of the display. You can also create, move and rename the left course menu links in each course.
You can also view the How to Design your Course Entry Point video.
The addition of video and audio content to a course can generate discussion, demonstrate topics with real-world examples and provide an additional opportunity for retention and comprehension. Using multimedia items in a course enables students to reinforce, analyze and evaluate content and helps accommodate visual and oral learning styles. You can also embed an audio/video recording of your feedback in the editor as you grade attempts. The recording option appears in the feedback editor for most graded items in your course. Students watch or listen to your feedback alongside any text you include.
Streaming multimedia can be placed directly into your Blackboard content area. You can upload content once to use in multiple courses using YuJa (UND's media streaming service) which accepts most web.
Adaptive Release allows you to control the release of content to students based on a rule or rules that you create. You may want to delay revealing content for a student until after the student has achieved a certain score on a particular assessment or until after the student has accessed or viewed another piece of content. Content can also be restricted to specific students.
Some faculty members use adaptive release to require their students to achieve a perfect score on a syllabus quiz before making the next level of course content available. Other instructors limit the visibility of assessments based on date and time (often referred to as "timed release"). Students who require additional time to complete timed assessments can be granted extended access to a version of the test or quiz.
You want to be confident that your course is well-designed and functions as you expect—before your students see it. With student preview, you can review the course content from a student's perspective. You can also validate course behaviors, such as the conditional release of content and how grades appear.
While in student preview mode, you can do these student activities:
- Submit assignments
- Take tests
- Create blog and discussion posts
- Create journal and wiki entries
- View student tools, such as My Grades
Student preview is different from Edit Mode. While Edit Mode hides your edit controls and content under certain conditions, student preview allows you to experience your course as your students will.
You can also view the Student Preview video for more information.