With the introduction of Bb Learn 9, UNI introduced a new eLearning course template to provide a more consistent look and feel for students. The template was designed to align with standards developed by Quality Matters, a nationally recognized organization stressing quality assurance for online education. Quality Matters standards are available for download in a rubric format at http://www.qmprogram.org/rubric. All UNI eLearning courses should adhere to the University's course template as described below.
The UNI Bb Learn 9 course template purposely defaults to the Course Dashboard as the students’ course entry page. Why is the dashboard so important? The Course Dashboard displays dynamic information to keep students informed and help them stay on track with your course. It includes such features as announcements, what's new, what's due, and more.
The Course Menu appears on the left side of your course window. It is the cornerstone for the organization and navigation of your course. UNI's course template is set to Folder view for students. Folder view will display the full course material hierarchy, including all folders and the content within them. (Below the Course Menu is the Control Panel which is for instructor/designer use only. Students do not see the Control Panel.)
Six links are preset in the Course Menu as common links across all UNI courses. These links include:
- Course Dashboard – Returns users to the entry page of the course.
- START HERE! – Folder for customized faculty content.
- Course Content – Folder for customized faculty content.
- Tools – Provides a list of links to the tools used in the course. Faculty should hide any tools that are not used in the course to avoid confusion.
- Student Support – Takes users to the UNI eLearning Homepage in a new browser window. Faculty may wish to inform students of various resources available on the eLearning site, such as system-wide eLearning announcements, the “Student Resources” tab and the “Contact eLearning Support” tab.
- Bb Learn Help – Opens the student version of Bb Learn’s online, searchable help documentation library in a new window.
This list of six links is intentionally short and simple. Faculty are encouraged to add their customized content within the “START HERE!” and “Course Content” folders rather than adding additional links to the Course Menu.
START HERE! Folder
The first standard on Quality Matters’ rubric states, “Instructions make clear how to get started and where to find various course components.” Additional QM standards refer to making information such as the following available to the students: the purpose and structure of the course, online etiquette expectations, minimum technical skills required, course and institutional policies, course learning objectives, grading policy, technical support options and more. This is the purpose of the START HERE! folder. Many of these things will likely be in your syllabus already. So your syllabus belongs in the START HERE! folder. Faculty are encouraged to look through the QM rubric (http://www.qmprogram.org/files/QM_Standards_2011-2013-3.pdf) to determine additional things that might go in this folder. ITS-Educational Technology recommends the following QM standards be addressed in the START HERE! folder: 1.1 through 1.8, 2.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4.2, 4.3, 4.6, 5.3, 5.4, 6.1, 7.1 through 7.4, and 8.1. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Instructional Technologies team via Contact eLearning Support. These folks have obtained certification as QM course reviewers.
Course Content Folder
Bb Learn 9 uses a content centric approach. The Course Content folder is intended to serve as the location for all your course content. This might include instructional materials, resources, related discussions, assignments, assessments, etc….in other words, anything that doesn’t belong in the START HERE! folder. This is in contrast to a tool centric approach used in the old WebCT CE8 system in which you went to each tool within eLearning to access instructional content related to that specific tool (i.e. assignments were located in the Assignment tool, discussions were located in the Discussions tool, etc.).
Two approaches might be taken in organizing the Course Content folder:
- Content Type (Assignments, Tests, Discussions)
Organizational structure could be based on content type. Within the Course Content area, it is possible to place links to all tests in a folder called Tests, all assignments in a folder called Assignments, all discussions in a folder called Discussions, etc.
However, the best practice approach from a Quality Matters perspective is to organize according to content sequence.
- Content Sequence (Week 1, Module 1, Chapter 1)
The Content Sequence approach involves breaking the content up into units or modules. Within Bb Learn, modules can be organized through the use of "Content Folders" or "Learning Modules". With this approach, all course components related to that specific module are included within the module. This would include related learning materials, discussions, assignments, tests etc. So there would not be a single area for just assignments, just discussions, or just tests. The course components are typically presented in the order in which students would need to access them. Sequencing content in your course helps students prioritize, organize, and identify core concepts. Some faculty may sequence according to weeks of the semester. Others might sequence content by chapters. A third approach to sequencing involves dividing content into modules by units or topics of study.
Bb Learn Helpful Resources
- Blackboard Learn Help for Instructors
Searchable topics and step-by-step instructions to help you find the information that you need to design and teach your course in Blackboard Learn 9.1.
- UNI’s eLearning Faculty Resources support page
Includes FAQs & a “Did You Know” section featuring eLearning tips and tricks.
- Blackboard Board Learn Instructor videos
Includes short, interactive video tutorials and short “Getting Started” documents, designed to get you familiar with a feature in 15 minutes.
- Blackboard Feedback - Learn Product Suggestion Box
Blackboard invites you to submit suggestions for improving the product. If you have an idea for a new feature or enhancement, you can submit it via this form. (Please note: If you believe your request is a product defect, please contact the UNI eLearning team via Contact eLearning Support)