How to Effectively Organise Your Blackboard Course Content
In this video, Kyriakos Neanidis showcases the setup of his masters course on Blackboard, explaining the clear structure of his course content plus his use of Piazza, and how it all serves to make activities and expectations clear to students on a weekly basis.
Where, under lockdown conditions, all interaction with the course became online, Kyriakos decided to structure and organise his Blackboard course using a long but main home page. The course home page provided a clear structure of the unit and its building blocks. By being a clearly structured entry point to the essential components the unit assisted students in easily finding what they needed. The home page includes:
- Welcome section that introduced the course including a video tour of the site
- Course unit information section
- The course discussion board (Piazza): including the purpose, how he intended to use online board, expectations including netiquette and how to access the tool as such Piazza
- Assessment information section: type, where to find submission point, mock paper that reflect the type of questions students will encounter.
- Recommended readings section– clearly distinguished from essential reading that he outlines in each of the various weeks.
- Teaching materials organised in a consistent manner across all weeks, clearly outlining the intended outcomes for each subject covered, and materials involving text as well as multimedia material (video clips of lectures, or problem questions, etc)
Results/outcomes and method of evaluation
For the first time no student has come to Office hours – all questions have been resolved via Piazza or Live Tutorials.
In terms of structuring an online unit, the simpler the better. It does not have to look fancy, but needs to be functional and helpful in guiding students in the right direction (of material, exam preparation, additional notes, etc)
- Manage large groups effectively
- Requires low level of technical expertise/technical confidence
- Helps students understand what is expected of them
- Offer guidance throughout the semester, including exam period time for revision.
“The course is well organized.”
- The structure of your Bb site is critical for students’ engagement with course materials.
- Do not just throw teaching materials out to your students, guide students by specifying the purpose of sections, tools you use, your expectations, what is essential and what is a recommendation
- Promote peer interaction in discussion boards e.g. when a student posts a question allow opportunities and reward other students’ responding. Measure your interventions e.g. intervening after a few days later
School: Social Sciences
Academic: Kyriakos Neanidis
Course: ECON60411 Macroeconomics PGT (91 students)
Themes: Teaching ideas, managing large cohorts