Birds of a Feather Session: Designing Courses in Blackboard 9.1

The new platform is so flexible! You can name items anything and place them in any order on the navigation…but at what price? Is it alright to allow faculty the ability to call their test area whatever they want or are some standards a good idea? Some ideas from the crowd:

  • Create a Branding Guide, sort of like Best Practices for your institution to keep some things similar from course to course to make a student’s experience from course to course, semester to semester a good one
  • Create a video or document that you include in the an Orientation or Course Information section to introduce your students to the layout of your course and how you name things, and what you have put in the various buttons, folders, and learning modules.
  • Develop an institutional (departmental, program, school) template that locks down some certain things in Blackboard for consistency.

Learning Modules. There have been many comments at the conference about how when using learning modules in Blackboard 9.x, when you go to an assessment or a discussion, you are thrown out of the sequence of the learning module. One work around for this from a design standpoint, is to have links to these areas open in new windows so that their spot in the learning module is still open. A second option is to use the course link to send students to these various objects.

Customized Icons or actually images added in the visual editor. Note that on the Blackboard road map for sometime next year, this icon situation is supposed to be addressed.

It was great to hear all of the discussion in the room, and to hear Kathy Seville from Marshall University! I’ll be interested to get more in to course development and design at GRCC and learn how our culture uses Blackboard 9.1.


About Meegan
Meegan has over fifteen years experience working in higher education. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from Western Michigan University and a Master of Education with an emphasis on Instructional Technology from American InterContinental University Online. She is currently the Instructional Technologist/Designer at Grand Rapids Community College where her main focus is helping faculty to develop and deliver quality online and hybrid courses.

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