Great blog! Although I do not teach on-line courses, I was inspired by all your cool ideas. I may not bite some of your ideas in their entirety, but I will customize some to fit my reading and writing classes. Thanks for the great innovative ideas.
Wonderful blog, Laura, thanks for all the detail. I’ve been teaching online courses for MiraCosta for a long time, and have been an on-ground classroom teacher even longer. I’m constantly researching ways to do exactly what you have done… design concise, comprehensive yet easy to navigate content in Blackboard for my online students. I currently teach computer applications (Microsoft Word and PowerPoint classes). My design for my Word class uses weekly modules, where the student clicks into the module icon, and is presented with a short Table of Contents with just 2-3 links. I call each module a Unit. Those 2-3 links in the Unit main page are:
The Overview – This is a brief page summary of what students will learn in the Unit, including a summary list of the parts that make up that Unit (what students will actually have to do, and turn in).
The Assignment – This is a longer page that has several sections in it. The top section has the SLOs (Student Learning Objectives) for that week, a list of the actual things students will do for that Unit, followed by details of the actual project for that week, the video I made for that week (YouTube link), the Discussion Board post if there is one that week, and anything else required for the Unit. At the very bottom of that page I include the Evaluation criteria (how they will be graded). I also include links to online resources, tips and tricks, etc.
Click Here to Turn in Your Work – This is a separate page students click to upload and submit their assignment files.
In the main menu list on the left of the Blackboard screen, here are some of the standard links I use:
Announcements (about 3 times per week)
Information & Resources (class syllabus, files needed for projects, assignment due dates, etc.)
Assignments (page where I have icon links to all Units, made available as we go)
Discussion Board Forums (students sometimes are required to participate in discussions and/or post examples of work)
Videos (a page where I have a list of links to all my videos I made for students throughout the semester. This is a convenience for students so that when they want to go back and review a video that was posted in a past assignment page, they can find them easily in one place).
Student Help (a page with links and information to support students looking for assistance, such as a link to the Tutoring center, DSPS, Career Counseling, etc.)
I fine tune this design each semester, and try to get as much feedback as possible from students. I think it is pretty successful so far.
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