For Emphasizing Time on Task

Time plus energy equals learning. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for instructors.

Organizing Content in Blackboard

There is no one way to organize online course materials and activities.The framework and approach used will vary depending upon the instructor's educational goals and instructional preferences of the instructor and (in some cases) the institution. A course might be organized in any of the following ways (or combination of the following ways):

  • By units or modules based upon subject-specific concepts
  • Chronologically by week (e.g., Week 1, Week 2, etc.)
  • By major concepts or topics in the course
  • By chapters in the textbook

You can create Content Folders (e.g., in Course Documents) using the selected organizing framework, and then upload content into the appropriate folder. Here is a list of principles of visual organization, design, and communication that all work together to help your students navigate your course, find the information they need, and make sense of the information and activities you make available online.

Chunking. Split content into smaller chunks, split explanations or instructions into bulleted or numbered lists, and establish a "visual grouping" of related documents.

Filtering. Provide visual and typographical cues like boldfacing, italics, and icons to draw student's attention to key points and help them distinguish between "need to know" and "nice to know" information.

Sequencing. Order the information into a logical and meaningful way to help guide students through course material and activities.

Consistency. Use consistent design and organizational rules in your course materials, including documents, so students do not have to "relearn" how to read each page or document. This includes using the same typefaces, font sizes, and colors throughout the course site.

Readability. Make course elements redundant to help minimize searching. If a document or file may be needed to be accessed by students from more than one location in the course, don’t hesitate to provide links to it from more than one place.

Redundancy. Make course elements redundant to help minimize searching. If a document or file may be needed to be accessed by students from more than one location in the course, don’t hesitate to provide links to it from more than one place.

Adapted from "Organize, Manage, and Present Content and Activities in Your Blackboard Vista Course" by Instructional and Informational Technology Training for Faculty & Staff, 2009, Connecticut Community Colleges, retrieved from http://www.commnet.edu/academics/blackboard/faculty/docs/Organize_Manage_Present_Content_in_BBVista.pdf

Adding a folder to a Content Area

1.  Click on the content area (e.g., Course Documents) on the course menu.

2.  Click Build Content, and then click Content Folder.

3.  Enter a name for the folder. Entering Text (or description) is optional but can help explain a folder's purpose. 

4.  Select date and time restrictions if you want to make a folder available to students only after a certain day and time. 

5.  Click Submit