Good practice in Blackboard course design

In January 2014, the eLearning Team launched its Blackboard MOT service.  The Blackboard MOT is a structured review of a course unit, requested by the academic. Its purpose is to provide suggestions on how to improve course units. Click on the link for further details of how to book a Blackboard MOT for your course unit.

There are three main sections for review:

  • Unit content
  • Communication and interaction
  • Assessment and feedback

Here we list some of the items we would suggest if they are not immediately apparent in your Blackboard course unit.  A more detailed analysis of good practice in course design has been put together in a PDF, available here: eLearningBestPractice_v3

Unit Content

  • Lecture notes available online, in easily accessible format
  • Additional material: links to web pages, additional documents, videos, case studies and examples, etc.
  • Course materials available in a variety of formats (e.g. text, audio, video, images, animations)
  • Course materials well organised and easy to find
  • Online course materials support independent learning (working outside of class time, for example to prepare for a tutorial, read about a topic in more depth, etc.)

Communication and interaction

  • Use of anouncements/emails/twitter/Bb chat/SMS messages to students
  • Structured discussion boards and blogs with clearly defined topics, moderated by the academic
  • Students supporting each other’s learning online (e.g. via discussion posts, online group work)
  • eLearning tools enable practice of skills and/or knowledge (e.g. software, web apps, interactive quizzes)

Assessment and feedback

  • Online guidance providing detailed expectations for assessed work (rubrics, assessment grids)
  • Practice assessment/exam questions
  • Generic feedback on coursework or model answers for quizzes
  • Online formative quizzes with tailored feedback and suggestions for further study
  • Online submission of assignments, online marking and feedback
Good practice in Blackboard course design

4 thoughts on “Good practice in Blackboard course design

  • 1st December 2016 at 9:19 am

    Love this good practice guide – hope you don’t mind me linking to it, to include in the Business ‘Teaching Online Bb space?
    Surprise me by telling us that your academics have used it much – do you have any stats on usage?

    • 12th January 2017 at 12:12 pm

      Haha, stats are few and far between – but if even a handful have found it useful then we’re happy! The team regularly does MOT audits of course units either individually or across programmes – we’ve done about 20 in the past few months. It seems to be most useful when a new academic takes over an existing course unit, or a programme leader wants to promote consistency across several units.

  • 1st December 2016 at 9:25 am

    Second thoughts – maybe linking to it ‘as-is’ is not such a great idea, since it has EPS all over it, which will confuse our academics mightily.
    Can we just ‘borrow’ the key points, and the linked PDF – eLearningBestPractice vs3?

    • 12th January 2017 at 1:21 pm

      By all means borrow whatever you find useful here. We’ve certainly benefited from plenty of stuff that the Humanities team has produced.


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