MINIMUM BLACKBOARD UNIT STRUCTURE – GUIDANCE
[Click for Word file: breo-unit-structure-v7-16]
We worked with students to improve the structure and organisation of their Blackboard units. All Blackboard units must meet these minimum specifications.
This structure, when fully populated with the correct content, meets the minimum requirements (and therefore takes the place) of a book-based unit handbook. It is a requirement that you maintain this structure, to help students by keeping BREO navigation consistent across all their units.
A version of the following descriptions will be made available to all of our students in order to help them know what to expect and where they can find it. Therefore, it is vital that everyone follows this format across every unit.
Announcements: should contain notifications and updates regarding the running of the unit. This should be the place your students know to visit for key information regarding induction, pointers to specific study support when unit activities call for it, and reminders about key moments coming up, especially assignment submissions and examinations. Announcements will normally also go to students via e-mail and Blackboard Mobile notifications, although these can be set to off by students using options in ‘My Blackboard’ (available by clicking your username at the very top of the browser page in BREO).
Unit Information: should contain a link to the Unit Information Form (UIF), pointing to the official agreed UIF in Sharepoint – this is added by an automated process by Quality Directorate. This area should also contain operational information regarding the planned running of the unit, the learning outcomes, the nature of learning materials and activities, the relationship between scheduled and guided learning, the importance of independent and autonomous study and general information about the structure of the BREO unit itself.
Guided Learning: should contain structured, organised materials and activities for students to access and undertake so that they come to scheduled sessions (lectures, workshops, tutorials, seminars) fully prepared to take an active part in the session. This content online should form the complementary materials and activities that together with scheduled learning form the bulk of students’ learning. It should incorporate rich and varied materials including required reading (linked to ReadingList) and – if appropriate – materials from open repositories, such as iTunesU, Merlot, and even YouTube (contact Learning Technology for help evaluating and incorporating these). It should be ordered in a way that fits the structure of your unit, probably by weeks or by blocks, and students should be shown how this works. The Learning Module tool in your unit is the easiest way to structure content and activities so that you can monitor engagement and the LT Team can help you understand how this works. For more information, go to http://wp.me/P3EMu8-2m
Assessment & Feedback: this content area should contain a detailed and comprehensive assignment brief for each assignment, together with learning outcomes addressed in the assignment, and clear grading criteria. This area will also contain each assignment’s submission link, as well as guidance about how feedback will be returned and how it should be used.
ReadingList: is a click-through link directly to the University’s electronic reading system (TALISAspire). It requires you to set up your reading list electronically through your Academic Liaison Librarian (ALL). To add content into this space consult your ALL – but do be aware that more is not always better and you should think carefully about how your students will perceive what they are expected to read and how.
Teaching Team: this is a direct link to the unit tool for adding tutor information and should include information about your availability for meeting with students, your contact details, location and channels for communication, and other useful information, such as the link to your University webpage and your research interests and activity.
You Said … : this area is for evaluation and feedback on the unit in general. Here you should include the feedback from related BUS results for last year and the current year (when available) together with information about what action was taken as a result. It is an opportunity to make your students feel they are fully a part of the unit and so, you could also provide the useful option of a discussion board here for Issues and Problems to be addressed before they even reach the BUS.
Below the Line: here the Teaching Team can add any area or tool link that helps their students’ learning. However, in order to help students across the course, studying up to 4 units at a time, these should be agreed by the Course Team as a whole and, if used in more than one unit, should retain the identical naming convention, whatever is chosen. It should not duplicate any of the existing navigational areas i.e. the areas above The Line).
Mark Gamble, Centre for Learning Excellence
Updated June 2016