In an effort to standardize the interface of our courses in Blackboard, make navigation easier for students and faculty, and ensure that essential components (ADA compliance, instructor information, assignments, grading categories and weighting, etc.) are addressed, we are considering creating a course template to be made available to all faculty to copy and use.
The course template closely follows the suggestions listed in the OSCQR rubric. In addition to easing navigation within courses, the template improves educational quality by freeing faculty up from designing and allowing them to focus on content).
This seems like a great idea, yet I do not know of any colleges or universities that use a course template. Does your college/university use a course template? If so, could you let me know what is in it, when it was implemented and how did you market it to faculty? Feel free to add anything else you may consider important.
By the way, if you are interested in creating a course template, let me know. I'd love to collaborate with other designers to create this template. Thank you so much for your input!
I am an instructional designer at MCC and our team has just finished developing a course template on Blackboard that we are using with our Open SUNY+ courses. We have designed it to fit with the OSCQR rubric so that much of designing is left to the designers and the faculty can focus on adding their course content. At the moment, we have edited the template, gotten faculty feedback on it, and are now testing it out with 20+ classes in the fall semester. We are only marketing to faculty right now on a case by case basis if they are looking for a better way to organize their classes. I would be interested in talking to you more about this and getting your input. Feel free to message me if you would like to chat more about this.
We are also thinking about this idea, as it is much quicker for new to online faculty to create their online course. We are testing out a course overview "blank page" in each module, with things like, module description, module learning outcomes, module assignments, readings and due dates. We are also adding a "readings and video's folder in each module. So the faculty member will come in and just fill out the overview template and begin populated the folder with readings and video's.
Other ideas include, a begin here module, with an icebreaker activity, course information documents, and an ask the instructor discussion. We are also utilizing hyperlinks throughout the course to course info docs and the ask the instructor discussion, to create a minimal click environment for the students.
What are the types of content you envision going into your template?
The stuff we have in our rubric is, more or less, already listed in the SUNY OSCQR rubric https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ICwNCdRQTw7thRKCMLonrVaoyIi...
We have places for faculty to put their name and contact information, a place to house learning modules, a place to set up discussions, tests, assignment uploads, etc. We also have spots for the syllabus (of course!) as well as places for college polices, course policies, ADA regs and other information students should know. Some of that is the same across campus and can become boiler plate, but I think it's important to have it nonetheless.
We also have a "Begin Here" page with instructor information and a welcome message. I'd love to know what you included as an ice-breaker activity.
Have you started distributing your template yet?
We have developed a basic template for courses. I've attached a copy to this message if you are interested.
Dan! Thank you! I am very interested.
This course template is great! Is this something that SUNY provides to campuses upon request?
Yes. It is distributed as part of our New To Online Learning (N2OL) series of workshops. You are free to use it as you see fit. I would request that you let us know if you make changes to the template. I'm always curious to see how different campuses approach these issues, and we may want to incorporate your edits into our master version.