Before sequencing the content and learning activities, and planning the details, you may find it useful to plan out the heading structure of your modules.
This process will help you to:
- create a structure for your module that is logical, sequential and complete
- consider the structure of your module as ‘a chronological story’ that will enhance the overall student experience
- use consistent, clear headings that will inspire, inform or challenge your students
- help students navigate the content and return to relevant topics for revision.
On this page:
1. A good heading structure will flow logically and follow a deliberate progression
While you are planning the Unit Outline, write or type out your planned heading sequence as you would if you were listing headings in a Contents page. This will give you a useful ‘bird’s eye view’ of the structure of your module. Once you can see the headings listed together, ask yourself:
- Is the progression of topics logical?
- If sequential, does it progress in the best way?
Note that each of the sub-headings in Example A, above, begins with a verb and forms a sequence of instructions. Even without the content written, it is easy to understand the process that is being taught.
Finally, consider the activity headings. Are they simply a list of ‘Activity 1.1’? Add more detail to spark interest in your students, help them understand what is expected and navigate their progress through the topic.
2. A good heading structure will be easy to scan and navigate
Since Blackboard doesn’t offer a table of contents or list module headings in the navigation bar, help your students navigate your module by using compound headings.
3. A good heading structure will spark student interest and curiosity
Questions to consider:
- Does your topic begin in a way that will engage students (e.g., ‘Introduction to psychology’ could become ‘Journey into the human mind’)
- Could you re-order the structure to place the most important issue first, and then ‘hang’ the rest of the module off that?
Once you have written your unit (see Step 2) and uploaded the modules to Blackboard, select 'Shift + Alt + L' to see s list of headings on the page. Use this to help you navigate the page and to check the structure of each module.
4. Topic heading checklist
Use this checklist to review the structure of your topic headings:
Is the heading structure logical, sequential and complete?
Does it include an introduction that will spark curiosity or interest in the topic?
Does it follow a chronological story that will enhance students’ overall understanding?
Are the headings consistent, clear, engaging and informative?
Do the headings help students navigate the content?
If a student is distracted or called away, will it be easy for them find where they left off?
Does the heading structure end with a summary and a reference (or even better, a teaser that sparks interest) to the topic that will follow?
Where to next?
- For guidance about writing online, see the Knowledge Base article: Writing effective online units and the Quick-glance Summary.
- For guidance about writing for your students see the Knowledge Base article: Create an empathy map of your students.