The following article provides tips about managing a blackboard learning site, developing content and preparing the site for delivery to students.
Teaching with Blackboard and MySCU
A Blackboard learning site provides an important central repository of information and resources for on-campus students; and for an online student, this space will be the first (and perhaps the only) place they go to engage with your unit. When you are teaching online you and your students will be relying on resources, learning experiences and interactions in the Blackboard learning site for your unit. At Southern Cross University, Blackboard is also known as MySCU. These terms are often used interchangeably because they are referring to the same learning management system.
- For teaching support, you can contact the Centre for Teaching and Learning which offer support resources, workshops and training in the use of technology for teaching.
- For support resources covering the development of a Blackboard learning site aligned to the Southern Cross Model, see the ICSM Practical Guide.
- For technical issues with a Blackboard site you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Blackboard website also provides documentation of Blackboard learning management system features.
Check the Blackboard site
- Go through the Blackboard site from beginning to end and make sure you understand it very well, including any learning technologies you need to use.
- Check ALL the links to ensure they work. This includes quizzes and links to upload assessments – everything.
- Get a colleague to check the site and ensure the navigation is simple and clear.
- Check that the organisation of assessment information is logical. This means a separate folder for each assessment and all relevant information in that folder.
- Use our MySCU unit site checklist to make sure you have covered everything.
Check the content
- Check your content is up to date.
- Be adaptive, as needed, to support students’ understanding.
- Contextualise and highlight important content, linking concepts together – tell the story.
- Declutter the site. If it is not immediately relevant to the topic - take it out.
- Anything extra (nice but not immediately relevant) can be put in a folder called 'Useful extra resources'. Keep the focus of the site sharp.
- Avoid cognitive overload. Keep your lectures and presentations short.
- Content needs to be chunked into digestible pieces and, ideally, varied to sustain engagement.
- Provide opportunities for students to actively engage with the content and each other.
Establish teacher presence
- Communicate to students how responsive you will be to emails, and what times you will be available to answer their questions.
- Check the discussion board daily, or more as needed. Monitor and respond to the conversations, but allow others time to contribute.
- Consider having an open office in Zoom or Collaborate where students can drop in at an agreed time.
- Seek feedback on student learning to check their understanding. Be approachable and responsive.
- Post announcements at least once a week, drawing student attention to important and timely aspects of the unit.
MySCU unit site checklist
This checklist is a tool to assist in the development of quality MySCU learning sites. Site menu items are based on the SCU unit template, the default template for all MySCU learning sites.
Site menu Item
What you need to know
What to check and do
Key aim: Provide timely and introductory information to students.
|Accessibility||Ensure that all students and staff can participate in your MySCU site.|
Key aim: To provide learning materials and study resources for students.
Unit outline (UO)
Key aim: To facilitate student engagement, communication and discussion.
|Zoom Class (manually added)|
Create/Join a study group
Key aim: To provide all information, feedback and grades on unit assessment.
Assessment tasks and submission
Grades and feedback
Assessment policy and procedures
Key aim: To provide links and information to support students.