We asked past Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Winner – Judy Hammock, Course Designer and Developer from University of Nevada, Reno for her top tips for designing an exemplary online course.

  1. I feel I was successful because I worked closely with another person on campus who had completed a course application previously. After doing the first one, she had a much better idea of what to include and the methods to use. This was invaluable. If you don’t have someone like this, look at the samples of previous winners to help you set the tone.
  2. Provide clear directions to your students in your course. What sounds clear to you may not sound clear to your students. Provide several ways to get information to them for assignments.  It is helpful to give examples. You should show that you are providing several ways to express what you want done. For example, you might have an assignments page at the end of a lecture, write about it in an email, or have the student go where examples of assignments are provided.
  3. Try to provide several ways to instruct students. Not everyone learns through reading. Include films, PowerPoint Presentations, written, and verbal assignments all telling the student what it is you want done.
  4. Make sure that each week or segment of the course is done in the same way. The font and color should remain the same from week to week. Remember that you will have students with a disability at times. Make sure that you have the proper equipment or tools so they may learn along side of your non-disabled students.
  5. Make sure you provide a place where students can express feedback. This can be done several times in the course so that minor changes can be made if it benefits the whole course.
  6. Start your Exemplary Course Submission form early and make sure you understand all of the directions and questions asked. This is not a document/application that you want to do at the last minute.

Consider participating in the 2011 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program by submitting your online course for review. Deadline for submissions is January 18, 2011. More information is available at http://www.blackboard.com/ecp



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