By Maisie Caines, Blackboard ECP Director, MC-OnLine Consulting, Campus Administrator, College of the North Atlantic (Newfoundland, CA)
In my last post I discussed my eight-year involvement as a reviewer and now director in the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program. Here I want to highlight some of the best practices used in a past award-winning course: General Biology (GenBio) by Gail Wortman of the Iowa Department of Education.
This online biology course was designed to support high school students that were struggling, “at risk” or had special needs. The course discussion board is a significant contributing factor to student learning. Gail does an excellent job communicating with her students via the discussion board and modeling online netiquette. Her course design incorporates a variety of assignments, including peer reviews and student interviews, which build a sense of community among the students.
Last fall Blackboard introduced the “Back to School” program, an initiative designed to assist our clients prepare for new academic terms and the return of students and faculty members. A wealth of information we hope is helpful to you has been collected and housed in the Back to School wiki.
I’m pleased to announce here the format of the wiki has been updated in advance of the coming new term. We stripped away the lengthy explanations that, admittedly, used to clutter the site, and we made it more user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Content on the wiki now is organized into color-coded sections as follows:
By Maisie Caines, Blackboard ECP Director, MC-OnLine Consulting, Campus Administrator, College of the North Atlantic (Newfoundland, Canada)
My involvement with the Exemplary Course Program began during 1999–2000, as one of the principal investigators of the former WebCT Exemplary Course Project. For the past three years, I have been honored to continue in the role of director with the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program.
After eight years, I still get excited at the start of the review process, by having the opportunity to see the new ways learners in online courses are being engaged—through the integration of a variety of interaction and collaboration elements into the designs of courses. Each year, I look forward to seeing how tools are being used to encourage a high level of community-building in online environments.
Want to learn the best practices for using new technologies in your Blackboard online courses? Tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience of your peers in the independently run Blackboard user groups.
Here's a quick video interview with user group member Kristen Broadwell of Roosevelt University in which she discusses the new technologies she learned during a peer's session at the 2008 SLATE Conference:
To locate a Blackboard user group in your area, visit Blackboard Connections. More user group videos are archived at the BlackboardTV Channel on YouTube.
The 2009 Blackboard Exemplary Course Program is open and accepting course submissions for review and applications for ECP Reviewers. Participating can be a valuable learning experience for even the most seasoned instructor or designer.
In this brief clip Jared Hart of the Blackboard Client Success team outlines the program:
To learn more about the 2009 Exemplary Course Program, visit www.blackboard.com/ecp. If you have specific questions, email Jared.
More videos are archived on the BlackboardTV Channel on YouTube.