We asked past Blackboard Exemplary Course Award Winner – Dr. Robert Gibson, Associate CIO - Academic and User Services at Emporia State University for his top 10 tips for designing an exemplary online course. Rob gave us 11 : )
- Use some sort of quality checklist rubric: Quality Matters; Chico State; Blackboard Exemplary Course, etc.
- Exercise Blackboard's secondary tools within the course where appropriate: Scholar, Twitter feeds, blogs, wikis, journals, podcasts, etc.
- Create a short podcast for each week's material that introduces the topic (in general terms). Podcasts are normally 10-15 minutes each.
- Build out robust discussion topics by salting the forums with topics that relate real-world experiences to the course readings. Begin each discussion topic by posing a question that pulls in the student's personal experiences. This makes the readings less esoteric.
- Design the course with discreet menu items that differentiate various elements: Assignments should be separate from Course Readings, etc. Upper-most items are the most important/most accessed.
- Include a robust faculty contact section with links to graduate students, technical support, etc.
- If you use guest lecturers, include a sidebar option with links to their resources and presentation – include a photo of those people.
- Include forums that are non-graded, but that serve as a location to post videos, news items, podcasts, etc. for the subject matter.
- Include a video course introduction using a tool such as Camtasia. Go through each section of the course and describe the content using a voice-over.
- Per the quality checklist, be sure to include perfunctory information pertaining to various support offices: Office of Disability Services, etc.
- Design the course with ADA in mind – always. If you use YouTube, be sure to explain and use the captioning feature. Refer to this site: http://accessproject.colostate.edu/ for tips on preparing PowerPoint and Word files for access by people with disabilities. (Universal Design for Learning)
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