Module 5: Managing your online unit

5.1 Preparing for your students

Start of semester

The way a site is organised and the way it looks can make a big difference to how efficiently students use it.

For your unit to be successful, your students need to be able to find things where they expect them to be. You should have a clear rationale for how your unit site is organised. Most commonly, sites are organised according to the type of component (e.g. Unit information, Learning Resources, Assessments, Discussion) OR according to the delivery schedule (e.g. a folder for each week/ topic containing all the associated activities and resources). Whichever method you use, make sure that you apply it consistently and that you discuss it with your students so they know how to find the main activities, learning resources and assessments.

Once your Blackboard iLearn site has been built (or, especially if it has been ‘rolled over’ from a previous semester), you’ll need to do a bit of housekeeping before making the unit available to your students. Before you start, make sure your unit is ‘unavailable’ to students. This will allow you to get the unit ready without the students being present, i.e. preparing for your teaching OUTSIDE of the class. Once you've finished, remember to make your unit 'available' by clicking the Change Unit Availability button.

Download the Pre-semester housekeeping checklist and use it to check that the Blackboard iLearn site is ready for students to access. Upload the completed checklist to your learning journal.

Make a list of all the elements of your unit that are date-related. Check and update each one to make sure the dates are appropriate for the current semester. Once you have completed this task, check it off on your checklist.