What is a Blackboard Review?
Instructors identify a Blackboard course they would like to have reviewed. CIS Blackboard experts examine the shell for consistency throughout the course materials, the Grade Center, and the syllabus. Specific attention is given to ensuring content presented to students is clear and thorough and, should ambiguities be found, suggestions are made to add clarity and consistency. Additional recommendations are provided to simplify navigation, as well as to suggest Blackboard tools that will facilitate management of the course and improve the end-user's experience. A final area of review is completed to ensure digital content meets CMU’s Accessibility Standards.
How is a Blackboard Review Completed?
Goals for the Blackboard Review are discussed with the instructor prior to the review occurring. Any challenges encountered in teaching the course, or areas of concern students have presented, are determined. CIS Blackboard experts review the Blackboard shell with these items in mind. Other CIS staff will be included to address items that may go beyond the Blackboard Review’s scope.
A list of suggestions is returned to the instructor for consideration. The instructor then determines which, if any, of the suggested changes they want to be implemented. From there, CIS staff will carry out those recommendations in Blackboard for the instructor to review and approve.
What Do We Believe an Effective Blackboard Course to Be?
According to Rubin et al. (2013), an effective Blackboard course creates a community of inquiry, in which students engage in communal and individual methods of constructing knowledge. Therefore, the instructor’s role in an effective Blackboard course is to create engaging instructional activities beyond discussion forums, provide specific, supportive feedback and communication, and design course materials to support authentic cognitive processes. Achieving these ends benefits from the use of the ‘right’ tools, for the right tasks inside Blackboard. Moreover, consistency and clarity in layout lessens the cognitive demands on students, allowing more focus to be placed on the course activities, and therefore, on learning.