Thursday, November 18, 2010

Course Template for WWW Classes

One idea floating around is the creation of a common Bb course template for the WWW classes.  The goal is to provide students from across KCTCS with common nomenclature and a standard organization of the navigation buttons in their Blackboard.  See below an example of such a template, which is currently being used in a pilot project at Hazard CTC.  When I first heard about this initiative, I was concerned about a practice that might undermine the flexibility that faculty currently have in tailoring Bb course shells to meet the needs of their students.  I have since learned that, if adopted, faculty will still have the opportunity to customize their course shells.  For example, CIT, IMD, and math faculty might want to add a navigation button to Pearson MyLab resource.  Writing faculty might want to create a separate folder of Writing Resources.  That’s all possible.  The shells will also come with some helpful preloaded content for faculty and students that gives directions who to contact from other campuses, to student services, email, how-to videos in Peoplesoft, and more. 


  1. Ben, this looks like a great place to discuss KCTCS and BCTC specific things.

    I started a blog about higher ed web issues, and I mis-typed when I was making it, so it came out
    high red web.

    I haven't updated it much lately, but maybe that would be a different one that people who are interested in more theoretical/trend issues could discuss, and this blog would be very local.

    If I'm going to encourage others to blog, I guess I should do it myself.


    does that make a clickable link?

    nope, might try putting all the HTML code in

  3. As an adjunct, I teach online at a variety of universities and colleges. Some are using pre-designed templates to the point of restricting changes. Others are letting me design my course completely.

    An instructor can adapt to both scenarios and there are big advantages for the students to see continuity between courses. However, I would encourage the template to be a "this button in this position" type of continuity, rather than trying to make all instructors teach the same instruction per week, per lesson, etc.

    I am refusing to teach a composition course next semester at a particular school because of the inflexibility of the template. This semester is my second time trying to teach it and I am struggling too hard again. I would rather grade drafts than the busy work designed into the course. The course as designed gives me one chance at one draft and three days later the students hand in the final paper. That works for maybe 1-2 students out of the 22 in the course. So now I am "breaking the rules" to teach writing there. This is not a good scenario.

    Bottom line: I think consistency is good, but I hope BCTC will allow enough flexibility among courses to allow for instructor creativity in teaching.