Students appreciate and expect a consistent and coherent online learning experience. To ensure consistency in the way information and resources are presented in the Blackboard (Virtual Learning Environment) between different modules the University Blackboard Threshold Standards were developed.
The following suggested default menu structure for course areas in Blackboard provides a baseline set of headings and menu items to help you organise online learning and content.
All new Blackboard courses created in the annual rollover have this menu structure applied by default, except where a School or Department have designed their own default menu. Schools and Departments have the scope to customise their Blackboard courses to meet their needs, and staff can add items to the menu, as required. Please check with your School Director of Teaching and Learning for any local adaptations.
Some menu items are mandated by the University and should not be altered as this could prevent any updates needed; these are indicated as ‘Required item‘.
For help with editing your course menu see Customising a course menu
Suggested default menu structure for Blackboard courses
|Place specific academic information about a module in the top section.|
|Announcements||Tool Link: Announcements
Post time-sensitive news and information to students.
Suggested post: A welcome announcement introducing the module that describes what the online space is going to contain and be used for.
To contain the following information:
|Staff Contacts||Tool Link: Contacts
Add an entry for each member of staff teaching on the module/programme to include:
You should also include contact details for your Support Centre programme administration team.
|Module Evaluation||Content Area
Required item to provide a Module Convenor’s response to feedback obtained through the student module evaluation survey. It is pre-populated with three content items:
More information: Module Evaluation
|Create menu items in the second section to store learning materials (using content areas) or provide links to tools for online learning activities, e.g. Discussion board or Blogs (using tool links), that are organised with a structure that complements the delivery of the learning, e.g. by topic, week, or activity.
Example menu items could include:
You can also create menu items for centrally provided or general resources: e.g. past exam papers, glossary of terms, useful websites, etc.
|Learning Materials||Content Area
To contain course materials e.g. lecture notes, seminar materials, handouts, pre- or post-lecture activities
Create folders within this area to aid navigation, and/or create additional content areas in this section of the menu.
|Reading List||Tool Link: Reading List
Required item to give students access to the relevant online reading list.
It provides a link to the relevant Talis Aspire reading list for the module.
This link needs to be configured by a course Instructor in order to work correctly for students – refer to Online reading lists: a guide for Academic staff.
|YuJa||Replaced Microsoft Stream in courses from 2022/23 onwards.
Content area as described above will appear on all Blackboard courses which represent one or more RISIS modules; on other courses the YuJa area will be blank.
Required item for all courses making use of YuJa.
|Place information about assessments in the third section, including links for students to submit electronically and/or take online tests.
This could also include information about non-electronic assessment requirements.
Required item to contain Turnitin and/or Blackboard Assignment submission points created for summative assessment.
Include information about the submission requirements, assessment criteria and assignment briefs.
|My Marks and Feedback||Tool link: My Grades
Required item to give students access to marks and feedback recorded and released through the Grade Centre for summative and formative assignments or tests.
More information: Adding the ‘My Marks’ tool to the course menu
|Place general academic support details relevant to module in the final section.|
|Tool Link: Email
Staff and students can contact each other via the Blackboard course.
|Help for students||Web Link
This links to the University Student Blackboard Help site.