Blackboard: The default course menu for new modules

Default Blackboard Course Menu 2018Students 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, these are indicated as ‘Required item‘.




Suggested default menu structure for Blackboard courses

Menu item Description
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.

About Content Area

To contain the following information:

  • Link to module description located at:
  • Module/programme handbook
  • Aims and learning outcomes
  • Technology requirements
Staff Contacts Tool Link: Contacts

Add an entry for each member of staff teaching on the module/programme to include:

  • Contact details: email and/or telephone
  • Office location
  • Office hours
  • Link to UoR staff profile (optional)
  • Photo (optional)
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:

  • Information for Students
  • Module Convenor’s Commentary on the module evaluation
    The commentary should be uploaded and attached to this content item at the appropriate time.
  • Information for Staff
    This item is visible only to those enrolled on the course with a staff role. It explains the purpose of the area, and how to use it.
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:

  • Lecture notes
  • Resources
  • Skills

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.

Microsoft Stream Content Area: 

Required item to display a link and playlist to the videos connected to the module in MS Stream.

IMPORTANT: Do not delete this menu item or change the title of the menu heading. It is required to provide the technical integration between Stream and Blackboard. You can hide the menu link if you do not want students to see the video content in this way.

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.

Assessment Content Area

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.

Place general academic support details relevant to module in the final section.
Email 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.