Organising Content

A clear and consistent layout Blackboard area will ensure that students do not spend time and effort on finding things. Every new module will automatically inherit the Blackboard Template, however, existing modules need to choose the template for a new academic year.

Structure is key

  • Create folders for each topic/session
  • Don’t add content to a folder description as it doesn’t display on mobile devices
  • Have meaningful file names ie that match the title of the content
  • Provide context around content, not just a list of files – scaffold each piece
  • Add links to content within item ie where relevant don’t just attach a whole list of documents to an item as the meaning is lost especially if they are in a different order and have disconnected file names
  • Be present: use communication tools and Panopto to personalise content, participate in discussions (weave and summarise as required), make regular announcements remembering to tick the email box

Reading online is different from reading print materials. Typically web users scan the content looking for relevant words that match the information they are seeking. Most users scan the page, picking out keywords and sentences. Nielsen (2008) found that 79% of users scanned Web pages, they read only 20-28% of the words on the page.

You can check the readability of your content on websites such as Readability Formulas

You will want to use a technique called chunking. Chunking is nothing more than breaking your text into manageable sections for readability/usability. These techniques will help you to chunk your information and write visually:

  • Write short sentences.
  • Limit paragraphs to two-three sentences.
  • Use bulleted or numbered lists.
  • Use tables to make complex information easier to understand.
  • Use pictures, images, diagrams, or illustrations representative of the ideas expressed in the content.
  • Use headings and sub-headings.
  • Use white space, the line tool or <hr> in the HTML Source mode to separate chunks of information.