Setting Up Your Course

Setting Up Your Course








Setting Up Your Blackboard Course
A course shell will be automatically created for each course you teach prior to the start of
each semester. You will find it on Western’s Blackboard site at
http://blackboard.westerntc.edu. A course shell is just an empty Blackboard course with a
few navigational links that are automatically added (such as Announcements, Tools and
Help) but no content. Your job will be to customize the look and feel of each course, add
content and tools and make it available to students.
If you have an existing course file (an exported file from a course you backed up
previously) see Course Management >Manage Course Files for instructions in importing a
zip file.

Navigational Structure
Set up navigational links that will appear in the course menu. You may create links to
content areas (such as “Course Documents” or “Assignments”), modules or individual tools
(such as wikis, journals or discussions) or you may choose to include a web link or a link to
another area within your course.
When the student clicks on a link they will be brought to a page which will contain content
pertinent to that menu item. For example “Assignments” may link to a page of Assignments
arranged in folders by week or unit.
Consider including at least the following:
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Announcements
Course Documents (a place for course policies, syllabus, etc.)
Course Materials (notes, videos, handouts, etc.)
Assignments
Contacts (your name, office phone, e-mail, office location, office hours)
Tools (links to a page of interactive tools such as wikis, journals and discussions; My
Grades, e-mail, etc.)
Help (link to Blackboard student help)

Set Up the Navigation Menu
1. Click the “+” on the navigation menu and select a link type for your menu item

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2. Name it, check Available to Users and click Submit. This adds the link to the menu.

3. Selecting Tool Link brings up a menu of tools to select from. This will bring students
directly to the appropriate tools page when clicked.

4. Rename, hide or delete links by clicking on the arrow next to the link title
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5. Resequence links by clicking the two way arrow to the left of the link title and dragging
the menu item into place or by using the reordering arrows at the top of the
navigational menu

Customize the Course Appearance
1. In the Control Panel, Select Customization then Teaching Style

2. Select a Course Structure. You may choose to Use Existing, or make a selection from
Focus on Communication, Focus on Content, Focus on Systems (Bb Learn Default) or
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Focus on Time. Each of these adds a unique layout that does not change your existing
course navigation, only adds to it.
3. Select a course entry point – the first page users will land on when they open the
course. Choose from the list of navigation menu titles you just created.

4. Select a course theme if desired for a visual theme that will be applied to the course.
Themes include topic areas, holidays and various multicolored, patterned backgrounds.
5. Select a menu style (buttons or text) and color.

6. Set Default view within the content areas –assignments, assessments and interactive
tools have unique icons associated with them to help students identify them more
readily. You may choose to include them or not.

7. You may choose to include a course banner that you have created outside of
Blackboard. This will be displayed on the course entry page only. Be aware of how
much space your banner takes up on the screen so that it does not interfere with the
content.
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Make Tools Available
Tools include interactive course tools such as wikis, journals, blogs and discussions; e-mail
and course messages; announcements and grade center.
1. Select which tools will be available and to which users by clicking Customization then
Tool Availability in the Control Panel.

2. A circle with a diagonal line means the tools is not available. A check mark in the
“Available” column means the tool is available in the course and to all users. A check
mark in the “Available in the Content Area” column means you can place a link to the
tool in any content area of your course. Make appropriate selections.
3. Click Submit.

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Next Steps
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For information on adding content and tools to your course see Adding Content >
Assignments, Using Tests, Surveys and Pools, Interactive Tools and Media
For information on controlling availability of content see Date Management

Additional Resources: Blackboard Help https://help.blackboard.com

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