Authored by Dr Paul Woodfield, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law & Sally Eberhard, altLAB

The Challenge

Paul Woodfield teaches a first year Entrepreneurship and Innovation paper, with 100 students. Online learning was quite new to most students and Paul was concerned that moving to remote learning and teaching could have been a challenge for his learners and wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Solutions and Advice

To support students learning online, Paul made some careful considerations on how he uses Blackboard.

Create a clear site structure

  • The course menu was limited to essential links with purposeful names. This way students could find what they needed easily.
  • Course content was organised by weeks. Within each weekly folder, students will find:
    • a list of content and time required to work through each material;
    • a weekly to do list, including what they should be working on for the upcoming assessments;
    • a short overview video from Paul to connect with the students;
    • all the learning materials for the week.

Provide additional information to support students

  • Paul included information about how his paper runs online, a typical weekly schedule, a timetable and other guidelines along with the study guide itself, all accessible from the “Revised Study Guide and instructions” content area.
  • Collated student support materials, such as the modules from re-orientation, IT support, Counselling and mental health, AUT announcements re COVID-19 and Academic integrity module, all under the “Support” area for students.

Use focused communication

  • Paul sent only one announcement a week, including a summary of Q&A from students this week. This way students were not overwhelmed by too many messages.
  • Students were given a deadline for queries. Depending on the nature of the query it may have been compiled as a FAQ for the weekly Blackboard announcement.
  • A predictable schedule of communication assisted students with time management and routine.

Want to find out more?

AUT has developed a set of Baseline Practices for Blackboard sites.