Academic Policies, Sample Content, and Additional Information


Syllabus/Course Information
Academic Policies
Predictable Course Design
Course Modules

Here is some material that might be useful when starting a new course in Blackboard. Some of these items may not be required, but it is recommended that you take a moment to look over this list of items.

Syllabus/Course Information

The “Syllabus” or “Course Information” area in CourseWeb provides students with important information about the course, such as class meeting times and locations, course description, goals, requirements, grading, etc.

It is suggested that you attach a syllabus as a Word document to make it easier for students to print.

To help you confirm that you have included all of the needed information, the following documents are included here.

If you would like to meet with an instructional design consultant to discuss your syllabus or any other component of your course, please contact

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Academic Policies

Academic Integrity

Students in this course will be expected to comply with the University of Pittsburgh’s Policy on Academic Integrity. Any student suspected of violating this obligation for any reason during the semester will be required to participate in the procedural process, initiated at the instructor level, as outlined in the University Guidelines on Academic Integrity. This may include, but is not limited to, the confiscation of the examination of any individual suspected of violating University Policy. Furthermore, no student may bring any unauthorized materials to an exam, including dictionaries and programmable calculators.

To learn more about Academic Integrity, visit the Academic Integrity Guide for an overview of the topic. For hands-on practice, complete the Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial.

Disability Services

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and Disability Resources and Services (DRS), 140 William Pitt Union, (412) 648-7890,, (412) 228-5347 for P3 ASL users, as early as possible in the term. DRS will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.


Blackboard is ADA Compliant and has fully implemented the final accessibility standards for electronic and information technology covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998. Please note that, due to the flexibility provided in this product, it is possible for some material to inadvertently fall outside of these guidelines.

Copyright Notice

These materials may be protected by copyright. United States copyright law, 17 USC section 101, et seq., in addition to University policy and procedures, prohibit unauthorized duplication or retransmission of course materials. See Library of Congress Copyright Office and the University Copyright Policy.

Statement on Classroom Recording

To ensure the free and open discussion of ideas, students may not record classroom lectures, discussion and/or activities without the advance written permission of the instructor, and any such recording properly approved in advance can be used solely for the student’s own private use.

See Regional Campus Policies (Word Document File) for information specific to your regional campus.

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Predictable Course Design

Students become frustrated not by course content but by jigsaw puzzle course design. Here are a few Predictable Course Design tips:

Make a course tour video for the first week.

  • Write a welcome message for the course with all instructor details.
  • Design your course by week (not module, unit, or chapter)
  • Create a weekly checklist of assignments your students must complete.
  • Repeat vital information, like deadlines and course policies, in more than one place.
  • Use a short course menu and divide content into weekly folders with a predicable structure.
  • Create a course orientation menu item that has information on how to use Blackboard and the tools (Wikis, Blogs, Discussion Boards, etc.) that you will use in the course.

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Course Modules

You can use this area to post instructional material. Many instructors create folders in this area that correspond to weekly modules. For a 15-week course, you would create 15 folders. Within each folder, you may wish to post learning objectives, guided reading questions, handouts, lectures notes, additional readings, exercises, and study guides.

Click on the Sample Course Module link to see an example of what a one-week module might contain. You may customize this module and its contents as you like. To create additional module folders, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Action Item Button to the right of the words, “Sample Course Module.”
  2. From the drop-down menu that appears, choose Copy.
  3. Browse to the destination folder.
  4. Click Submit to proceed.

To customize a course module, click on the Action Item Button to the right of its name and choose Edit.

To see how your changes will look to your students, toggle the Edit Mode switch off. The switch is located in the upper right hand corner of each Blackboard screen. Click it to toggle OFF and ON.

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