Course Design Best Practices

The “usability” of a website refers to how easy a site is to use for the people visiting it. While Blackboard presents a layout and template that you as the instructor can’t change much, there are many aspects of your course usability that are well within your control. Whether you just use Blackboard to deliver course readings to your students, or are teaching a partially or fully online course, the issue of how easy it is for students to find and access what they need inside  your course shell is an extremely important one.

Following this Course Usability Best Practices checklist can help ensure that your course is organized, useful and intuitive for students. The procedures for carrying out all of the recommendations on the checklist are demonstrated and elaborated on in the following series of short videos:


(Video 1) Usability: Introduction


Note: Accessibility issues are currently covered in the Faculty Knowledge Base in both Blackboard and Panopto topic areas. In addition, the Teaching Center offers a useful accessibility resource page, containing information on the legal ramifications of accessibility, as well as best practices for creating courses–both online and off–that meet key accessibility requirements.


(Video 2) Making Your Content Findable


(Video 3) Maximizing Course Usability


(Video 4) Getting Valuable Information to Your Students