Quick Tips for Designing & Teaching in Learn


Blackboard & UNM Help for Learn 9.1

Topic Blackboard UNM Online
All Topics Frequently asked questions by faculty

Course Components
Syllabus Resources
Best Practices: Attaching Files
Creating Content
Editing with the Content Editor
Discussions, Blogs, Journals & Wikis

Getting Started - things that will help you begin working on your course.
Starting from Scratch in Learn

Building your course
Tips, descriptions and instructions for creating and editing your course.


Tests, Surveys and Pools
.. Showing Feedback
.. Resolving Student Issues with Tests
.. Video - Creating a Test
.. Video - Item Analysis
.. Grading Tests

.. Grading Papers Online   Video

Grading Discussions

Video - Rubrics for Grading
Grade Center

About Giving Extra Credit

Assessments Tips, descriptions and instructions for Tests, Assignments and the Self and Peer Assessment tool.

Course Management

Student Performance
Retention Center    Video
Getting Notifications
Group Management

Controlling Release of Content

All Course Management

Be sure "Edit mode" button in the upper right is green/ set to "On" in order to see the Build, Assessments & Tools tabs

Supported Browsers

Make sure you are using software that is compatible with Learn: http://online.unm.edu/help/learn/support/browsers/

The default Entry Point (home page)

The default entry point for your course out of the box is the "Course Dashboard". If you remove or hide that page, the entry point will change to the next visible page. If there is nothing on the Course Information page, it will be hidden. The next visible page will be "How to Use Learn", which will cause your course menu to be hidden from you. How to recover if you cannot see the course menu as a result of an external page as entry point:

  1. Click the icon in the upper left corner that looks like a stack of pages
  2. That will bring up the course menu in a separate window
  3. Scroll way down and click Customization, then Teaching Style
  4. Look for the menu to select a different course menu item; if you have no options, you must either add content to an existing hidden page or use the plus (+) sign at the top of the menu to add something that will be visible immediately, even temporarily, such as Announcements or the Calendar. If you choose "Content Area", you will still have to add content to that page.

If you would rather have a different entry point

Go to Course Management ==> Customization ==> Teaching Style and choose the entry point from the menu. Test what the students see with the "Student View" button in the upper right corner.


Important Tips for the different types of content

Building to Support Student Success

  1. Use the Course Menu
    • The Learn Course Menu is customizable; links can be in any order you like, named to match your syllabus, and dividers can separate parts of the menu.
    • Having good navigation should reduce emails and conversations about where to find things in your course.
    • Add Content Areas using the plus sign that represent major parts of your course, such as weekly content, projects, group work
  2. Use the Item tool
    • You can place text any where on a content page, to present information immediately without forcing students to open a document for instruction.
    • Combining text with links to course elements will be of huge help to most students.
  3. Use Discussion Forums or Blogs
    • Provide either space to continue a powerful conversation, or to allow students to post research a topic from your campus class to keep them engaged until the next class meeting.
    • Set the forum or blog up to allow subscription and tell your students about the option; you all can receive postings by email for timely responses
  4. Organize your content with folders
    • Be consistent; if you want your students to go into the course regularly, resist the temptation to send them documents by email. Force them to go to the course for everything you can.
    • Make your content area and folder structure simple, so you can get things done quickly.
    • Hide links that you are still working on
  5. Have a large number of readings?
    • Attach a folder in your content collection to an item for a week or a topic. Students will see the documents in alphabetical order and will be able to download all as a zip file or individually. This lets you arrange your documents in the context of other elements for the week (or topic - whatever organization you have).

Ideas to facilitate instruction

  1. Using Rubrics for assignment grading, class participation or anything you can define within the structure of a rubric.
    • You can use points, a point range, percentage or just use the tool to create a chart for performance criteria.
  2. Use tests to help the students study, especially if you have a test bank from a publisher.
    • You can draw questions randomly from a pool, allow them to take the test more than once with a new set of questions each time.
    • Record a score for their feedback whether you want to include it in the grade center or not.
    • If you want to grade it, one way would be to allow multiple attempts and record the average grade to encourage having read the course material.
  3. Lecture or assignment materials
    • Put handouts online to reduce requests for copies
    • Uploading materials in advance of a lecture or class meeting about an upcoming project could help students be prepared with questions.
  4. Use a wiki for collaborative learning. Learn has a built-in wiki tool that allows you to create multiple wikis for individual or group work. You will be able to grade individual contributions; in fact, you will be able to see when and to what extent individual students contributed.

Important Tips for managing students, the grade center, communicating

Ideas to support student success

  1. Use Discussion Forums or Blogs for general course communications
    • Provide a means where students can ask questions or comment on course content or activities, for the whole class to share.
    • Set the forum or blog up to allow subscription and tell your students about the option; you all can receive postings by email. If you are able to answer a question quickly it might save another student from wondering or worrying.
  2. Global Navigation
    • Show your students this tool, it may help them to quickly check if there are critical additions to the course.
  3. Use the Announcement tool to keep in touch with students
    • You can add a link to anything in the course to your announcement as a reminder and to give students a quick link to the work that needs to be done.
  4. UNM Preferred Email. Many of the tools in the course forward email messages to the students UNM email account.
    • Encourage students to go to http://dss.unm.edu to make sure they are getting course email in the account they regularly check.
  5. Use the Grade Center and My Grades to keep from taking up valuable classroom time distributing grades.