Dr. Steve Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Adult Education
Department of Higher, Adult and Counselor Education
I spend a good deal of time setting up my courses, but feedback that I get from my students on SOIS surveys indicates that they appreciate the way my courses are organized and the ease with which they can navigate through them. There are a few rules I follow when setting up my courses for a semester. The use of the color options in Blackboard helps me keep track of my courses. I choose a different color scheme for each course, and set up the banner, tabs, and headings using that color scheme. I find that when teaching multiple courses during a semester, keeping things color coded helps me keep each course separate from the others. I like the fact that Blackboard offers different style options for buttons (or text). I use Banner Fans (www.bannerfans.com) to develop banners for each course, as well – it’s very easy to import them to each Blackboard course site.
I typically keep the order of the buttons on the left side of the screen consistent, as students in our program take multiple courses from me, and I think that makes it easier for them to find things. I use some standard buttons – Course Information, Course Documents, Discussion Board, Communication, etc… and keep the same information in each section from class to class (for example, my syllabus can always be found in Course Information; all supplementary readings are always in Course Documents).
I think course organization and style is important. It’s the first thing students notice when they log into my courses, and I want their first impressions to be positive.
Department of Kinesiology
Thank you so much for everything you guys do! It is amazing the level of support I (and I believe everybody here at ECU) am receiving. It is absolutely great!
Dr. Sandra Seay, Associate Professor
Department of Higher, Adult, and Counselor Education
Over the years I have moved from being hesitant to make my Blackboard course sites available to being an eager experimenter with the many instructional tools available through Blackboard. My willingness to experiment is directly related to the ever-present support I receive from Matt Long and Cindy Bowers. I have turned to Matt and Cindy when I mistakenly merged class sections and forgot how to make a test available. They are also my first-responders when students panic because they cannot access a final exam. Both Matt and Cindy are excellent workshop presenters who always have the time to answer questions from all attendees. Their how-to-videos and email reminders of upcoming workshops keep me informed of ways to address the distance education professional development requirement for faculty. My reason for using instructional tools is to enhance student learning. Both Matt and Cindy have that same sensibility and will work with faculty to hone instruction using technology.
Dr. Carl Huber, Instructor
Many times over the last ten years I have called Matt, and recently Cynthia, for help on how to do various things on Blackboard. Every time the response I got was quick, effective, and efficient — it does not get better than this. Overall, the level of service they both provide is excellent! A good model for all at ECU.
Diane Rodman, Teaching Instructor
Department of English
I teach DE courses and have for a number of years. I am very comfortable with Blackboard, but even so, there are times when I have to send out an SOS to Blackboard Support Staff. They always answer the call and stick with me by phone until the problem is solved. I have worked most often with Cindy Bowers over the years, and I can’t say enough good things about her. Not only does Cindy get me out of tight situations, but also she is willing to work with my students directly and diagnose their issues, even if the “problem with Blackboard” turns out to be an unconnected Ethernet cord. Cindy is ever patient and cheerful, and we actually have quite a bit of fun getting to the bottom of things; actually, I should say I have fun while she gets to the bottom of things. Truthfully, I’ve not stumped her yet, and I have sure called her with some doozies. Matt and Allen are great, too, and their student workers are good pinch hitters. In short, I am very grateful that we have such a supportive Support Staff. Knowing they have my back makes all the difference in the world to me as a DE instructor. Thanks, you guys!
Dr. Phyllis Broughton, Teaching Instructor
Adult Education Department (HACE – Higher, Adult, and Counselor Education) College of Education
Just a note to say I really learned a lot this morning from your Bb Updates workshop. Thanks also for helping me with specific questions. I appreciate all that you do to help us!