bCourses

Check for Broken Links with the Course Link Validator

Check for Broken Links with the Course Link Validator

bCourses has a built-in tool that checks for broken links within your course site. This is especially helpful if you've imported content from a previous course that references material that may have changed or is no longer available. This easy-to-use automated tool helps streamline the quality assurance process.

The Course Link Validator searches through your course content and returns invalid or unresponsive external links that may be tricky to track down manually. This includes deleted links, or links...

Quality Assurance (QA)

Quality Assurance (QA)

Quality Assurance (QA) is the process of checking the technical components of your course site before students have access to it. This process includes confirming all links function correctly, materials are fully accessible, and materials you'd like students to access are published, or conversely, materials you'd like hidden until a certain date are not visible to students. There are two key tools available in bCourses that help streamline QA: Course Link Validator and Ally Instructor Report. Additionally, DLS has developed a bCourses...

Digital Pedagogy Resources

Digital Pedagogy Resources

The DLS Core Template will provide you with a structure to develop a pedagogically sound remote or online course. You can use the DLS Core Template in conjunction with the following resources, which highlight how to implement best practices in digital pedagogy. Though presented in the context of a remote course, these practices are useful for developing courses in any format.

Faculty...

Organize Materials in Your Course Site Using Modules

Organize Materials in Your Course Site Using Modules

Creating a pattern of weekly tasks allows students to plan ahead and stay organized in your course. As you plan discussions, quizzes, and assignments, make sure they follow a pattern. Indicate on your syllabus or course page any departure from the established patterns. Consistency in course design is a component of the universal instructional design to meet the needs of all learners (Palmer et al., 2003). In addition to the bCourses Pages layout, provide organization through a modular learning pathway. bCourses Modules...

Include Beginning of the Course and Mid-Semester Surveys

Include Beginning of the Course and Mid-Semester Surveys

One way to learn more about your students and their experience in your course is to conduct surveys at the beginning and mid-semester points. A survey at the beginning of the course will allow you to get a better understanding of the challenges students may face in a remote instruction course, as well as provides an opportunity to learn more about each student on an individual basis. A mid-semester survey provides an opportunity to find out what’s working and what’s not in your course, and then make adjustments where needed. It...

Engage Students Through Discussion

Engage Students Through Discussion

Learning requires a social component, and much of what is enjoyable about teaching and learning is wrapped up in the exchange of ideas. This is true for in-person and remote instruction. In an in-person class, methods for creating an environment for engaging students can seem more intuitive, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to also create this environment in a remote instruction course, too. So, the first thing you might consider is how to relay and share in that sense of camaraderie in your remote instruction class. Discussion...

Include Knowledge Checks and Formative Assessments

Include Knowledge Checks and Formative Assessments

When you’re teaching in person, you may gauge student understanding of topics based on students’ facial expressions during lectures, whether or not they raise their hands and ask questions during discussions, and other non-verbal reactions to course material. When teaching remotely, you may not have the opportunity to pause mid-lecture and ask quick questions to ensure that students are understanding the content as you go, so it is imperative that you incorporate knowledge checks and other formative assessments to monitor and...

Add Reading Assignments to Weekly Landing Pages

Add Reading Assignments to Weekly Landing Pages

Whether you provide reading material as PDFs in bCourses, link out to articles, or assign chapters from books or eReaders, make sure to consistently describe them on the weekly landing page. If some of your readings are optional, specify this on the landing page. Consider creating a separate section in the page layout for additional resources to challenge students. Use a naming convention for your files that includes the week, title, and your name for students to distinguish it from other courses after they have downloaded it to their...

Add Lectures to Weekly Landing Pages

Add Lectures to Weekly Landing Pages

When adding lectures, ensure consistency in your layout so that students can follow a pattern; make a statement when you deviate from it. This will increase ‘findability’ and reduce time lost on tasks and frustration levels (Simunich, et al., 2012). bCourses Pages can be used to create a pattern layout for your units of study.

In the Core Template

Week 1 is set up in the page format in the template. You are welcome to edit the layout to create your pattern and designated space for your lectures.

How to Add Your...

Update the Homepage Navigation Bar

Update the Homepage Navigation Bar

Including a navigation bar on the homepage of your course will ensure that students have access to all of the content in an easy-to-navigate way. They won’t have to waste time digging through files or scrolling through lists and are less likely to get lost searching for key resources when these items are included in the navigation bar.

In the Core Template

The course homepage includes a navigation bar at the top where students can easily access different weeks in the course. Once your weekly landing pages are ready, you’ll link to them using this...