Course organization is a critical aspect of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and accessibility assuring effective and more inclusive teaching and learning for everyone. The transition from Blackboard to D2L Brightspace doesn’t only entail technical adjustment but also scaffolding and sequencing of your existing course materials. This will not only make the transition smoother but also provide an opportunity to reevaluate our course materials and improve the learning experience for your students.
As we prepare for our transition to D2L Brightspace, it is vital to consider not just the technical aspects of this change, but also the impact on our students’ learning experience. One key aspect of this is the organization of course materials. A well-structured, clutter-free course can significantly enhance students’ ability to navigate the course, find the resources they need, and focus on their learning.
How to De-clutter Your Course?
When course materials are logically organized and easy to find, students can spend less time searching for what they need and more time engaging with the content. This can lead to improved understanding, better retention of information, and higher levels of student engagement and satisfaction.
Decluttering involves removing unnecessary materials, such as outdated readings, unused discussion boards, or duplicate items. Please review some practical tips for decluttering.
- Review your course materials
Go through each item, file, assignment, discussion board, etc. in your course and ask yourself if it is necessary to keep it if it contributes to the learning objectives, and if students are using it.
- Archive essential but not currently relevant materials
If you have materials that are important but not currently being used, consider archiving them outside of the LMS; you can save them in your CUNY Dropbox account (link below). This keeps your course clutter-free while ensuring you still have access to these materials if needed in the future.
- Remove unnecessary materials
- Identify duplicate materials (e.g., readings, assignments, of-topic videos, old announcements).
- Back up any materials that you might need in the future before you start the removal process.
- Delete files that you don’t need.
- Organize remaining materials
Once you have decluttered, organize the remaining materials logically and consistently. This could involve grouping related materials, using clear and consistent naming conventions, or creating a logical flow of materials that aligns with your course schedule or syllabus. More on this in the next unit.
Simunich, B., Robins, D. B., & Kelly, V. (2015). The Impact of Findability on Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality. American Journal of Distance Education, 29(3), 174-185. (https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2015.1058604)