Based on your feedback, I have made the following changes to Blackboard:
- Activated and using Announcements
- Added a page with Announcements and To Dos – you may need to customize your own settings for that one, but you should be able to see at a glance what’s new and what’s due
- Added an RSS feed from the course blog to the Blackboard home page – the latest 5 posts will be displayed there. Unfortunately, there’s no way for me to add that feed to the “what’s new” box.
Also, I am in the process of changing the course grading from 100 to 1000 points. Hey, if it makes you feel better, why not… it doesn’t make a difference to me. But thank you for making the point. I had never considered that it would make a difference to students!
I am not, however, deleting blog posts from previous years. There are people who still need to look back to those, and made me promise I would keep them. The other reason is that there is a benefit in building a cumulative body of knowledge on the course blog. It’s a trade-off. I will look into seeing how to improve its usability so information is easier to find.
I will tell you more about the plans I have to restructure the course for future semesters. Your comments align very well with the issues I had perceived. I am hoping to get a room like the one in the image below and spend most class and lab time with students working in small groups and minimal lecture. I am thinking of splitting the time so that class is immediately followed by lab and students spend two 2-hour sessions / week in CGT 256.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that your feedback is much appreciated and taken seriously. I am implementing the easy fixes this semester, and am building on the user research you provided to make bigger changes for the future.