Online learning content

What can we do to make this better? 🤔
At the university I work for, we’re aiming to develop our digital education environment and expand the use of learning technologies to enhance the student experience, support high-level digital literacy, scale up our online and distance learning offerings, and increase the connectivity of our campuses and communities.
To do this we often use the virtual learning environment Blackboard to create and upload content, but there are times when Blackboard can appear a little limited in terms of what we can do. For example, what if we wanted to add some dynamic, interactive, and visually engaging content in order to keep the interest of the students, and give them a far better learning experience.

We could perhaps create a video, upload it to YouTube and then insert a link. Or how about upload a nice looking PowerPoint presentation, or share a link to a Padlet wall? Well, this is all a great start to creating great and interesting content, but if we’re simply inserting a hyperlink to the content then we’ll end up with something that quite frankly looks a little dull. At a push we could call this interactive as it does encourage the student to click on a link to view the content, but interactivity here is very limited.

Another problem with this is that when a student clicks on a link to an external resource such as a YouTube video, it takes them away from the Blackboard VLE, which can make distractions more likely (they could end up spending 20 minutes watching cat videos on YouTube for example).

Dynamic, Interactive, Visually Engaging 😃👍
So what can we do to make the content in our modules visually appealing, engaging, and interactive, and without taking our students away from Blackboard? Well we could embed content from other resources. So for example, instead of simply having a link to that YouTube video, how about embedding it into your page so that the actual video is displayed right inside in your Blackboard page. Not only does this look far better, the student is less likely to get distracted by other videos on YouTube, as they are remaining within Blackboard.

Another option, perhaps instead of simply uploading PowerPoint slides, you could embed the PowerPoint slides into your page so that display exactly as you had intended, complete with interactivity, rather than just a boring link. If you have access to Microsoft OneDrive and PowerPoint Online, this makes embedding documents such as Word and PowerPoint very easy.

So… I’ve put together a short countdown of the Top Ten things that you could embed into Blackboard, in order to make your content more dynamic, interactive, or visually interesting.

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