Organizing Information in a Blackboard Course

    Using the course syllabus as a guide, the instructor can segment or 'chunk' the course into manageable sections. Course content can be presented in distinct folders, Learning Modules or Lesson Plans. Content can be organized by dates or by themes. Several navigational and organization features are provided by Blackboard. This guide briefly points out the basics for the following features:

    • Left side Course Menu navigation
    • Course Content
    • Folders
    • Learning Modules
    • Lesson Plans

    Left side Course Menu navigation

    A default course shell is created for every course in Blackboard. The shell includes a standard navigation menu in the left column.

    default course shell menu

    The Course Menu is the access point for all course content. Instructors can easily change this navigation menu to suit their needs.  

    Several Blackboard tools are automatically added to the Course Menu like Discussion Board and My Grades.

    TIP: Create an uncluttered course menu to maintain efficient navigation for your users, and try to limit the number of links included in the Course Menu. Use content areas to hold related items and give your course organization and structure.

    Course Content

    Content is any course material added to a course (e.g. courses notes, presentations, video, audio files, weblinks, etc.) One or many content items can be placed in a folder, a Learning Module or Lesson Plan.

    If content items are placed one after the other in a folder, they will display on one page. A line will separate each item on the page.

    For example, this page shows course content for Unit 1 and includes information items, a weblink and an assignment all on one page.

    list of items in folder


    Folders are used to organize course materials. Instructors can create series of folders for each unit, chapter, week or by topic.

    Once a folder is created, courses materials and additional sub-folders may be added to it. Any of the Content types available in Blackboard's content area may be added to a folder.

    For example, this is the first page a student sees in the Course Content section. Unit folders or Learning Modules have been created to hold chapter lessons. Students click on the underlined link to open a folder or module.

    Course content opens to folders

    TIP: Before adding any course content, create a series of folders to serve as an outline of the course. Briefly describe the contents of each folder so students know what will be found inside the folder.

    Learning Module

    A Learning Module is a Blackboard tool that helps organize course content into discrete units. Any Blackboard tool, item, file, assignment, test or discussion board can be added to a Learning Module.

    TIP: A Learning Module automatically creates a Table of Contents for all items added to the module. The viewing of content can be set so students must view content sequentially or set to permit users to view the content in any order.

    Watch: How to add Content to a Learning Module

    example of learning module

    Lesson Plan

    A Lesson Plan is a Blackboard content type that combines information about the lesson itself with the curriculum resources used to teach it. Default Lesson Plan sections include the instructional level, grade level, goals, and subject area of the lesson. Additional sections an be added to the Lesson Plan, arranged to appear in any order, hidden for instructor use only or optionally displayed to students.

    Any Blackboard tool, item, file, assignments, test or discussion board can be added to a Lesson Plan.

    Build Lesson Plan

    Example of a Lesson Plan

    lesson plan view

    TIP: a Lesson Plan allows for extra instructor information to be stored with the curriculum content. The extra instructor information does not need to be shared with students. A Lesson Plan does NOT automatically create a Table of Contents or allow for enforcement of sequential viewing.

    Watch: How to create a Lesson Plan

    Other useful links:

    Blackboard Exemplary Course Rubric

    Creating Content in Blackboard - Blackboard Help: Create Content