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Course Structure: Lab Format

Lab format courses increase student involvement, allowing participants to develop a functional understanding of the course content.

Typical lab-based courses begin with the presentation of lectures, followed by reading and research. Next, students use lab time to reinforce the concepts and skills learned. In a lab, they can evaluate evidence, identify problems and questions, gain experience, draw conclusions, and make decisions based on observations.

An instructor may demonstrate the lab activities, individual students may perform their own activities, or groups can collaborate on lab work.

This course structure works well for a variety of subjects, such as science, computer skills, foreign language, engineering, agriculture, and health sciences. This structure is also ideal for self-paced courses where tutorials and presentations are used to prepare students for lab work.

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You can print this topic and refer to it while you build your course. You might also want to print Using Course Structures to use as a reference.

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Using Your Course Menu

The following table describes the content areas and course tools included in the Lab Format course structure.

Content Areas and Course Tools in the Activity Lab Format Structure
Content Type Description
Lab Supplies Lab Supplies is your central instructor-designed content area. To provide your students with an easy-to-navigate and familiar environment, you can create folders for each lab or chapter. Include similar content, such as links to readings, lab instructions and materials lists, assignments, and tests.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area.

Resources In the Resources content area, you can share additional material so interested students can learn more. Help students expand on the information presented by directing them to specific web articles and recommended reading. Students can also use these resources to find topics for projects or papers.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area.

Hypotheses You can use the Hypotheses discussion forums for formal discussions of lab activities. Before a lab or experiment, ask students to discuss their predictions or questions they hope to answer. After the lab or experiment is complete, have them compare their experiences and results. Require student participation and encourage conversation by making the discussions graded.

To learn more, see About the Discussion Board.

My Conclusions After each lab or experiment, ask students to report their results. Use the My Conclusions blogs as a more formal space than discussions, where students can narrate their process and outcomes. Encourage students to comment on each other's blogs to provide feedback and different experiences.

To learn more, see Blogs.

Lab Groups For labs or experiments that lend themselves to teamwork, create private workspaces in Lab Groups for smaller sections of students. You can change the composition and size of groups throughout the course, and vary the tools available to the group depending on each activity's goals.

To learn more, see Course Groups and Tools and Creating Groups.

Glossary Use the Glossary tool to build or upload a list of commonly-used course terminology for students to refer to. You can create the entire glossary at the beginning of your course or add to it with each chapter or lab.

To learn more, see Glossary.

New and Due The customizable module page provides students with a single place to go for an overview of current course information such as Announcements, My Calendar, To Do, What's New, and My Tasks.

To learn more, see Notifications Dashboard Display.

Methods In the Methods content area, provide materials that students can access throughout the semester. Include a syllabus or other basics, such as grading policies, textbook information, lab guidelines, required supplies and equipment, and important dates.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area.

Leader Info Create profiles for yourself, other instructors, teaching assistants, and guest lecturers participating in your course in Leader Info. Include contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, office hours, and location.

To learn more, see Contacts.

My Grades Students can see the status of gradable items such as assignments, tests, and discussion posts on their My Grades pages.

To learn more, see My Grades.

Tools Give students access to all available course tools on a single page. Add commonly used course tools to the course menu for easy access.

To learn more, see Managing Tool Availability.

Help Blackboard Help contains searchable how-to information. Students in need of additional assistance should contact the school's computing help desk.

Customize the course structure by renaming, removing, hiding, or adding content areas and links to tools.