Skip to main content
Blackboard Help

Course Structure: Social Learning

Social learning is based on the concept that students learn new information and behaviors by observing and interacting with peers.

This course structure enables students to build knowledge together in Blogs and Wikis. As students create course content, it is important to motivate them to contribute and model appropriate behavior. Utilize The Hub to share readings, assignments, and instructions, and Social Circles to create communities of learners.

This course structure works well for courses and career paths that require cooperative work, such as communication, advertising, and business.

Ready to Get Started?

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.

What Does the Course Menu Look Like?

Image illustrating associated text

Using Your Course Menu

The following table describes the content areas and course tools included in the Social Learning course structure.

Content Areas and Course Tools in the Social Activity Course Structure
Content Type Description
The Hub The Hub is your central instructor-designed content area. Create folders divided by topic and include all materials that students need to develop a basic knowledge of the topic. These readings, web resources, and assignments provide a launching pad for course discussions.

To learn more, see Creating Content in a Course Area

Wikis You can create starter pages in Wikis and assign students to flesh out a particular area. As they create and edit pages together, they develop interpersonal skills and the capacity to solve problems in a team environment. If too much consensus or roadblocks occur, assign duties to students so they can take on new perspectives as they contribute.

To learn more, see Wikis.

What Do You Think? The What Do You Think? discussion forums are ideal for student-led conversations, where the leader changes weekly. You provide the topics as well as modeling and guidance, but allow the students to find resources and reach their own conclusions. You can also create gradable discussion forums and threads to assess students' participation and knowledge.

To learn more, see About the Discussion Board.

Blogs In Blogs, you can provide relevant scenarios to prompt students to share unique insights in their entries. Peer commenting further challenges and develops the learner’s ideas. Students read each other’s entries and gain new perspectives.

To learn more, see Blogs.

Social Circles Social Circles links to the groups tool where you can create private, collaborative workspaces for small groups of students to form learning communities. For example, group members can specialize in one aspect of the group’s assigned topic and teach it to other members of their group. You can change the composition and size of groups for new projects throughout the semester.

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

Let's Talk Use the live, text-based chat feature in Let's Talk for additional class meetings, real-time interaction in asynchronous courses, and virtual office hours. Offer students sessions where the class meets to get to know each other and keep the agenda light. After students are comfortable communicating with you and their classmates in this environment, use chat for more academic purposes. As thought-provoking questions arise in the discussion forums or intriguing arguments are presented in the blogs, schedule chat sessions so students can continue the conversations live. Follow up the session with discussion questions that help students expand on the solutions and opinions offered.

To learn more, see Chat.

New Today The customizable New Today module page includes modules providing students with a single place to go for an overview of current course information. Modules include Announcements, My Calendar, To Do, What's New, and My Tasks.

To learn more, see Notifications Dashboard Display.

Course Basics In the Course Basics content area, provide materials that students can access throughout the semester. Include a syllabus or other basics, such as grading policies, textbook information, and important dates. If chat sessions are mandatory, be sure to list dates so students can adjust their schedules.

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

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

To learn more, see Contacts.

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.

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.

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.