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Course Structure: Science-Focused

You can use the science-focused course structure to present information and lab materials to students and provide areas for reflection and collaboration.

Use the Units content area to organize your course by lab, project, or lecture. Incorporating relevant projects, experiments, or lab activities encourages students to be active participants in their learning, allowing them to gain deeper knowledge of the course content.

Students can record their ideas, research, and solutions in the Experiment Journal, discuss their findings in Discoveries, or collaborate in the Lab Wiki.

This course structure works well for science courses, especially those that include hands-on activities.

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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 Science-Focused course structure.

Content Areas and Course Tools in the Science-Focused Course Structure
Content Type Description
Units Units 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 unit. Include similar content, such as objectives, readings, instructions, assignments, lectures, and tests.

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

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

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

Discoveries You can use the Discoveries discussion forums for formal assignments, such as posing questions related to the units, and for informal interactions, where students ask and respond to each other's questions. You can create gradable discussion forums and threads to assess students' participation and knowledge. After each unit or lab, ask reflective questions to invoke further exploration. What were your observations? Which scientific theory does this support and why? How would you approach solving this problem?

To learn more, see Discussion Board.

Lab Wiki In the Lab Wiki, students can share and collaborate on content. As they create and edit pages together, they develop interpersonal skills and the capacity to solve problems in a team environment. Provide students with a problem, and ask them to submit theories and solutions. While exploring the problem and sorting out relevant facts, they can help each other develop logical conclusions. In the wiki's instructions, provide guidelines for participation and grading. Also, consider assigning a lead scientist to keep everyone on track, divide tasks as needed, and promote participation.

To learn more, see Wikis.

Experiment Journal In their Experiment Journal entries, ask students to reflect on the experiments, units, and their experiences in the wiki. Because this is private communication with you, students can receive feedback about their writing before they post it for the class to view or before submitting assignments. As you communicate with and get to know your students individually, they may feel more at ease in the course discussion forums and wiki.

To learn more, see Journals.

Live Chat Use the text-based Live Chat feature for additional class meetings, real-time interaction in asynchronous courses, experiment roundups, and virtual office hours. As thought-provoking discussions arise, schedule chat sessions so students can continue the conversations in real-time. Follow up the session with discussion questions that help students expand on the solutions and opinions offered.

To learn more, see Chat.

Terminology Terminology links to the glossary tool where you can build or upload a list of commonly-used scientific terminology for students to refer to.

To learn more, see Glossary.

Methods In the Methods content area, provide materials that students can access throughout the semester. Include a syllabus or other basics, such as how labs are graded, textbook information, an experiment schedule, a list of lab supplies, 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 Instructor Create profiles for yourself, other instructors, teaching assistants, and guest lecturers participating in your course in My Instructor. Include contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers, office hours, and location.

To learn more, see Contacts.

Updates The customizable module page provides students with 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.

My Grades Students can see the status of gradable items such as lab assignments, tests, wiki contributions, 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 institution's computing help desk.

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