Start of Semester - Determine how the site will be used and communicate that to the students

There are many possible ways to use a Blackboard module site. It can simply be a place for students to access key administrative information (such as the module handbook and marks/feedback), or it can be an integral part of students' learning experience in the module. Of course, there are many options between these two extremes as well. It's up to the module leader and teaching team to decide what the purpose of this module site is and its relation to the module.

Once you have determined how the site will be used by staff and students, it is important to communicate this to students. Their expectations of an online experience will be determined by past modules they have taken and other online experiences, therefore what they expect may not match with the way you have decided to use the module site. If you communicate the purpose of the site and what they are expected to do, then this will help bridge the expectations gap. This communication is called a rationale and provides an overview of what you expect from students in their use of the site, as well as what they can expect from you. You can also use your rationale to explain the purpose of different areas in your site. There are many ways to communicate this to students, but we recommend making the rationale an item in the Module Documents area in your Blackboard site.

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