Best Practice: First News Item
The folks at Brightspace were kind enough to provide us with a Best Practices users’ guide, from which the below appears on page 17 (The Basics: D2LBrightspace Mechanics and Best Practices. Normandale Community College, 2015:17)
First News Item
The first thing new students will see is your Course Homepage, and the first News item. Among other things, that first News item should direct students specifically to a “Read Me First” file in the Content area. Providing a link in the first News item to it is also good – it avoids the phrase, Go to the Materials tab in the upper banner, click on Content, and then click on “Read Me First”, or something like that. This is fine, but a link is a quicker means to the goal of providing definite, easy directions. The first News item should contain, AT A MINIMUM:
· Instructor Name, Course Name, Formal Course Number
· Instructor Contact Methods and Hours (phone, email, and office location. State when you will/will not be available).
· Instructions to “Start Here” or “Read me First”
· Online office hours (provided via group chat) one hour/week/three credit course.
· Show some personality! Enter your credentials, a photo, teaching philosophy, etc.
· The classroom delivered courses should have a notice that the syllabus is posted and other directions as to how you intend to use the course.
Ongoing News Items
· Current / newest News item goes on top, keep old ones below for reference.
· Always repeat contact info, office hours in current News Item (copy and paste), unless you have an Instructor Contact widget on your homepage.
· Keep News items short, bulleted, include a graphic, a link, etc. Students won’t read long items.
· Try to change News items each week. More frequently is even better! Use it to have a conversation with your students like you would in class.
· If you use the News area to direct students to assignments for the week, do it for each week of the course, to be consistent. Students will grow to depend on it.
· Make them relevant – insert links to current “real” news items pertaining to your course, or a video.
· Some people use the news area to display the content. Links that direct them to the content from the News is an option often used. In the Content area, you may create lesson modules that have links to all your content.