The implementation of the Threshold Standards suggest that content should be neatly organised into content folders either by weekly segments or by subject.
Historically we have seen content in module areas presented as a list with files in no particular order (Although some lecturers of course already put organised their content in a logical fashion with the use of folders). With class based activities obscured with reading recommendations and assignment briefs not clearly labeled. It was for this reason that the threshold standards suggest using folders to organize module content into logical sections.
One thing highlighted when drafting the Threshold standards was that Blackboard wasn’t very helpful when it came to creating a large number of folders.
You have to create each folder at a time and when we did the calculations it takes up to one minute (assuming the servers are running at optimal speed) to create one folder. Therefore, to create 10 folders in just one module it can take 10 minutes. This might not sound awful but when you factor in the large amount of modules that need to be set up and the possible amount of instances that exist for each module. We estimated that if the Threshold Standards were followed completely (with respect to content organisation) it might take 30-40 minutes just to create the folders, not including actually putting content in those folders.
We wanted to try and find an easy way to create lots of folders at once, so lecturers wouldn’t waste their time doing this repetitive task. Many methods were considered but by far the easiest one involved writing an extension to Blackboard itself.
The University has a good history with writing extensions to Blackboard things like library reading lists and copyright cleared resources are just a few that have been written in the past.
Good News! The extension is now available, folders can now be created on bulk within Blackboard. We are really pleased with the design of this tool, and it has already helped us with our day to day use of Blackboard. Our colleagues in IT Services should take most of the credit for creating this extension, we just told them what we want. Watch the video below to find out how it works. We welcome your views on this new development.