Blackboard (Faculty) - Announcements: Best Practices
Announcements are a crucial communication tool for course changes and notifications. However, announcements also foster a sense of community with your students as an important factor in faculty-student communication. Let your personality shine!
As Darby and Lang describe in Small Teaching Online, "One of the simplest ways to make your presence known is by posting frequent text or video announcements. This serves two purposes. Frequent communication helps to keep your students focused and progressing. Plus, you can use announcements to accomplish important teaching goals: clarifying misunderstandings, summarizing the week's highlights, helping students to prepare for an upcoming exam. In some LMSs, you can even schedule announcements to post at whatever date and time you choose. In this way, you can appear to be present even when you will not actually be present - for example, if you have a travel commitment that interrupts your regular class activity. Schedule or post announcements to create an ongoing reminder that students should be paying attention to classwork."
- Write an informative but concise title.
- Write an informative but concise body.
- Use clear and direct language.
- Use bullet points rather than long paragraphs.
- Limit the pictures.
- Make sure pictures are small and do not take up the whole screen.
- Use Alt tag for all images.
- When announcing assessments, include due dates and time. Avoid long instructions within the announcements. Link to the assessment with the full instructions.
- Remain positive and encouraging.
- Consider readability and accessibility:
- Use standard 12-point font.
- Use a sans serif font for accessibility and readability.
- Bold or italicize words only when necessary for emphasis.
- Use only black font for accessibility and readability.
- Let your personality shine!
Types of Announcements
- When the course is make available. Welcome the students and refer to the syllabus and welcome video.
- Send announcements regularly. For example, at the beginning of each week, recap the previous week and what students can look forward to in the coming week. Blackboard announcements can be scheduled to post at a later date.
- Reminder students of assessment due dates. Avoid long instructions within the announcements. Link to the assessment with the instructions.
- When the course material or due dates are updated.
- When there is a change in schedule, e.g., cancellation of class, holiday schedule, etc.
- For correction or clarification of assessment instructions or changes in schedule.
Darby, F., & Lang, J. M. (2019). Small teaching online: Applying learning science in online classes. John Wiley & Sons.
- Blackboard (Faculty) - Announcements: About Announcements
- Blackboard (Faculty) - Announcements: Create a Date-Released Announcement
- Blackboard (Faculty) - Announcements: Create an Announcement
- Blackboard (Faculty) - Announcements: Edit or Delete an Announcement
- Blackboard (Faculty) - Announcements: Reorder Announcements
- Blackboard (Faculty) - Evaluation: Run Course Report to Show Student Access