Baseline Standards

  • Following extensive consultation with students, the need for consistency in the use of the Virtual Learning Environment and other technologies for learning has been identified and it is expected that all teaching staff will provide students with access to a minimum level of online resources and information as set out below.
  • Basic requirements such as clear structure, organisation of files and folders, meaningful labelling and basic contact and modular details are easy to achieve and will improve student satisfaction with their online resources.
  • The guidelines below reflect a basic minimum standard of content and organisation however this is not intended to restrict creativity and innovation in using additional technologies for active student engagement. The baseline requirements are intended as a starting point to ensure equity of provision for all students and can form a strong foundation for more creative and active use of the many tools within and beyond the VLE.
  • Whilst it is recognised that some tutors may choose alternative platforms for delivery of online resources, the same principles of usability and baseline content should be applied regardless of learning platform. Where an alternative platform is used the tutor should replace the default welcome message on Blackboard with a link to the alternative system.

Breakdown and Examples








The welcome page should provide an orientation for students to the online module with clear contact details and information on how the site will be used.


General information about the module including contact details.

An item containing text, images or video of tutors together with appropriate web links.

Link to a screencast with voiceover explaining each section and exemplar material.


To provide timely information to students on any changes or updates relevant to the module.


Announcement tool link in the course menu.

Course announcement within the module and an option to send as email.

Short walk-through of the announcement tool options.

Module Information

This page should provide administrative information on the module that the students can refer to.


Module specification, module outline, timetable etc.

An item containing explanatory text with links to relevant uploaded Word or pdf materials.

A Blackboard Basics guide covering the navigation menu and building content.

Learning Resources

This section should provide support for teaching and learning by allowing students to access resources relevant to lectures and seminars to aid in reflection and general preparation for assessment.

Materials to support and re-inforce learning from seminars and lectures. These should be released in a timely way, either prior to a face to face session to allow time for preparation, or shortly after.


All formats can be used including documents, presentations, audio or video files.


Organisation and layout may vary according to pedagogic approach – some examples are provided in the help column


Link to Practical Course Design Tips for creating content and tools within a Blackboard course.


Screencast of some examples of presentation of learning resources and instructions

Reading list

To provide students with access to reading materials relevant to the module.

Links to relevant reading materials.

Link to the reading list system personalised for each module.

If you have a Talis Aspire reading list it will automatically appear in your Blackboard course.


Assessment and feedback

This page is intended to provide clear guidance on assessment details including submission method (SOLE, Blackboard, Turnitin etc.) and requirments.




Clear instructions on assessment methods, marking criteria and method of submission should be provided.


If Blackboard is the submission tool then the assignment dropbox should appear on this page.

An item or document with assignment details.

Turnitin Direct or SafeAssign enabled  assignment dropbox.

Link to Turnitin guidelines for staff.