Cut down on student stress by layering academic and mechanical instructions throughout your course.

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With students, everything revolves around context. They are becoming used to getting contextual information about the restaurant where they are eating, the traffic they are driving in, and the television shows they are watching. That is why it is important to not just put instructions in your course syllabus. They need to placed at the unit and assignment level as well.

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A big key here is not just revealing the academic instructions that tell the students the requirements of a particular assignment or activity, but the mechanical instructions that tell the students how to use the particular tool to complete the assignment or activity. Relying on the fact that your students may be “digital natives” is just not a good strategy when it comes to them figuring out how to maneuver in your Blackboard Course.  If your students are completing an activity using one of the learning management system’s tools, why not give them a reminder on where to click to begin and then provide a link to help documentation (from help.blackboard.com) on how to use the tool they are being assigned.

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Making these best practices a regular part of your course design and development will go a long way toward ensuring that your students are able to work through course activities with more success and less stress.

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