Getting Started - Course Development

Course Development Process

Request a Development Shell

It is strongly recommended that you request a Blackboard course development shell to create your course. This is where you can build your course content. Upon completion of the course, the content can then be "copied" to your current semester offering and any subsequent semester offering. You can request a development shell as detailed below.

Blackboard Course Request Form

Course Copy

Instructions to copy courses

The Course Menu and Customization

The course menu appears on the left side of a course and contains links to materials and tools within the course. The instructor can customize the style of the course menu and the content and tools available to you. These customizations create variations in the look and organization your courses.

Watch Video: Course Menu and Customization

For more information, visit Navigate Inside a Course in Blackboard Help. 

Creating Your Online Course

For more information about creating your online course, please look for the Faculty Development - Online Education Standards and Practices training resource in Blackboard. 

Embed a Librarian

If your course is research intensive or has a number of library-based resource assignments, consider adding an Embedded Librarian. The Embedded Librarian can add a Library section to your course menu with library instructional content customized for your course, links to relevant library resources, provide reference and research help to your students through the Blackboard tools, and more. For more information or to request an Embedded Librarian, contact Linda LeBlanc at or 978.665.3062.

“Make the course structure and schedule as transparent as possible to students, both in writing and through a graphic image if possible, so that they can determine assignments and deadlines with the autonomy necessary to succeed in an online class.”
Laura Baker, Graduate Program Chair and Associate Professor, History
“Keep dates only in one place (I put them in the same tab as the syllabus and called it, Student checklist of assignments and due dates) lists the dates of each module, assignments and due dates. Then, anywhere else e.g. module introduction, I just put the same note (Please refer to the Student Checklist of Assignments and Due Dates). One place, hopefully, no confusion.”
Gail Cahill, Adjunct Faculty, Education department