Rubric for online course spaces


This rubric provides guidance on effective design of online course spaces. All such spaces should adhere to the baseline level as a minimum, unless there is a good and validated reason otherwise. There are also suggestions for enhanced approaches which can provide a richer experience for students. The rubric is intended to be used to support and guide staff during course (re) design. Visiting the expanded category areas below will show examples of criteria and offer guidance on techniques you can use to enhance online courses. 

The aims in introducing the rubric are to:

• improve consistency across Blackboard courses, whilst supporting variation where appropriate
• improve the staff and student user experience of Blackboard, for example by making course materials easy to find, update and re-use
• ensure processes for assessment and feedback online are as effective and efficient as possible, for example by managing online submission, marking and feedback
• fully exploit opportunities to use existing technologies where these are beneficial to staff or students

This rubric is for use with any units and programmes which have online spaces, not just those in Blackboard. It is primarily designed for blended learning which includes some face-to-face components. 



Each section has three levels for each criteria:

Baseline which should be achieved by all courses.

Enhanced.Enhanced approaches which may not always be applicable, but can provide a richer experience for students.

Fulfilled by Blackboard.Baseline rules which are automatically fulfilled in Blackboard.



Organisation, navigation and design‌‌





Tools and Activities




Icons of an eye, ear and hand depicting disabilities.

Course information and objectives

Course Info


Assessment and feedback


Communication and collaboration



Instructions and support for learners