Creating your content and curating course materials

Okay, your learning outcomes are written (and they are measurable!), you have your assessments planned, and they map perfectly to your learning outcomes–now we need to get students from the introduction to the course, to a successful demonstration of skill sets!  That pathway is our content!  Regardless of your teaching modalities, you will need to spend some time thinking about your course content and gathering (or making) materials.

Course content and course materials, what’s the difference?

When you are creating the content students need to be successful in your course, you are really crafting an explanation of your ideas and knowledge, wrapped in context so that students understand how that idea fits in with other ideas and concepts throughout the course.  Content is anchored in the experience and expertise that you, as faculty bring to the classroom–and is evidenced in the collection of experiences, activities, materials, and assessment that your class contains as a whole.

Course materials are the pieces of the whole and can be delivered as primary texts, faculty-created videos, curated web-based content, films, documents, images, presentations, and any combination of listed items that will help students build the understanding, skills, and knowledge they need to succeed in course assessments and the learning outcomes of the course.


What types of materials will I have to think about?

Here are some common types of materials and software faculty use to create them

Text or presentation-based materials

  • Microsoft Word Documents
  • Powerpoint presentations
  • Google Slides presentation
  • Google Docs
  • LMS text-based pages & communications

Multimedia materials

  • Creating learning graphics/illustrations
  • Infographics and/or charts
  • Producing learning videos
  • Recording podcasts and audio-files
  • Creating interactive polls/surveys
Exploring UMPI's Library Resources

Roger Getz at the UMPI Library is a valuable resource when it comes to searching for just the right resource for your course.  He can help you easily navigate:

Roger should also be on your speed dial, for copyright concerns or questions.

Exploring Open Education Resources (OER)

Open Education Resources (OER) are simply educational materials that have an open licence or are in the public domain.  The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video, and animation.

Typically OERs are licensed under a Creative Commons license which allows free use and re-uses with appropriate attribution

Here is a short list of OER clearinghouses:

University of Maine System supported tools

To get the highest level of support, from downloading software to creating, to troubleshooting when something is not working, opt for the wide variety of tools supported by the University of Maine System IT team.  These include:

When you need to think about creating content

Sometimes looking for just the right content can be exhausting, then–when you find just the right graphic, there are copyright concerns.  Tech tools are getting increasingly easy to use–both for you in your course material creation, and to recommend for students for projects or presentations.  Grab your local ID, if you need help getting started with any of these great resources:

Creating graphics and visuals

  • My favorite graphic design tool: Canvahere’s why: It’s free (sign up with your email), You can save images as png, jpg or PDF and It’s super easy to use
  • Did you know that you could be Using Powerpoint for graphic design
  • Adobe Spark walks you through creating visuals in the glossy, shiny way that Adobe products are known for.  There are free versions and premium–use the free!  While you are there, check out Spark pages for student presentation ideas!

Creating interactive visuals and/or tools

  • Thinglink, but you can annotate any image!
  • WordItOut creates awesome word clouds!
  • Unsplash and Pixabay have free accounts for beautiful, high-quality photos and illustrations, that you can use to make your own memes, presentations charts and increase the visual appeal of many of your course materials! 

Animated video (Video+):

  • Animoto is a slide-video creator that has a free educator account that you can apply for–you can downloads the MP4 file, or upload to Youtube
  • Powtoon has a free education account, and this cool tool allows you to make illustrated videos and upload them to Youtube.  Note: you want to give yourself plenty of time to play with this tool–it has a learning curve 

Copy your content across courses or semesters!

Follow this handy-dandy guide, to copy course content to another course, or another semester in Blackboard!  To copy a piece of content into another course section, simply choose to “copy”:

open content title menu and choose

Then select your course section from the list!