Primer for Teaching Online
8. E-Course Packages: Just Add Students
Most textbook publishers have developed preexisting courses that can be downloaded directly into existing course shells. The purpose of electronic course packages is to save course development time while promoting the use (and purchase) of textbook publisher materials. Electronic course packages can save faculty several months of course development time while giving students a highly integrated course environment based on a published course textbook. They are fully customizable by the instructor who can add, modify, change and delete content based on the needs of the course. The cost of course packages falls upon the student who will typically pay from $20.00 to $40.00 for a course key that gives them access to the material for a semester.
Most Popular Course Management Systems
Institutions that use one of the more popular course management systems such as Blackboard or WebCT can use these electronic course packages, known in the industry as e-packs (WebCT) or course cartridges (Blackboard). Electronic course packages come complete with course content, assessment quizzes and tests, discussion questions, media files, relevant website links, and other course elements.
Beware that electronic course packages vary greatly in quality. Do your homework and demo several packages before making your decision. Be sure to test drive all aspects of the course that you will be using including exams, content, and supplemental links.
Where Do I Start?
To begin using the course pack, the instructor downloads the course from the publisher and places it into the course shell. Students are then directed to a publisher website to purchase the course key, upon which they receive a password that unlocks access to the course materials. Student access expires at the end of each semester.
- Course Cartridges for Blackboard Learning System CE Enterprise 4, 6,8 and Vista Enterprise 4, 8 (formerly WebCT)
- Blackboard Cartridges (from: https://behind.blackboard.com/coursescartridges/
- Course Cartridges