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Course and Syllabus Design

Teaching Jumpstart

Start with the Teaching Jumpstart to plan your teaching and courses at CSULB. The Teaching Jumpstart provides all the information you will need to know regarding the syllabus template, course policies, teaching policies, and efficient & effective teaching.

Please check with your specific departments about a Standard Course Outline for your classes.

Accessible Instructional Resources

CSULB is home to the Accessible Instructional Materials Center (AIM). The AIM Staff assist faculty in making all types of course material accessible to all students. Visit the AIM Center for assistance with your instructional material. Additionally, Academic Technology

High Impact Practices

Particular educational activities are unusually effective at deepening college student investment in learning and persistence. These educational activities are commonly referred to as High Impact Practices (in Higher Education), or HIPs. The High Impact Practices page has more information on how to incorporate them into your classroom!

Course Design

BeachBoard Course Design Consultation

We are available to assist instructors in the planning, designing, and development of BeachBoard courses. We also assist with utilizing educational technology throughout the educational process. We partner with instructors to provide instructional design oversight, learning theory/styles application, and appropriate pedagogical principles in the instructional technology course development process. For additional instructional technology tips, please consult the BeachBoard Services Instructor Support organization once you are logged into BeachBoard.

To schedule a consultation or for more information, please contact: 

CSULB Course Design Tools

Discussion Boards in BeachBoard

The Discussions tool allows users to converse with one another through posts on topics set up by the instructor.

Ideas for Enhancing Interactivity with Discussion Board

  • Encourage students to introduce and share a little about themselves at the beginning of the term.
  • Use Discussions to provide peer feedback. Students can attach a paper (Word document), presentation (PowerPoint document), or link to a personal homepage via Discussions, and the rest of the class can comment on it within a certain time period.
  • Set up a forum for general and/or technical questions. Create a forum for social discussions and name it Cyber Café or Water Cooler.
  • Post frequently asked questions (FAQs) that you've received from previous students at the start of your course to prevent a lot of repeat messages from your new students wishing to know the same information. This will save you time and assuage anxious students, preparing everyone to focus on course content.
  • Rotate members of small groups to provide students with interaction with many different people. You may want to group students based on their level of participation so that groups contain a mix of avid participators as well as more hesitant students.
  • Articulate expectations for participation – what qualifies as active participation? Provide students with examples or a rubric. Set clear guidelines and ground rules so that students understand proper “netiquette.”
  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage discussion, participate regularly in the forum, and be a positive role model.
  • Start discussions and offer structure, yet allow room for students to talk to each other rather than read an instructor-dominated “lecture.”
  • Consider making regular participation in discussions count toward the final grade.

Using Dropbox and Turnitin in BeachBoard

This guide describes how to set up Dropbox folders where students can submit their assignments. Once assignments are submitted, the instructor can download assignments as zip files, sort assignments by users, check submission times, grade assignments, leave feedback, and return submissions with comments, all from within the Dropbox tool. Turnitin is embedded within this tool. provides videos, user manuals, and other training materials for instructors planning to use the system in their courses. The training resources page can be accessed by visiting Turnitin's website.


MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching). This is a digital national content project (a program sponsored by the CSU that partners with educational institutions and industry) which fosters the evolution of standards and tools and easy access to resources for professionals. MERLOT Membership is FREE.

MERLOT resources are arranged by communities. You can choose an Academic Discipline, Academic Support, or Partner Communities to get started! An example would be the MERLOT Psychology Portal:

Each community has resources you can use to:

Helpful Articles & Links

Here is a collection of articles that can help you prepare for your courses and develop meaningful content.

The well-structured content (PDF) guide demonstrates how to effectively use technology in your courses.

Boettecher, J. (2003). Designing for learning: The pursuit of well-structured content.