Avoiding the “Scroll of Death” in Blackboard

Avoiding the -Scroll of Death- in BlackboardWhen I was an online student, I dreaded courses that were set up with the “scroll of death.” It was hard to access content, find your place as the term progresses, and hard to print content. A scroll of death situation is created when a course designer puts everything on the same level resulting in a scenario where the learner has to scroll through multiple pages to access content. Here are some ideas for controlling for the scroll of death along with some examples.

Scroll of Death Scenario I

In this scenario, everything is placed on the same level. Students have to scroll continuously to get to relevant content. There is a great chance they will miss something, and it is also extremely difficult to print. Here is an example with some dummy material. Even though it is an image, you get the idea.

An example of the scroll of death where all content is on the same level throughout the course.

An example of the scroll of death where all content is on the same level throughout the course.

Scroll of Death II

In this scenario, the content is broken up in weeks; however, within the week, all the content is on the same page. Again, this is hard to find specific information and it is hard to print.

Example of the scroll of death with content for one week on one level

Example of the scroll of death with content for one week on one level

Scroll of Death III

In this scenario, the navigation has been moved to the side. When you select a week, each piece of content and activity is its own file. As an instructor, You can more easily move a piece of content as well as track the use of the content. I also turned on tracking so that learners could remind themselves if they already viewed an item. With this model, individual pieces of content are easier to print. On the downside, learners will have to click more.

In this scenario, content items are their own files.

In this scenario, content items are their own files.

Scroll of Death IV

This is a scenario not often used. You could use an image to be the navigation interface. Perhaps you created a mind map of your course and students could then explore through your image interface.  If you are interested in doing this, I could help you. In this example, the computer would lead to the first module.

Using an image interface for navigation. In this case, the computer leads to the first  module of instruction.

Using an image interface for navigation. In this case, the computer leads to the first module of instruction.

Well, there are four examples of a navigation structure. Four of countless different ways. I intentionally did not include images in the examples. Images do help with navigation but they also add to the length.

If you have questions, please stop by to visit your TEI team. We would love to assist.

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube Skype 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *