Learning Materials

Man using ballpoint pen at a desk with laptop

Creating or Selecting Relevant Learning  Materials

Using a variety of learning materials (video, audio, reading) combined with appropriate learning activities helps learners engage and retain knowledge.

Access for All

Your learning materials will consist of a combination of existing materials and custom-made materials you will create for your students. All materials used in an online course must be accessible.

Locating Materials

Below are a few sources where you can search for learning content to use in your online course.


UMBrella is the University's one-stop search and discovery tool for resources available through the Healey Library, including electronic journals and subscription services. Articles, videos, and other digital resources available in the library databases can be linked easily in your online course. Students will have free access using their UMass Boston credentials. UMBrella can be accessed through the Healey Library webpages, or directly at https://umbrella.lib.umb.edu

UMass Boston Streaming Services

Videos are a great way to diversify the types of content you are exposing your learners to. Healey Library has subscriptions to various video repositories you can use in your course, such as Kanopy, Films on Demand, Alexander Street, etc. You will find full-length TV show episodes, movies, documentaries, news clips, and more! Another great thing about the videos in these repositories is that they are all closed captioned. Visit the database list for video (streaming) resources to view what's available.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources (OER) are any type of educational material freely available for teachers and students to use, adapt, share, and reuse, under a Creative Commons license. Examples of OER include textbooks, but also lesson plans, assignments, exams, and more. Visit UMass Boston's Open Education page to learn more and search for OER.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is a repository of more than 16 000 instructional videos on a variety of topics created by experts. UMass Boston has an institutional license for LinkedIn Learning through which faculty, staff and students can use the service for free. You can link directly to videos from within your Blackboard course or write to learningdesign@umb.edu to request a Curator role. The Curator role lets you select a series of videos, assign them to your students, and then track their progress through analytics.

Creating Materials

In addition to using existing materials and resources from the library, you will also need to create new materials. These may include lesson overviews, guides, screencasts, narrated mini-lectures, and so on. 

Faculty at UMass Boston are provided with a number of software applications and resources for authoring content to use alongside Blackboard LMS, such as MS Office, G Suite, Echo 360 U-Cap for creating recorded content, VoiceThread for mini-lectures and interactive conversations, WordPress for blogging, Adobe Creative Suite and more.

Tips and Tricks

Use the Permalinks: When using a Healey Library digital resource in your course, you should always link to the resource through the permalink.  A permalink is recognized by the "ezproxy" word on the link. A proxy server connection allows students to access the resource securely from a location off campus. 


Effective learning experience

Purposeful learning path that promotes learning and employs relevant learning materials and activities.

All Glossary Terms