Before the Semester Starts

Back Up Your Course

If you did not backup your course at the end of last term, you should do so NOW to preserve a copy of everything in your course. It is highly recommended that you back up your grades periodically throughout the term and at the entire course at the end of every term. For help, checkout this tip sheet which explains the differences between exporting, importing and archives or watch the video. It is also recommended that you also download and save a copy of your Grade Center. Use this tip sheet on downloading grades or watch this video.

Prepare Your Course Shell

All courses are automatically created in Blackboard at least four weeks before the semester start date. You will have access to your courses as soon as you are assigned as the instructor in PeopleSoft. Once you have access to the course, you can either build your course from scratch or copy content from another course. For help copying content, check out this tipsheet.

Check Content and Links

1. Update the Syllabus

  • Use the syllabus template
  • Ensure your syllabus is accessible, for help watch this video
  • Text book information is accurate
  • Due dates are updated
  • Point system and assignment
  • Office Hours and contact information (Setup online office hours using Bb IM)
  • Define course objectives
  • Articulate student and faculty expectations

2. Course Schedule

  • While not required, here is a suggested template.
  • Consult the GRCC Academic Calendar for timelines.
  • Consult the CARP document for curriculum information (e.g. outcomes).
  • Upload the schedule to a content area (e.g. Course Information) in Blackboard.
  • Online courses work best when due dates are consistent (e.g. Quizzes every Thursday, etc.)

3. Assignments

  • Update due dates in assignment tool
  • Tweak instructions if needed
  • Update points possible in assignment tool
  • Plan for timely feedback

4. Assessments

  • Update due dates in assessment tool
  • Update questions/add new questions as needed
  • Update points possible in assessment tool and individual questions if needed
  • Plan for timely feedback

5. Gradebook

  • Update calculation and formulas if assignments, assessment or others were added or removed.
  • Hide letter grade column and other columns from students as needed

6. Discussions

  • Create a new welcome message to students and invite them to respond and introduce themselves.
  • If you copied in discussions from an old course your discussion threads will come in labeled as posted by Anonymous. Copy and paste the information into a new discussion thread to update the author.
  • Design interactivity into course

7. Course content

  • Check video clips, slide decks, PDF files and links. Make sure they all work.

Set Up Shared Access

If you want another instructor or student assistant to have Instructor, Course Builder, or Teaching Assistant Access to your course, you can add them yourself. All you need to know is their GRCC username. View this tipsheet on enrolling faculty and staff, or watch this video.

Post a Welcome Announcement

In your welcome message you may want to include the start and end date/time of class, a brief course overview, instructor’s name and contact information, any textbook information, as well as how you intend to use Blackboard. If you are teaching an online course, direct students to where they should begin such as linking them to an orientation or the course syllabus.

Open your Course Early

Blackboard courses will automatically become available for students on the first day of the semester; however, you can control this and open the course early. For more help, view this tip sheet or watch this video.