- Familiarize yourself with the textbook and resources if you have not
previously used them.
- Revise and adapt syllabus and
course content for online learning.
- Align assignments and activities with course learning objectives.
- Create or adapt collaborative group
projects, focusing on higher level learning.
- Create discussion topics as
- Adjust quizzes and assessments for online learning.
- Check quiz and assignment
tool settings for correct release dates.
- Set up your gradebook.
- Did you post an introductory announcement?
- Have you disabled those Course Areas and
communication tools that you don't plan to use?
- Are you satisfied
with the current names for
Or, for example, would you like to change "Course
Information" to "Syllabus"?
- Do you like the button color and pattern?
- If you plan to schedule an online discussion during the first
week of class, where students can introduce
themselves and begin building an online learning
community, have you set up the forum and
started the first thread?
you check each page of your course site for errors,
including dead links, spelling errors, missing information or images,
- Have you included participation guidelines
for the online component of your course?
- When you're ready to go live, did
you make the course "Available" in
Options" area of the control
panel? Did you check that the
course is properly located in
- Provide class orientation (syllabus,
schedule, communication policies, etc.).
- Ask your students to complete
the Distance Learning Online
your initial course roster into Blackboard (is this already done?).
your student roster.
- Create and monitor a “Technical Help” discussion
topic for your students.
- Create a Discussion Board Forum for students to introduce themselves
and chat with each
other informally – a sort of “water cooler” area for
discussions not dealing with course content.
- Maintain virtual office hours.
- Create private discussion groups as needed.
- Read and respond to discussion
- Provide timely feedback to assignments and make suggestions for improvement.
- Release and update course content.
- Summarize units and provide introductions to upcoming weeks in your
- Grade quizzes and update quiz settings
- Grade assignments that students have uploaded to the Digital
Dropbox or Assignments area.
- Update grades in the gradebook.
- Periodically ask for class feedback in order to adjust course activities
- Finalize grades in the gradebook.
- Remind students about course evaluations.
- Create and release an online
final exam, if applicable.
- Answer any final questions.
- Review and assess your teaching methods. Analyze student evaluations
for your strengths and areas that need improvement.
Adapted from http://teach.ucf.edu/nowwhat/logistics/timeline/index.html
- Require your online students to go through the Student
which will save you from orienting new online students to the process.
- Familiarize yourself with the resources available from Blackboard’s
Help menu. Take TIME to get training and to practice using the programs
you will need for your course.
- Develop an online FAQ for your course.
You can answer a question once, rather than repeating the same information
in private communications
- Explain to your students what your feedback
schedule will be. For example, "I
will not be checking my e-mail over the weekend. During the
week you can expect a reply within 24 hours." Always send students
a short acknowledgement message when you receive an assignment
-- "Thanks for sending
your paper. I will do my best to return it, with comments,
in a week's time."
- If students need immediate feedback,
they should know a day and time where they can expect to find
you online. This
reduces the need for
you to be always on call. Virtual office hours can easily be
set up in the BlackBoard
- Establish a loose template
for each week's online components. Once students see that each unit's
materials will be presented
in the same way, they'll
know what to expect and will be able to keep on track easily.
Provide time estimates on the workload expected so students
their time accordingly.
- Wean students from using e-mail as their primary
communication tool. Instead, create online discussion forums where
they can post questions
and receive answers. Encourage students in the class to
read and reply to each other's posts -- sometimes students can
- Design learning activities in which students work
in small groups. Group members will help keep one another
and should learn
- Locate relevant online resources for each of
your course's units. This can cut down on the time you'll need to spend
to students with weak backgrounds.
- Set aside a fixed time period each
day which you'll devote to online course management. Many instructors
find that signing on once in the
morning (to check e-mail and scan online discussions), and once again
at night, helps
to structure their own time well. This prevents a backlog of e-mail
to be answered, and the unpleasant discovery that an online discussion
- Make a schedule for yourself of when you need to post certain
messages and documents in your course (lectures, weekly feedback about
announcements, etc.), and stick to the schedule. Following a schedule
will reduce the chance
of forgetting to post important information to the class.