Blackboard New Semester Checklist


    Beginning of Semester

    Recommended

    • Confirm your course is in Blackboard. Contact your department scheduling coordinator if you do not see the course. Your department scheduling coordinator can be found on the Office of the University Registrar's website > Department Scheduling Coordinators

    • Access your course and verify Edit Mode is ON.  Edit Mode allows Instructors to make changes to course content, the course menu and to work with various course tools.

    • If you are teaching the same course this semester that you have taught previously (or someone else in your department is willing to share their course with you), consider copying that course into the current semester course > Course Copy Instructions.  Once course copy is complete: (1) Remove any unneeded links, content, grade center columns, etc.; (2) Check all course links, tool links, web links, and file links to confirm they work properly; (3) Add, update and / or remove date restrictions and due dates in content areas, assessments, assignments, discussion forums, etc., or run the Date Management tool; (4) Add, update and / or remove adaptive release rules in in content areas, assessments and assignments; (5) Fix ERRORS on the Respondus LockDown Browser Dashboard page.

    • Verify that the Course Menu consists of items and tools that you wish to use and, if necessary, rename, modify, hide, show, or reorder them.

    • Review all gradable items (assignments, tests, discussion forums, blogs, journals, and wikis) to ensure questions, instructions, points, etc., are still valid and correct.

    • Set up your Grade Center. This allows students to keep track of their grades throughout the semester so they know exactly where they stand: (1) Remove manually created Grade Center columns no longer being used; (2) Set up the Weighted Total and/or Total column; (3) Confirm Blackboard's grading schema matches the schema for your department; (4) Hide Grade Center columns from students that you don't want them to see; (5) Check Column Organization for hidden columns that you may want to view in the Grade Center; (6) Delete duplicate Grade Center columns.

    • If you intend to use Quickly Attendance, set up Attendance on the Attendance Settings page > Setup Instructions.

    • Enroll other Instructors, TA's, Course Builders, Graders and Guests into the course. You must enable your course for Guest Access.

    • Upload a current syllabus with your contact information, textbook information, etc.  Visit the Center for Teaching & Faculty Excellence website > Designing Your Syllabus.

    • Make your course available to students. Post a welcome announcement to your course, including contact information, office hours, etc. and then send it to your students by email and let them know your Blackboard course is now available.

    • Create a welcome video describing yourself and the course using Kaltura. Kaltura is a video management tool that allows faculty and students to easily create, host, and share video and audio inside the Blackboard course environment.

    • If using additional tools such as Collaborate Ultra or Respondus Monitor, create a practice area where students can test their computer before they need to use the tool in your course.

    • Customize your course design and select the course entry point. The course entry point is the first area users see when they enter your course. The default course entry point is the Home Page.

    • Turn off any tools that are accessible by your students that you won't be using in your course. On the course menu, click on Tools and select Hide Link next to each tool.

    • Enable Statistics Tracking in content areas and assignments. Statistics Tracking (Track Number of Views) allows educators to view statistics on content items seen by course users at the content area level.

    • If you see two Blackboard Collaborate tools in your course, consider hiding one version from your students to avoid any confusion.

    • Create course groups to encourage student collaboration > Create and Manage Groups. Confirm that all students are assigned to groups after drop / add period ends. 

    • Setup / update your Blackboard profile. The Blackboard profile is not the same as your Mason user account. A profile shows how you want to present yourself to your peers and students in your course. In your Blackboard profile, you decide what you want to be called, share your academic interests, a profile picture, and more.

    Optional

    • Go to University Libraries website to place items on reserve > How to Place a Reserve Request.  Note that e-Reserve links are associated with your course CRN and cannot be reused or copied from or to another course.

    • Submit a Course Combine Request form to have two or more sections of the same course combined in Blackboard. To combine two different course numbers (e.g., PSYC-490-001 and PSYC-590-001), you must contact your department's scheduling coordinator to have the courses cross-listed in Banner. This will automatically create a combined course in Blackboard > About Combined Sections.

     

    End of Semester

    • Confirm that scores have been entered for all students / for all gradable items in the course.

    • Verify that your Weighted Total or Total column is set up properly and that all applicable gradable items are being included in the calculations.

    • Make your course unavailable to students. Optionally – your choice.