The Fall semester is fast approaching and there is so much to do. Below are a few reminders and tips from our instructional design team to smooth the way and get off to a great start.
Before Your Course Begins:
Personalize Your Course: Consider which aspects of the course you want to adjust. At minimum, this should include parts of the syllabus (your contact information, for example). If necessary, contact eLIS or use our online tutorials to learn about Blackboard editing tools.
Review and update information as necessary in the syllabus that sets expectations for communication, group work, or instructor facilitation. For example, will the pre-established turn-around times for feedback work with your schedule? Keep in mind that changes you make in the syllabus might need to be checked against content you entered into myLesley to make sure the instructions align in both locations.
Set Up a Teaching Schedule: Consider setting up a teaching schedule to better organize your teaching time. A schedule can help you to identify when to attend to different facilitation tasks (i.e. weekly announcements, daily discussion board check-ins, major project or paper feedback, etc.).
Familiarize Yourself with These Tools:
Performance Dashboard: Use this tool to quickly view if and when students are accessing the course.
Announcements Tool: Recommendations for using this tool include:
- Always make sure to send Announcements as emails. Embedded images, video, or audio will NOT be available to students in emails.
- Use the Announcement Tool for:
- Welcome messages, briefly introducing yourself and the course
- Introducing a new week and wrapping up a previous week
- Providing whole-class feedback on discussions, group work, etc.
- Updating students on changes to the course or assignment scheduling
- Clarifying any confusion that multiple students have experienced
Post a Welcome Announcement: In addition to welcoming students to the course, you might point out the syllabus and other key documents to review before beginning the first module.
Taking care of these seemingly small things now can greatly help you stay organized and in contact with your students as you move through the course.