Start-of-the-semester Reminders

1. Have you copied your course successfully?
 Make sure that:

  • there are no duplicate items in the navigation menu;
  • the Discussion Board has no posts from previous semesters
  • there are no empty folders in the content areas;
  • links for students to submit assignments, to take quizzes and to respond to surveys are active.

2. Are all items in your course legible and accessible?
Make sure that:

  • all text in Blackboard is in a consistent font, size 12 or bigger;
  • no essential content requires more than 3 clicks or is buried too many levels deep in the course
  • all text color in Blackboard is black (see below for examples);
  • all images and weblinks have “alt tags” describing them;
  • all videos have captions;
  • you follow the guidelines for best practices in creating accessible content;
  • you check all Microsoft Office documents that you create using the built-in accessibility checkers and correct any issues that you find;

For more information about making content accessible, please see the CUNY IT accessibility website.

Examples of ADA level 3 compliant colors:

3. Have you posted a welcome video in a Welcome, Orientation or Getting Started folder?
    Make sure it:

  • tells students where to go for tech support, course-related questions, and course policies;
  • guides students towards reviewing the syllabus and noting major course deadlines in their calendars;
  • reminds students to acknowledge reading the Academic Integrity Policy;
  • tells students to conduct a browser test to ensure Blackboard compatibility;
  • tells students to self-check their skills using Blackboard through the “How well do you know Blackboard?” quiz;
  • informs students where to find assessment rubrics, and how they will be applied to their assignments;
  • is warm, inviting and most importantly exudes your personality which will promote student/professor engagement.

4. Have you made the course available?
    Make sure that:

  • the course is open two weeks before the semester starts;
  • students can access at minimum materials for week 1
  • students can find the syllabus;
  • students can find your contact information;
  • the current announcements are available and ones for later in the semester are not available.

5.Are all the materials current?
Make sure to:

  • review all weblinks and course links and update the ones that are broken;
  • go through your course content and check it for relevance and currency
  • change dates of the weeks in the syllabus and weekly folders if you have them listed.

Mid-semester Reminders

1. Have you been maintaining a strong instructor presence in the course?
  Make sure that you:

  • respond to students’ emails within the time stated in the syllabus;
  • guide students through course content by introducing new material and making connections to previously learned material;
  • stay active in the course by posting announcements, sending reminders of deadlines, and participating in discussion boards;
  • monitor discussions and enforce rules of netiquette;
  • invite students to online office hours;
  • reach out to individual students who are missing or falling behind;
  • direct students to technology help when appropriate.

2. Have you been helping students self-monitor their progress in the class?
Make sure that you:

  • give frequent, low-stakes assessments;
  • give meaningful and prompt feedback on student assignments;
  • keep the Grade Center up-to-date;
  • direct students towards viewing their grades and reflecting on their learning.

3. Have you asked for feedback from your students?
Make sure that:

  • you have made feedback surveys available to the students (e.g., in week 4 and week 8);
  • you make reasonable adjustments to the course based on student feedback

4. Are you guiding students through long-term or group projects?
Make sure that you have:

  • given clear instructions and concrete outcomes;
  • set reasonable milestones and required deliverables
  • offered opportunities to discuss projects individually or as a group in online conference rooms.

End-of-the-semester Reminders

1. Have you encouraged students to complete the course evaluation survey?
    Make sure that:

  • you have posted the link in the last weekly folder of the semester;
  • you have posted an announcement reminding students about it

2. Have you graded all the assignments?
    Remember that you can:

  • give feedback in audio or video format instead or in addition to written text;
  • speed up the grading process and show students how they scored according to a set criteria by using rubrics.

3. Have you ended the semester with a wrap-up activity?
    Consider asking students to:

  • write reflections about that they learned in a journal;
  • post recommendations for future students of this course in a discussion forum;
  • say good-bye to each other in a discussion forum.

4.Have you made preparations for the following semester?
While the semester is still fresh in your mind, you can:

  • note activities, materials or technologies that worked well or those that did not work well;
  • mark up instructions that need revising;
  • take down resources that are obsolete;
  • review suggestions that students have offered throughout the semester.

5. Have you completed final course management tasks?
Make sure you have:

  • submitted students’ grades;
  • posted a cordial farewell announcement