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Beginning of Semester Checklist

Some content provided by Kevin Reeve, Blackboard Guru.

Time to get those online courses ready for the new term. Use this checklist to get your course ready after copying the content over from the last time you taught it. We also have an End of Semester Checklist.

1. Update the Syllabus

  • Text book information is accurate; include the price and any options for textbooks on reserve in the Library or for rent through the Bookstore
  • Due dates are updated
  • Point system and assignment; if you tweak or add an assignment, remember to include the points in the grade schema.
  • Office Hours and contact information. Provide a statement of when the student can reasonably expect your response. What is your frequency of contact policy?

2. Assignments

  • Update due dates in assignment tool. You can set the assignment to add a calendar entry as well.
  • Tweak instructions if needed
  • Update points possible in assignment tool

3. 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
  • Be ready to provide a separate version of the exam for DSP&S students who require extended time

4. Gradebook

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

5. Discussions

  • Create a new welcome message to students and invite them to respond and introduce themselves.
  • Remember > ALL online courses MUST HAVE evidence of regular academic engagement and the discussion board is a tool that provides faculty/student interaction. Refer to Discussion Boards
    Generating and Facilitating Engaging and Effective Online Discussions (pdf) provided by the University of Oregon (creative commons license).

6. Course content

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

First week success

Research shows that students will be more successful in your online course if you do something to engage them the first week. Be creative and think of something that will get them going the first week. Have them use the discussion tool or create a blog to introduce themselves, respond to other students, and take a sample quiz. Consider a homework assignment to give them an opportunity to learn your style and relive any apprehension they may have.

Set Expectations

Let students know what you expect, and how often and soon you will respond. Make sure they know what contact method to use to contact you.

Reflection

Can you recall any issues with the course content from last time you taught this course? Was there any content that was not clear. What questions did students have. Is there any new content or activities you want to try?

Update and Enhance your skills

Contact the TLC for training and assistance to help you learn new tools, ideas, and best practices to improve your online course. Take advantage of them. Spend the time upfront and enjoy a very successful course.

End of Semester Checklist

Here is an end of a semester checklist for your online course.

Gradebook

  • Complete all grading
  • Set-up/or verify all calculated columns are working correctly
  • Set-up/or verify letter grade column is working correctly
  • Scan columns in the grade book and look for anything that is out of place.

Students who have blank scores

Particular assignment missing a lot of scores

  • Turn in Grades

Reflection

  • What worked well in the course?
  • What did not work as planned?
  • What technical difficulties did I or my students have?
  • What areas of the course would I like to improve?
  • What content or activities would I like to add?

Schedule time to work on the course to make improvements. Take advantage of TLC staff to improve your course. If you found some technical difficulties that your students had, visit the TLC and get their help in resolving what those issues are.

 

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