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Beginning of the Semester Checklist

Blackboard Course Shells

Every course listed with the University Registrar has a Blackboard course shell automatically created. Any student who registers for your class will automatically appear on your Blackboard roster. All courses on the Blackboard Learning System are available to faculty assigned to teach and students enrolled in the course for one semester prior to the course running and three semesters after the course has completed.

Copy Course

The Course Copy feature allows faculty to copy course materials from one course (source course) to another (destination course). For example, you may have created documents in a fall course that you want to add to your spring course. You must be an Instructor in both the source and destination course in order to perform course copy. Below are the instructions:

  1. Enter the course you want to copy content from.
  2. Click Packages and Utilities in the Control Panel area through the Course Management sidebar of your existing course.
  3. Click Course Copy.
  4. In the Select Copy Type area, choose Copy Course Materials into an Existing Course.
  5. Click Browse to locate the Destination Course ID.
  6. Search by Course ID, Instructor or Name/Description to access your course list.
  7. Click the button next to the Destination Course ID of the course you wish to copy.
  8. Check the box beside the items you would like to copy and click Submit.

Note: Be sure NOT to check the box beside Include Enrollments in the Copy unless you are sure that you want users in the source course to be copied into the destination course. Then, click Submit.

An email will be sent once the Course Copy task is complete. Once this email is received, check the Destination Course to verify that the selected materials were copied successfully from the original source course.

Check the Course Menu

Confirm that the Course Menu consists of the buttons or links that you wish to use. If necessary, rename or modify the list of buttons. Make sure and check the Course Menu with Edit Mode ON.

Instructors have direct access to edit and organize the Course Menu and may use the drag and drop feature to change the order of menu items. Course Menu items that do not contain any content are automatically hidden from student view, but are visible to the instructor while in Edit Mode.

  1. To add a new link to the Course Menu, click the “+” button and click the item you want to add.
  2. Rename, Hide or Delete links as necessary using the pull-down menu next to each link.
    Note: If you remove a menu item, all information within that area is removed permanently.
  3. Organize your Course Menu using the drag and drop feature. For longer Course Menus you may want to consider creating Subheaders and Dividers by clicking on the “+” button and selecting these features.

Turn Off All Unnecessary Tools

To simplify your class, you will want to hide the links of all the tools you will not be using. If you decide to use a tool later in the semester you may make it available at that time. Both course and communication tools are combined into a single Tools area in the Course Menu.

  1. Select Tool Availability under the Customization tab in the Control Panel of the course.
  2. To make a tool unavailable, click on its check box to remove the check and click Submit.
  3. To make a tool available, click on its check box to add the check and click Submit.
  4. To view the Tools that will be available to students, turn off the Edit Mode button and then click on Tools on the navigation menu.

Customize Your Course Design

You may select a color and style for your Course Menu.

  1. Select Customization in the Control Panel area.
  2. Click on Style and select your desired layout within Course Menu Display and Content View. You also have the option to change the Entry Point of the course and Upload a Banner.

To Create a Banner in PowerPoint

  1. Open a new PowerPoint presentation and select a Blank Content Layout.
  2. Resize the slide 7 to 8 inches in width and 1.5 inches in height.
  3. Design your banner using WordArt, Text boxes, ClipArt or digital Photos.
  4. Save the Banner as a JPEG file.
  5. To upload the Banner into Blackboard, select Customization in the Control Panel area.
  6. Click on Style and scroll down to Select Banner, click Browse and Select the JPEG file of the Banner you created in PowerPoint and click Submit.

Creating a Module Page and Making it the Course Entry Point

Each new course has the option for instructors to enable a Course Module Page. The Module Page contains the modules that are designed to provide students with information on what has changed in the course since they last visited, what items require attention and what items are past due or due in the near future. Instructors can modify the course home page to meet their needs. For those instructors who prefer to have the Announcement as the course entry point they may do this easily by changing the entry point.

To Create New Module Page

  1. Click the “+” on the Course Menu and Select Create Module Page
  2. Type in the desired title for the page and click Submit.

To Make the new Module Page an Entry Point

  1. Select the Customization tab under the Course Management Control Panel.
  2. Select Style.
  3. Scroll down to Select Course Entry Point, pick your desired page, and click Submit.

Update Your Contact Information

The Faculty Information link should contain information students will need to contact the instructor.

This includes email, office location and office hours. Instructors may also add notes and upload a picture.

  1. Select Tools on the Course Menu.
  2. Click on Contacts
  3. Select Create Contact, complete the template and click Submit.

Upload Your Syllabus

The course syllabus and all revisions should be located in the Syllabus area located on the Course Menu.

  1. Select Information under the Course Menu.
  2. Click on Build Content and select Syllabus.
  3. You may upload an existing file or create a new syllabus. Once completed, click Submit.

Update Deadlines, Dates, and Materials

Go through all Course Content and make sure all URL’s and documents are current and reflect the current semester.

Post a Welcome Announcement

In your welcome message you may want to include the date/time of class, a brief course overview, instructor’s name and contact information, any textbook information, as well as how you intend to use Blackboard. There are several ways to post Announcements in your course.

From the Control Panel area:

  1. Select Course Tools.
  2. Click Announcements link and Create Announcement.
  3. Fill in the Subject and Message fields and select the appropriate Options.
  4. Click Submit.

If your course opens to its Home Page and your Announcements are located within the Announcements module:

  1. Select Tools on the Course Menu.
  2. Click Announcements link and Create Announcement.
  3. Fill in the Subject and Message fields and select the appropriate Options.
  4. Click Submit.

If your course opens to an Announcements page:

  1. Click Edit Mode ON.
  2. Click Create Announcement.
  3. Fill in the Subject and Message fields and select the appropriate Options.
  4. Click Submit.

Getting Help with Blackboard

If you are new to Blackboard, please take a look at the Faculty Tutorials »

For additional assistance, please take advantage of these resources:

  1. CTC Training Classes
    The Computer Training Classroom (CTC) offers training to the entire SHU community on all university supported software. We are located on the lower level of the Walsh Library in room 154B. Training sessions are offered face-to-face in the CTC throughout the year. Sessions are also offered online that allow participants to attend from a remote location; all that is needed is a computer and internet connection. Group training, e.g. department or student groups, can be scheduled by special request. Training Topics are categorized under these five main headings – Blackboard, Research Support, IT Basic, Teaching & Learning, and Productivity. For a list of available courses, please look at the CTC website »
  2. Technology Service Desk
    The first point of contact for any technology related question or problem is the Technology Service Desk. Contact the Service Desk: