My course is turned on, now what? If you’ve followed along with the first two tips in this series and realized that time is dwindling quickly, or the semester is already here, you are in luck. For this tip we have a quick—today or tomorrow—approach to what you can do for your course.

  • A bit of clean up may reduce your clutter and possible student confusion.
  • Add due dates to keep students on track.
  • Set end times for assignment submission to reduce late submissions.

Blackboard Cleanup

Adding due dates to Blackboard does not have to be daunting, you can do it all in one place! If you are using a stacked shell you need to turn on the tool but after that point you

  1. Go to Course Management > Course Tools > Set Grade Center Due Dates.
  2. Check the dates, times and whether your assignment is available to the student.
  3. If you make edits you will see a yellow triangle ; save your work.

This allows the student to stay on top of assignments; top of mind awareness comes into play because the “My Grades” area that many students visit routinely, shows your due dates. Many people work to deadlines. Deadlines help us avoid receiving a lot of items in the last week of the course. They may help students perform better in the course.

In a recent change to Blackboard, the student has the opportunity to see what is coming up by due date in this same view. Other students are used to using the Global Navigation Menu to check all of their courses and what is due.

Using “Calendar” from within the Tools listed on your Blackboard dashboard shows what is due when.

A quick tip for you, that I discovered while writing this, you can expand the assignment for your course and be presented with the option to edit the assignment. What a fast way for me to jump right to something I need to edit, or if items have been turned in to grade!

jump directly to items to grade by using the calendar tool in your main Blackboard Dashboard.

That’s my summary for Blackboard. If your mind is blown, don’t worry, the WordPress items are much tamer.

Best Practices with WordPress

If you’reusing WordPress as part of your online courseroom, please take the following steps:

  1. Students in your WordPress site:
    • Do you want previous students’ posts available as a resource for current students? If the answer is no, do not delete the posts, select them and turn them to ‘pending,’ or ‘draft.’
    • Do you want past students to be able to log into the dashboard? If the answer is no, go to Dashboard > Users and then Select all (except yourself). Choose Remove from the drop down and click the “Apply” button. There is another step, “Confirm Removal.” Now you’re done. Don’t remove yourself. Don’t remove this semester’s students.
  2. Navigation:
    • Test all of your navigation; remove old links or sections.
    • Add new pages to your navigation to make them easy to access.
  3. Dates:
    • Check your pages for dates and make sure they’re current.
    • You may want to have all of your dates on one page called course schedule or due dates.

Change your post to draft

 

If possible, have someone else look over your site. Often there is something we miss because Choices are Published, Private, Pending Review, Choose Draftwe have been working with the pages for too long. Fresh eyes are best.

Cheers on YOUR start to the new semester!

See the PDF for this Teaching Tip. 

Janene McMahan

Janene McMahan, M.Ed., is an instructional designer, Google Certified Educator, and adjunct faculty with 25 years of teaching expertise.  

vjmcmahan@alaska.edu