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Start of Semester Tips and Checklist

The beginning of the semester involves many Blackboard activities related to your courses, so we would like to review some of the tips.

Activate your course in Blackboard Manager 

Activate your course in Bb Manager. Courses are Unavailable to students when they are activated, to allow instructors time to update the content before students see the course. Prior to, or on the first day of class, follow these steps to make your course available to students. 

Welcome Students to your Course 

Create an announcement for students to see when they enter your Blackboard course. Select the Email Announcement check box to send a copy of the announcement as an email to students at the same time for double the impact.

Blackboard Ally - Check the Accessibility of your Syllabus & Required Readings 

Blackboard Ally is available to analyze the accessibility of your course content. Prioritize ensuring your syllabus and required readings are accessible and videos are captioned. Ally also automatically provides Alternative Formats to students for many files (Word, PowerPoint, PDF, etc) that are posted. To learn more about improving your content accessibility and the types of alternative formats view the Blackboard Ally knowledge base page

Clean up your Course Menu 

Delete menu items that are empty and not being used. Make sure you have your menu set up in the order you want students to follow in viewing course materials. 

Copy Additional Content from another Course

After copying a course from a previous semester, using Blackboard Manager, you may find you would like to copy a folder or a couple files from another course. You can quickly, selectively, copy specific areas.  The Course Copy Option is one of the most convenient and useful features of Blackboard, and usually involves just a couple of clicks of your mouse and less than five minutes to complete. As a best practice, once your course has been copied, check to make sure all your links are working properly and delete any old or unused content.  

Grade Center in Blackboard 

As you create graded items within your course, these are added to the Grade Center in the order that they are created. You can manage the graded items and order them accordingly within the Grade Center by going to Manage > Column Organization.  You can then grab and move your items into the order you want and this will automatically reorder the items in the Grade Center view once you hit submit. 

The Grade Center is where you will view and grade your student’s submissions. There will be an exclamation point next to a submission that is ready for grading if you are looking at the Control Panel > Grade Center> Full Grade Center.    You can also click on the Control Panel > Grade Center > Needs Grading to view only items that need grading.   

Be a Student in Your Own Course 

Click the Student Preview “eye” icon in the upper right of the Blackboard screen to enter Student Preview mode. An orange bar appears at the top as a reminder of your Student Preview User role (the Student Preview icon appears next to the Edit Mode indicator). Using Student Preview mode, you can submit assignments/tests and save your activity as a student in your own course.  


Yuja allows users to post and/or record video content that can be used as part of your course. Students can record presentations and class work to your course for assignments and projects. YuJa offers several accessibility features, such as captions, transcripts, and keyboard shortcuts. These features are not only important for meeting ADA requirements, but can also help all students to better understand the content, using Universal Design for Learning guidelines. With fully-integrated auto-captioning, captions are automatically generated for all videos created in YuJa. The accuracy is around 80-90% and captions can be downloaded and edited (they don’t need to be downloaded to edit them – do you mean the text transcripts can be downloaded?).  

YuJa users should update the YuJa Software Capture application frequently to take advantage of new features and enhancements as they become available. 

Learning & Applied Innovation Center (LAIC) 

You can meet with anyone from our instructional design team to learn about incorporating other technologies within your course, to promote interaction, and increase student engagement.  Please visit the Learning & Applied Innovation Center page for more information about our wide range of services available. 

LAIC Updates

Check out the LAIC Updates page for updates to your applications and timely information. 

Keywords:Blackboard Manager, Start of Semester, Tips, YuJa, LAIC, pedagogy, organization   Doc ID:108212
Owner:Lori S.Group:IT Knowledge Base
Created:2021-01-08 13:57 CDTUpdated:2022-05-04 08:50 CDT
Sites:IT Knowledge Base
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