Here’s our top ten things to get organized for teaching as the semester approaches.
1 If you are using Blackboard, remember to make your course available (when it’s ready for viewing!). The default setting for a course shell is “Not Available”. Look for the Course Management box at the bottom left, click Customization > Properties > Set Availability > Yes.
Last year, almost half of the Help Desk visits were from students who could not see their courses in Blackboard. Ask your students to contact you if they cannot see their course in Blackboard. (see item #2 below).
2 Reach out to your students before the semester begins. Learn how to email your students from CUNYfirst.
4 Refresh your memory about how to use the tech-enhanced classrooms around campus by viewing OIT’s tutorials (this is a MyQC link; you will need your QC user ID and password). Visit OIT’s Training & Technology page for additional information.
Make sure you have access to the classroom. Contact your departmental office to ascertain how to access your assigned classroom (card swipe or key). If the room has card swipe access, make sure your QC ID card is activated. For key access, contact the Main Gate Security at 718-997-5912.
5 Check in with the online book store to confirm that the books you have ordered for your class are available. Use your CUNYfirst credentials to view your selections, or mark your course as “no books required.” Textbook information entered through the bookstore will automatically update your course in CUNYfirst. Consider having the library place a copy of the book on reserve for your class. You can request that with this online form.
6 Check your class rosters to see who’s enrolled in your class.
7 Jog your memory about how to use CUNYfirst to report attendance and put a reminder in your calendar; you will be asked to submit verification of attendance rosters beginning the third week of classes.
8 If you used Blackboard last semester, take the time now to make an archive copy of your courses. An archive copy includes student performance records, which is different from exporting a course package so you can import it into a blank course shell. Exporting a course from last semester to recycle this semester might save you lots of time; you don’t have to recreate materials you will be using again.
9 Get your syllabus photocopied, and don’t forget to give a copy of it to your department for its assessment files, keep a copy for your own files, and maybe put a copy on your professional website or on your course website.
10 Visit the New Faculty Orientation post on our website and get acquainted with some of the folks around campus who can help you get things done. Even if this is not your first semester teaching at Queens College, you might learn something new.
How are you getting ready for the spring semester? Let us know in the comments.