Top ten things you can do before the start of the semester

Updated Jan. 22, 2016.

Here’s our top ten things to get organized for teaching as the semester approaches.


Make sure your classes are listed correctly in CUNYfirst, including the correct mode of instruction.


Refresh your memory about how to use the tech-enhanced classrooms around campus by viewing OCT’s tutorials (this is a MyQC link; you will need your QC user ID and password). Visit OCT’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.

8Check in with the Bookstore to confirm that the books you have ordered for your class are available. Go to CUNYfirst to enter the textbook information. Consider having the library place a copy of the book on reserve for your class. You can request that with this online form.

7Check your class rosters to see who’s enrolled in your class.

6You might want to reach out to your students before the semester begins. Learn how to email your students from CUNYfirst.

5Jog 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.

Screen shot of Blackboard properties pane for setting course availability

Screenshot of Blackboard Properties pane where you set course availability.

4If you are using Blackboard, the default setting for a course shell is “Not Available”. Remember to make your course available (when it’s ready for viewing!). Look for the Course Management box at the bottom left, click Customization > Properties > Set Availability > Yes.

3If 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.

2Get 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.

1Attend the New Faculty Orientation on Tuesday, January 26. 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. 

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