Center for eLearning

eLearning Quick Start Guide

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Welcome to eLearning at Cleveland State University! Whether you are planning to teach a fully online course, a hybrid course or use a Blackboard course shell to enhance a face-to-face course, the Center for eLearning can provide you with services and assistance to achieve your instructional goals. 


CSU uses Blackboard Learn, which is a Learning Management System. A Learning Management System (LMS) is an application used for the development and delivery of online course materials and fully online courses. Blackboard Learn is self-contained, with all of the functions for designing and delivering online courses available in the LMS including: the development of materials, communication and instructor functions. 

Access to Blackboard Learn at CSU is automatic. When you are added to the University’s PeopleSoft system and assigned to teach a course, you will automatically receive a course shell for each course on Blackboard Learn.  Your PeopleSoft authentication credentials (same as for email, CampusNet) are used to login to Blackboard Learn. Students are automatically enrolled into courses. Once they register in CampusNet, they see their courses in Blackboard the following business day. 


Blackboard Learn works with most recent operating systems and Internet browsers. However, it is important that you check the technical requirements as browser versions change frequently. Learn more about technical requirements.

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If you are new to online teaching, you essentially have two learning tasks: (1) Learn how to best present your material online and (2) Learn how to navigate the LMS and design and deliver your course within it. Here are a few suggestions/tips to get started: 

  1. Have a plan for your course –   
    • Develop a detailed syllabus with course objectives – what will the students take away from the course?
    • Chunk your course into units or modules (weekly, by topic, etc.).  All materials the students will need for each module should be available within that module on Blackboard.
    • Create learning objectives for each module and make sure that all of your materials and assessment of student activities align with those objectives.
    • Write clear instructions for students and set expectations from the beginning of the course. Use one of the course templates (see #3 below) developed by the Center for eLearning to help design your course to ensure that it includes all necessary information for students.
  2. Use an existing course shell –
    • If the course has been taught before using Blackboard, it is possible that we can give you access to a previous Instructor’s content with their permission and/or the permission of the Department Chair. Content can be copied directly into your course shell.
  3. ​Use a “template” course shell – The Center for eLearning has a CSU Online template available to faculty. The template is designed to help build a course that meets Quality Matters (QM) standards. The QM Program is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process to certify the quality of online courses and online components. Courses are designed and reviewed with the help of the QM rubric. See
  4. Review Blackboard Help’s Getting Started section to familiarize yourself with the Blackboard Learn environment –
    • The link contains information on course components, working with text and online teaching strategies.
    • Blackboard help tools, video tutorials and more are available from within your Blackboard course shell. Look under the Left Navigation -> Control Panel -> Help.
      • Note: Using the Help link in the upper portion of the left navigation pane will take you to student help, which may not be very helpful to instructors. Familiarize and utilize the help tools for instructors. They are straight forward and contain easy to follow guides for all aspects of Blackboard Learn.
  5. Participate in the online Faculty Online Teaching and Design course or attend eLearning workshops or open office hours located at:
  6. Make an appointment to come in for a one-on-one session with an instructional designer or eLearning specialist. We can introduce you to Blackboard Learn, show you our course templates and help design your course for optimal usability and results.

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Many different types of resources and media make up courses that are online or online components and these vary from course to course. The Center for eLearning provides tools to instructors for lecture capture, synchronous web conferencing, voice tools and more. Visit our Technology Tools page for a complete list of tools that can be integrated into your Blackboard Learn course.

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  • Self-Help
    • Blackboard Learn has dedicated Instructor Help pages. These pages are available directly from Blackboard Learn or from within your course by using the Help link in the lower section of the left navigation pane (under Control Panel).
    • The 24/7 Online Support Portal contains articles for frequently asked questions.
  • Center for eLearning: Instructor help is available –
  • 24/7 Phone Support: The call center is primarily for students, but some help on basic questions can be provided for faculty during non-business hours. Call 216.687.5050, Option #2.
  • 24/7 Chat Support24/7 Blackboard Support Live Chat is now available. 
  • Password: If you have forgotten your password, visit the CampusNet Password Reset page or call 216.687.5050, Option #7 to speak with a call center representative.

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