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Getting Started Online with Blackboard

Quick Start Links  |  Plan  |   Adapt  |  Communicate

With the annoucement of University remote delivery, it is important to consider how you would continue your course in an online format using Blackboard.

Quick Start links


Consider adding a section to your syllabus or otherwise communicating to your students how you expect to conduct the course in the case of building or campus outage. Advise students to check and utilize their CSU email for all university communications.

Make your Blackboard course shell available to your students. Create a Blackboard presence for your course. At minimum, upload your syllabus and important course information. Add course handouts or presentations you use in class each week.


Review your course schedule and learning outcomes. Will any due dates have to change due to a campus outage? What learning outcomes must the students meet to satisfy the course requirements?

Be flexible. Make adjustments to your material and requirements to work with commonly used tools during emergency situations where there is less time to prepare and develop online content.

Identify changes or new expectations. Alert students to a new course schedule if changes are made.

Communicate with Students

Your communication with students will be imperative to ease anxiety and provide clear instruction in the event of an emergency. You’ll need to notify students of changes in schedules, assignments, and broader course expectations. Early and consistent communication can reduce anxiety, and alleviate the amount of repeat questions to be answered by you.  

Inform students early and at relevant times: Let them know right away of impending changes, even if you don’t have all the details, and when they will hear more from you. If the University’s messages are timed (e.g. this is the status for the next three days), then provide information to cover the same time period. You don’t want to overwhelm them, but do want to share timely information needed in the time frame at hand.  

Set clear expectations: Notify students of how you plan to communicate with them, and how often. The CSU Course Template has a sample Communication Policy you may want to employ. Be clear on what your expectations of the students’ interaction and response times are in addition to informing them of your own. Be clear in your written instructions for assignments.

File Get a copy of the Course Communication and Netiquette Policy for Course Continuity template in Word format here. Customize the highlighted sections for your course.

Consider your communication load: The likelihood of receiving individual questions that would be pertinent to the class as a whole is high. Consider sending replies to frequently asked questions to the class as a whole, or creating a General Questions discussion board in Blackboard that you instruct students to subscribe to. Encourage students to post questions in the discussion board so that they will be notified each time there is a question or answer posted rather than emailing you individually. 

Communication tools: Blackboard offers tools to allow you to easily communicate with your students. Using tools such as Announcements and Emails are the most direct way to contact students. As noted above, discussion boards can also be used as a communication tool.