The fall semester is upon us, even though it seems like we just got through May. Your SHSU Online team would like to extend a hearty “Welcome Back!” to returning SHSU faculty and your students. Here are a few suggestions for helping you start your online classes in the Fall 2013 semester on the right foot.
- Students gain access to their Blackboard courses on August 28 (unless you request earlier access for students). Students are in the course and you can e-mail them, but they cannot “see” the course until August 28.
- As a follow-up to the first point, you may want to send a “Welcome” email to your students using the send e-mail or announcement tool. You can attach a copy of your syllabus so they can get the text and course materials they need to start the semester off right.
- Consider giving your course a Virtual Office! You can create a discussion forum for students to post general course questions for your course and direct them there when they ask course-related questions. This cuts down on the amount of e-mail you may receive, as well the amount of repetitive answers you may have to give.
- It's generally a good idea to have your first week's activities ready to go. Studies have shown that the first week of an online course is key for your students. The activities and interactions that take place in that first week can influence the rest of the semester. If you get your students communicating, contributing and collaborating early on, they may be more likely to continue the practice throughout the semester.
- A great way to cut down on student confusion about course expectations and activities is to create an Expectations content item in your course. This part of your course can contain two sets of expectations - what you expect of your students, and what your students should expect from you. You can even have your students post that they have read and understood the course expectations.
Once again, welcome back to SHSU Online! Our team is always ready to help you make the very most of your online teaching experience, so please feel free to reach out to us at any time. We hope your 2013-14 academic year is off to a great start!