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Getting Started

What to Expect


If you are new to online instruction, this unit can provide some general information about what to expect, as well as what is expected of you as an instructor.

General Expectations

The following skills are essential for the online instructor:

  • Teaching experience
  • Solid knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject matter
  • Good organizational and time-management skills
  • Strong writing skills and comfort communicating in writing
  • Comfort with technology
  • Flexibility in teaching methods and approaches
  • A willingness to be responsive to students and provide timely feedback

In general, expect an online course to take more time and energy to teach than a face-to-face course. Developing materials that are suitable for the web, and choosing the best resources to go along with those materials, can be very time consuming, especially if you are preparing to teach the course for the first time. Once the course begins, keeping up with student communication and feedback is also an on-going time demand for the online instructor.

These resources provide additional information about what you can expect as an online instructor:
The tidbit icon Tidbit:
If time allows, prepare for the online course experience by shadowing another instructor who is already engaged in online teaching. This can be an excellent way to get "real-world" experience, form mentoring or collegial support relationships, and generate positive feedback for course development and improvement.
Resources Available to You

"Two heads are better than one" as the old addage goes; likewise, many of the most successful educational endeavors are collaborative efforts. You don't have to work alone and you need not reinvent the wheel; there are resources available to help you prepare for success as an instructor. Select this link to view available resources.

Assessment & Evaluation

What constitutes a great course or training program? Quality can be defined and measured; these resources provide straight-forward recipes for achieving the best possible learning environment. Select this link to learn more.

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Establishing a Teaching Philosophy

In this section you will find resources for establishing and writing your personal teaching philosophy.
Center for Research on Learning and Teaching - University of Michigan
This website includes an extensive list of sample teaching philosophy statements. View more information about Teaching Philosophies.

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Communication Online

The success and persistence of students in courses often depends on an individual sense of belonging to a group and the perception that the instructor is a real, invested, involved person. The unit will examine some fundamental best practices for communicating with students and building community in your virtual classroom.

As a result of reviewing the information in this section:
  • You will be able to list the Blackboard tools available for incorporating collaboration and communication into your course site.
  • You will be able to describe some types of course activities that can be used to foster communication and collaboration.
  • You will be able to list some rules of Netiquette - guidelines for appropriate communication online.
"Why foster communication and community in a distance education course?"

The dropout rate among distance education learners is an issue of particular concern among distance educators (Rovai, 2002). It is believed that the isolating factors of technology and the distances of space and time can leave learners feeling disconnected and less motivated to persist. (Rovai, 2002). To counter this, social and academic interaction with other students and faculty can play a strong role in motivating the learner to complete a course (Chickering & Ehrmann, 1996; Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Tinto, 1998). As with traditional face-to-face learning situations, the learner benefits from a sense of belonging and a confidence that the instructor is truly interested in his/her individual success (Case, Bauder & Simmons, 2001; de Villiers, 2001; Garrels, 2003) Interaction, most especially with the instructor, also affects student perceptions of satisfaction with the course (Beard & Harper, 2002). Established technologies can now allow for synchronous and asynchronous communication and can simulate classroom-like environments where time and space are no longer factors separating learners from each other, the content, or the instructor (Chickering & Erhmann, 1996; de Villiers, 2001).

The tidbit icon.Tidbit:
It may not be practical, feasible, or desirable to incorporate group or collaborative activity among students into some courses or training programs. In such a case, the learner will either need high quality interaction with you, the instructor, or access to a more robust software system that is independently interactive, such as is used with computer automated training.
Referenced Works

Case, D., Bauder, D.K., & Simmons, T.J. (2001). Decision making in the development of web-based instruction. Education at a Distance, 15(50).

Chickering, A.W. & Erhmann, S.C. (1996). Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as a Lever. AAHE Bulletin, October 1996, 3 - 6.

Chickering, A.W. & Gamson, Z.F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. AAHE Bulletin, October 1996.

de Villiers, G. J. (2001). Asynchronous web-based technologies to support learning. Master's Thesis, Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria.

Rovai, A. (2002). Building Sense of Community at a Distance. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(1), April 2002.

Tinto, V. (1998). Colleges as Communities: Taking Research on Student Persistence Seriously. The Review of Higher Education, 21(2), 167-177.

Communication Tips & Techniques

Whether you choose to engage your students in synchronous (chat or instant messaging) or asynchronous (email, discussion board, bulletin board) communications with you or with other students, the quality of those communications can go a long way toward ensuring student success. This may be as simple as regular emails to query them about how they are progressing and if they need any assistance. Such emails take only a moment or two to write, but may be received by the student as positive interest that can truly motivate or help you to catch problems early, before such problems become insurmountable challenges for the student.

Keep in mind that students may have already had access to your leadership and expertise, either through your classroom lectures and presentations or through your course materials. Online communications, such as chat sessions or discussion boards, provide the opportunity to assess student understanding and give them the occasion to query you further about concepts that may be challenging to them. Working as a "guide on the side," rather than as a "sage on stage," in this environment will most easily afford your students a voice.

Nevertheless, you do play an important leadership role in framing and moderating communications, especially when conducting group activities among students. An opening question can be one way to both challenge students to apply concepts, extend learning and also give you insights into their understandings. Asking students to define a term or provide a correct response to a question may solicit limited responses. Consider questions that challenge and extend thinking; students often are motivated to begin engaging in challenging and enriching discussions with one another in addition to responding to instructor prompts.

Finally, be clear with students about expectations concerning electronic communication, both in terms of etiquette and participation levels. For more information about Netiquette, review the "Netiquette" section listed in this site.

More information:
Deciding Which Tool to Use

Discussion board or live chat? Email or instant messaging? Here are some tips for deciding which tool will best match your needs.

Choose the Discussion Board if:

  • You need to be able to communicate with a group
  • You need to be able to communicate without consideration of time/schedule
  • You need to keep an archive of all communication that has transpired
  • You need to be able to search or sort messages

Choose Live Text Chat or Video Conferencing if:

  • You need to be able to communicate with a group
  • You need to live interaction, as in a virtual classroom
  • You need to keep an archive of all communication that has transpired

Choose Email if:

  • You need to communicate more privately with an individual
  • You need to be able to communicate without consideration of time/schedule
  • You need to distribute or share a file
  • You need to keep an archive of all communication that has transpired
  • You need to be able to search or sort messages

Choose Instant Message or Video Conferencing if:

  • You need to communicate more privately with an individual
  • You need to have a live interaction, like virtual office hours
  • You need to distribute or share a file (Instant Messaging only)
  • Archiving is not an important factor (some systems support this, some do not)
  • You do not need to search or sort messages

Quick List: Ways to Use Chat and Discussion

A short list of popular ways to implement communication tools:

Discussion Board:

  • Question of the Week/Day/Unit: A question to spart discussion about the topic. Avoid use of questions that have a "correct" answer, but rather, choose those that require debate, analysis, or opinion.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: A help or support area where the most popular or the most anticipated questions and answers are presented. This can reduce the amount of redunant communication that an instructor needs to employ; direct students to review this site before requesting assistance.
  • Student-led content areas: Assign a student or group of students to field a particular content area and use the discussion board to post information for others to review.
  • Group project planning: Create individual discussion boards for each group of students to provide them with "private" communication tools for planning and developing group assignments.

Chat or Video Conferencing:

  • Virtual Classroom: Regularly scheduled chat sessions can be a replacement for face-to-face class discussions or sessions. Avoid lecturing in this environment; it is the opportunity for the instructor to lead discussion and debate, and gauge student understanding.
  • Virtual Office Hours: Be available during a set time that allows students to come and go with questions.
  • Pre-Exam Study Sessions: Lead a review session for students preparing for a test. Preparing questions in advance to display in the discussion area in advance will be especially helpful.
  • Group project planning: Create individual chat rooms for each group of students to provide them with "private" communication tools for planning and developing group assignments.
Groups & Collaborative Learning

Links to resources for conducting and assessing group assignments and activities.


An old adage says that when it comes to online communication, "be as soft as silk when interpreting the words of others, and as hard as bamboo in editing your own words." Lacking the usual physical cues such as tone of voice, facial expression and posture, miscommunication is an easier feat online than off. Setting a few rules of conduct for your students can go a long way towards avoiding miss-steps.

  • Netiquette Home Page ( A good, established source of Netiquette information. One of the oldest netiquette sites on the Internet.

The most appropriate etiquette for online communication in educational settings is similar to that of written communication in general; when communicating, consider both the intent of the message and the potential received meaning. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and conduct communication as if it were to occur in a face-to-face setting, in the presence of others. Remember also, that spelling and grammar count; the quality of the message reflects upon the author. The more clearly the message is drafted, the more likely the intended meaning is received. Nonetheless, in live (synchronous) communications, some time saving shortcuts have developed. Some commonly accepted shortcuts are listed here.

Text Shortcuts and Corresponding Definitions
Abbreviation Definition
afk "Away from keyboard" - used to explain a lag in communication
LOL "Laugh out loud" - a reaction to something that is very funny
brb "Be right back" - use if you must step away from the keyboard for a moment
L8r "Later" - a very informal good bye
ttyl "Talk to you later" - an informal good bye
wb "Welcome back" - used to greet someone who has returned to a chat session after being "brb" or "afk"
ty "Thank you"
imho "In my humble opinion" - precedes a statement of strong opinion

To replace the emotions that are normally conveyed in personal conversation, emoticons are used. These type-written approximations of facial expressions can help to restore some of the emotional intent of the message. Emoticons are not recommended in formal communication.

Emoticons and Corresponding Definitions
Emoticon Definition
:) Smile
:-D Big grin
;) Smile with a wink
:-* A kiss
:-( Sad
:-P Sticking tongue out
:'-( Crying
:-O Wow! or I'm surprised!
:~ Also crying
:-| Grim or not sure how to react
:-)) Really happy
:- Perplexed or confused
:"> Embarrassed or blushing
:-x Also a kiss
lightbulb tidbit indicatorTidbit:
Sometimes the communication in an online environment can become very heated and even abusive. This is called a flame war. As an instructor, you serve a key role in mitigating and monitoring the communication environment of your course. Some great tips on how to spot and handle communication issues online are available in this article, Online education horror stories worthy of Halloween: A short list of problems and solutions in online instruction (Hailey, Grant-Davie & Hult, 2001).

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Course Design 101

Online instruction presents special challenges, but also provides opportunity for broadening student horizons, incorporating diverse learning materials, and tailoring information to the individual. This section will explore some fundamental concepts and considerations when preparing instructional material for online delivery.

As a result of reviewing the information in this section:
  • You will be able to describe some fundamental steps to designing and developing quality content for the web.
  • You will be able to draft a learning objective to match a topic of content.
  • You will be able to describe some criteria for determining the best mode for distributing content for a given learning environment.
  • You will be able to describe some principles of fair use of copyright materials as part of a course.
  • You will be able to describe some techniques for designing attractive web content.
  • You will be able to list some free resources for course content.
Can I get assistance and support?

Yes! You don't have to go it alone. Every course is unique and the planning and development process includes many steps and considerations. The Office of Teaching and Learning offers an array of services to support you, including:

  • Course content planning
  • Technology planning and support
  • Multimedia development services
  • Blackboard and other software training
  • Podcasting and vodcasting assistance
  • Reference and training materials online

We can help you determine what technologies are the best choice for your course and help you prepare. We provide workshops, online support information through this website, and personalized assistance by appointment.

Course Design as a Process

Offering a new course first starts with planning and design. Although each course is unique, there are five general steps to follow.

Assessment & Evaluation

What constitutes a great course or training program? Quality can be defined and measured; these assessment resources provide straight-forward recipes for achieving the best possible learning environment.

Keeping It Legal - Copyright & Fair Use

This section offers links to resources online that provide guidance about what you need to know about using copyright materials in your course. The NDSU Library provides comprehensive information on Copyright and Fair Use.

  • Creative Commons
    From their website: Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved." We're a nonprofit organization. Everything we do - including the software we create - is free. Creative Commons also provides a library of materials that are available for free use by educators for educational endeavors.
  • Stanford University's Fair Use & Copyright Site
    This site provides in-depth resources on all aspects of copyright and fair use as related to education. You will also find current cases, opinions, and legislation regarding copywrite laws.
Accessibility Information for College Instructors

Whether you teach online or in a traditional college classroom, chances are high that you will encounter students with disabilities who require accommodations. What are your responsibilities in providing the accommodations? How do you facilitate them? Here you will find information about the ethical and legal implications for college instructors, and also practical tips for a proactive approach to preparing and delivering course curriculum, information, and materials in the Youtube era.

Free Course Content Online

Links to multi-media and other academic resources for your course.

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)
An online learning and professional review organization, MERLOT also maintains an extensive library of educator-reviewed multimedia and course content for a wide array of subject areas.

MIT's OpenCourseWare
From the website: A free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world. It is true to MIT's values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.

The Open University, UK - OpenLearn
Free educational resources; available for download, modification, and re-sharing.

Creative Commons
From the website: Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from "All Rights Reserved" to "Some Rights Reserved." We're a nonprofit organization. Everything we do - including the software we create - is free. Creative Commons also provides a library of materials that are available for free use by educators for educational endeavors.

Verizon Thinkfinity - Literacy, Education and Technology
This resource was originally developed for use in K-12 classrooms, but also provides access to original source works and media files, including video clips of historic figures, biographies, literary works, and science and math activities, some of which are suitable as resource links for introductory college courses. The site is sponsored by the Verizon Foundation and partners include The Kennedy Center, National Geographic and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The site and partner content is fully educator reviewed, commercial-free and banner ad free.

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Course Design As A Process


Instructional design could be defined as the systemic activity of 1) identifying the needs of learners and instructional goals, 2) matching those with an appropriate approach and vehicle for delivering course materials, and 3) the development of the assessments that measure the degree of learning and the quality of the instructional content.

There are numerous instructional design models from which to choose; the model presented here is based loosely upon the principles of the ADDIE model:

  • Analyze the learner;
  • Design learning objectives and outcomes;
  • Develop instructional materials;
  • Implement, or deliver, the instructional materials; and,
  • Evaluate the quality of learning and instruction.

A photo of a teacher and a group of students.
Step 1: Learner Analysis

While all instructional and training materials have a common goal - to impart knowledge to the learner - the target audience and purpose of every project is unique. It is important to focus on the learner from the beginning of any development process. The information should be tailored to the abilities and needs of the learner. Further, consider the purpose of the material.

Addressing the following questions can assist in successful analysis of the learner:

  1. Who is the learner?
    Describe the average person for whom the material is intended. Is that person a homemaker who is learning how to use the computer for the first time or a specialized technician? Careful consideration of the target learner can mean the difference between information that is engaging and helpful, or inappropriate and confusing.
  2. What is the learner's level of pre-existing knowledge about the subject?
    Gear the material to the appropriate knowledge level. Does that person possess a high level of advanced education on the subject or will the material comprise that person's first exposure to the subject? If concepts are new to the learner, more attention to building a foundation for concepts and definition of specific vocabulary will be required.
  3. What is the learner's expected reading level?
    Write to the expected reading level of the learner. Written material designed for children will be less challenging than training material written for practicing doctors. Of course, the use of standardized spelling and grammar is especially key when writing for an audience for whom English is not a native language.
  4. What will the learner gain from the information?
    One good strategy is to develop a detailed outline of the information that is to be covered, prior to course development. This outline can later serve as a guide to keep the content developer on topic and provide a guide for establishing learning outcomes or objectives.
  5. What is the final format of the information?
    Consider carefully how the information will be used or in what form it will be presented to the learner. Will the learner be reading the information on screen, juxtaposed with other media such as images or video? Will the information appear in paragraph form or as bullet points? Is the information the main content of the viewable screen, or is it attached by a link to the main content? Will the content be read aloud by a narrator? It is essential to the success of the development process to carefully consider how the information fits into the project as a whole.

The following passages demonstrate how the same subject matter might be presented to two different target audiences.

Target Audience - 8th Grade Anatomy Student:
Most deaths from heart attacks are caused by ventricular fibrillation. Ventricular fibrillation is the term used to describe the interruption of the normal beat of the heart, which pumps oxygen-rich blood to other parts of the body. When the heart stops beating, other parts of the body begin to starve for oxygen. This oxygen starvation causes injury, especially to the brain. If a heart attack victim can receive emergency medical care quickly, he or she has a very good chance of survival.

Target Audience - Medical Student:
Most deaths from myocardial infarction are the result of ventricular fibrillation. For those patients who receive immediate emergency room medical care, the prognosis exceeds 90%. Delayed mortality will occur in 1% to 10% of cases.

Although these passages cover approximately the same information, the latter is written at a more challenging vocabulary level. Further, the college level example assumes that the learner is already somewhat familiar with the subject, as the writer makes no attempt to explain the cause-effect relationship.

Step 2: Scope and Sequence

As previously mentioned, one good strategy is to begin with an outline of the entire training series or course. Flesh out the details as much as possible, including section breaks or divisions, main topics and subtopics. This outline can also serve as a guide and a parameter for development of learning objectives. Learning objectives should match the course outline. Addressing the following questions can assist in successful development of a course outline:

  1. What is the entry point into the subject?
    It will be especially important to take all of the information gained from a learner analysis into consideration. The "beginning" of any course or training program will depend upon the prior expertise of the learner.
  2. How important is this topic/subtopic?
    The goal is to address the inevitable question before it is asked: Why do I have to learn this? The best training and educational programs successfully integrate content with learning objectives and assessment. In such environments, the learner can identify the expectations, can identify what topical ground will be covered, and has a sense of how he or she will be expected to demonstrate learning. If a particular topic is extraneous or if the learner will never be tested on the information, it may not be needed, or belong in a supportive or appendix area of the course. Conversely, if a topic is important, consider formalizing its importance with appropriate learning objectives and assessments.
  3. What is the exit point from the subject?
    As important as beginning a training or subject is the smooth transition out of the course; some options include summarizing the information or providing access to follow-up resources.

Photo of a chemistry professor.
Step 3: Developing and Publicizing Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are explicit statements about what the learner is supposed to gain as a result of exposure to the course. Learning objectives should be concise and measurable. Whether stated formally or informally, it is important to identify those goals that you have for your students or trainees. In an online environment, it can be especially helpful to clearly communicate these objectives; these will serve as a both a support and a bar. Students will know what to expect from the content, and students will also know what is expected of them as learners. Additionally, effective objectives can guide curriculum development. A highliter pen and a book.

In general, your learning objectives will be most helpful to you in developing assessments, and most clearly convey your intentions to your students if you use specific, measurable, action words to describe outcomes.

Example Learning Objective: In this lesson, you will learn about the area of regular polygons.

Better Learning Objective: After you complete this lesson, you will be able to calculate the area of a regular polygon when given information about its dimensions.

The word "calculate" in the second example indicates both to you and the learner that he or she will be expected to actively demonstrate mastery of this calculation. Resources for Developing Effective Objectives:

The tidbit icon.Tidbit:
Will the development of learning objectives have an effect on the scope and the sequence of the course content (Step 2)? Yes, it is possible that as you develop learning objectives, you may wish to modify your course outline. The converse is also true. Course design is an iterative process; in an effective course, all course elements work together and so it is reasonable to expect that as one aspect of the design takes shape, it will affect the shape of other elements of the course.
Publicizing Learning Objectives

Once learning objectives have been developed, publicizing them can be as simple as listing them in conjunction with each portion of the content as part of an introduction. This site provides an example of one way to publicize your expectations for your students. Here are some others:

  • Provide a non-graded pre-test as an introduction to each content section or unit. The questions will serve as clues to the learner about what topics will be covered and what information the instructor considers important.
  • Garner student input regarding course content options. Ask students to list what they hope to learn about the subject or field. Use a discussion board or chat session to solicit group interaction. Incorporate these expectations into the course design and tell students which suggestions will specifically be addressed.

Photo of someone inserting a compact disc into a computer.
Step 4: Selecting the Mode of Delivery

Powerpoint presentation or text on screen? Audio narration or printed words? Animation or slide show? Once you have clarified the course outline and developed learning objectives, production of actual course products can begin. How you plan to distribute the information will determine how you develop the information.

Use these questions as a guide for determining what mode of delivery is best for your course:

  1. How independently will learners make use of the information?
    Consider this continuum of delivery complexity, as pictured below.
    Continuum of delivery complexity depicts learner independance and software automation complexity versus instructor intervention and no automation of software.
    The more oversight of the course and student activity you as the instructor plan to provide, the less automated the software and course site will need to be. Conversely, the less human involvement and oversight you plan to incorporate into the course site, the more independently learners will work, and the more automated the course software will need to be. In this latter case, the software will need to take the place of the instructor; all of the teaching elements will need to be provided by the system.
  2. What are the technological needs and limitations of the learners?
    The answer to this question may warrant a revisitation of your learner analysis. For most course media considerations, this will largely come down to the quality of Internet access and the limits of the personal computer afforded to the average learner in your course. Those with high quality Internet access and well-equipped computers will generally be able to participate in media-intensive course information, including streaming audio, video and interactive communication sessions. By contrast, if the average course participant will be accessing the course website through a standard phone line, streaming audio or video may not be feasible. In such a scenario, it may be optimal to provide course media on a CD or DVD that is provided by mail to learners prior to accessing the course site.

    As important, don't forget to account for course accessibility to those with disabilities. For example, those with hearing impairment cannot consume audio content as readily. Couple images and sound with descriptive text-based information to fill in any gaps. Even those learners without disability will benefit from receiving information in multiple forms; in this way, learners may see and hear, which reinforces learning.
  3. What are the technological limitations for course media development for you as the instructor, in terms of resources and budget available?
    The more involved you plan to be in the individual learning activities and assessments of your students, the less complex materials may need to be - as previously addressed. In such a case, a well-notated PowerPoint along with live chat sessions may be appropriate, developed with relative ease, and not require any access to specialized equipment, software, technical personnel, or training. A fully automated learning environment, such as that required for independant coporate training, may require the development of streaming audio, streaming video, animations, and automated entry and exit features. Consider the possible need for access to specialized equipment, software, and technical personnel.
  4. What is the timeline/deadline for the course offering?
    The more complex the design and automation of the system, the more time it will take to implement finished course products. When planning out a timeline for project completion, do take the following into consideration: time needed for content experts to draft materials, time needed for materials to be translated into a working storyboard (in the event of automated course product development), time needed for development of prototypes or drafts of working models, time needed for proofing and revision, and time needed for follow-up testing and rollout.
The tidbit icon.Tidbit:
Need some experts at your disposal? Want assistance with the Instructional Design process? Need an expert to help you record audio files? Check the "Resources" section for links to experts right here on the NDSU campus!

A photo of an exam sheet.
Step 5: Assessment and Evaluation

Last, but certainly not least, it is important to determine not only the benefit to the learner as a result of interacting with the course, but also the course itself.

The tidbit icon.Tidbit:
Extensive resources for assessment can be found under the "Assessment" link.

In terms of course design, consider the following:

  1. How will course objectives be assessed or evaluated?
  2. At what points along the course path will learners engage in assessment or evaluation activities?
  3. Will progression through the course materials be mitigated by assessment or evaluation completion or performance level?
  4. How will students receive feedback about assessment or evaluation performance?
  5. How will course quality be assessed or evaluated?
  6. What aspects of the course will be considered as part of assessing or evaluating course quality (e.g. student matriculation and completion, student satisfaction, student achievement)?

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Course Maintenance

Your course is up and running, now what? Find out about grading and reporting policies and procedures, managing student access and rosters, and end-of-term procedures.

Managing Student Access

If you teach a course as part of an academic program, students may change participation status by either dropping (leaving) or adding (joining) your course. NDSU maintains specific deadlines regarding either of these two actions. In academic program courses, drop and add actions are processed electronically through the Campus Connection (Peoplesoft) system. These changes may not appear or populate through a course website (Blackboard). As the course instructor, from time to time, you will need to compare the course roster as listed in Campus Connection to your Blackboard roster and adjust student permissions accordingly.

Granting Blackboard Course Access to a Student

In general, students are added to your Blackboard course as part of the Campus Connection registration process. However, at some time it may become necessary for you to grant access to a student manually. Use these easy steps to complete the process:

  1. Select "Control Panel" from the navigation bar of your course site.
  2. Under the heading "User Management" (upper right-hand corner of screen), select "Enroll User."
  3. Choose an option to search by - last name or email address of the student you want to add.
  4. Select the "Search" button.
  5. Select the "Add" checkbox next to the name of the student.
  6. Select "Submit."
  7. The default role of any newcomer to a course site is "Student." Student permission allows the person to access any areas of your course site that have been made available. Students cannot access the "Control Panel" or any of the items that you have set to "Unavailable."
Grading & Reporting

If you are teaching a course that is offered for credit as part of an academic program, you must report grades for your students to the office of the Registrar. Every course term has specific deadlines for reporting these grades. Grade reporting is done electronically through the CampusConnection (Peoplesoft) system, which can be accessed online.

  • Grade Reporting Deadlines: A link to the NDSU Office of Records and Registration Deadlines page, which maintains up-to-date academic schedules.
  • Campus Connection: A link to the official home page for the NDSU CampusConnection System.
  • All About Grading with Campus Connection: A link to NDSU Office of Registration and Records listing grading policies and including step-by-step instructions for entering grades into the CampusConnection system.
  • Login information for Instructors: A link to helpful information about how to obtain a CampusConnection Username and Password and related forms from the Office of Registration and Records.

How do students view their grades in your Blackboard course website?

  • Method 1:
    • Login to Blackboard
    • Select the link to the Course site
    • Navigate to the location of the exam or assignment in the course site
    • Exams: The student will be able to see posted grades after he Instructor has completed the grading process, including any feedback that the instructor has provided
    • Assignments: If the Instructor has used the "Assignment" feature, students will be able to download a copy of the reviewed file that has been posted
  • Method 2:
    • Login to Blackboard
    • Select the link to the Course site
    • Select the "Tools" link or the "Course Tools" link on the navigation bar
    • Select "My Grades"
    • A view of the gradebook for the course will appear - selecting an individual score for an exam or assignment will reveal more detail about feedback and otehr information the instructor has provided (The Gradebook is private; a student will not see entries for other students)
  • Method 3:
    • Login to Blackboard
    • Select the "View Grades" link from the "My Blackboard" screen
    • Select the link for the desired Course
    • A view of the Gradebook for the course will appear - selecting an individual score for an exam or assignment will reveal feedback and other information the instructor has provided

How do students view their grades using Campus Connection?

  • In the Campus Connection system, final course grades are available as an "Unofficial Transcript."
  • Campus Connection Student Help Pages (Scroll down from top of page to see menu of available help documents).
Ending the Term

Dismissing Student Access from Your Blackboard Site
In general, student access to Blackboard sites is handled automatically; however, at some point it may be necessary for you to remove a student's access manually. Use these easy steps to complete the process:

NOTE: If you remove a student from a course site - ALL work, submissions, and other records associated with that student will be purged and cannot be recovered. Please use this feature carefully.

  1. Select the "Control Panel" link on the navigation bar.
  2. Under the heading "User Management" select the "Remove Users from Course" option.
  3. Select the "List All" tab.
  4. Select "List." This will show a list of all participants in your course site.
  5. Select the checkbox next to the name of the student/participant to remove.
  6. Type the word "YES" in the text box provided.
  7. Select "Submit."

Course Evaluation

Prior to the end of your course term, you will receive a link, by email, to the online evaluation for your course. This email will include step-by-step instructions for how to link the evaluation to your Blackboard course website. All evaluations include the six standard university questions.

If you have questions about course evaluations:

  • Contact the NDSU Group Decision Center at 701-231-6414.

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Office of Teaching and Learning
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7015
Campus address: Family Life Center (FLC) 314
Mailing address: Dept 2020 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-2020

Last Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2018 9:40:00 AM