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Blackboard Course Setup Checklist: Instructors

This checklist identifies the tasks or steps you should complete in each area of the standard OHIO pre-loaded Blackboard course menu before making that course available to students. The menu appears on the left side of your Blackboard course window and is the cornerstone for the organization and navigation of your course.

Instructors should consider this checklist as a minimal guide for creating course content in Blackboard.

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Setup Checklist

Click each item below to expand.

Getting Started

Purpose: outlines specific instructions to students on how to begin the course


  1. Post a Welcome message to your students introducing yourself, the course, and specific instructions on how to get started in the course.
    • Your welcome message should:
      • help students become familiar with you and the course;
      • promote yourself as accessible, approachable, and a real person;
      • save you time by not having to field multiple emails with questions from students.
    • Sample text-based welcome message:

      Welcome to insert your course name here (ex. PSY 1010, General Psychology). My name is Dr xxx, and I am your instructor for this course. I am looking forward to working together with you this semester as we explore the various topics in our course. Take a moment to browse through the menu located in the left-hand margin of your Blackboard screen to become familiar with navigating through the course Blackboard site. Review the Blackboard and Technical Support information posted in GETTING STARTED to ensure you have the required equipment necessary to be successful in this course. Please also note the contact information and support resources listed and reach out for help when you need it.

      This course focuses on insert a brief overview of what the course is about and how it connects to other courses and their lifelong learning. Throughout the semester, we will interact with the course material through readings, activities, discussions, and assignments organized in weekly Learning Modules. You can refer to the syllabus posted in COURSE INFORMATION for a complete outline of our learning objectives, course schedule, and other relevant course information.

      Please check ANNOUNCEMENTS regularly for important messages and assignment reminders to ensure you have all up-to-date course information. If you have questions about course content, post your question to the Course Q&A forum located in DISCUSSIONS; anyone can respond to a question to help out another student. I will also monitor the Course Q&A and will provide feedback generally within 24 hours.

    • The Best Practice: Create a Course Introduction Video Bb Help page outlines how to create a video welcome.
  2. Include technical requirements for the course and a course etiquette/netiquette statement.

    Note: Many technical problems students encounter with Blackboard are related to the browser being used
  3. Provide relevant course resources and institutional policies
    • Academic support, library
    • Accessibility, Title IX

Purpose: Allows you to communicate directly with students


  1. Create a brief welcoming announcement directing students to the GETTING STARTED area of your Blackboard course.
    • Sample welcome announcement:
      Welcome to insert your course name here (ex. PSY 1010, General Psychology)! To get started in this course, please review all of the content located in GETTING STARTED. I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday!
  2. Throughout the course, post introductions to new material and upcoming assignments, reminders of due dates, updates of changes in schedule/content, and messages about current events relating to course content.
    • Sample announcement introducing weekly learning module (adapted from Dr. Elizabeth Wanless, Intro to Sport Analytics):

      Welcome to Week 3 Module 3!

      This week we will dive into Widget Analytics and focus our attention toward how sport organizations choose to collect the data they use to inform the modeling process. You will gain experience working with data in this unit. I hope you embrace it!

      Specificity is the name of the game this week; it won't help you to generally or vaguely hypothesize about the type of data you collect. Start thinking about the specific data collection strategies you want to implement at your organization or at an organization for which you would like to work.

      1. Awesome job on the discussion board last week. You developed a nice context for analytics adoption on and off the field. Grades are in. You will be happy with your scores! Set your expectations high for this week's discussion board. Utilize content to inform your posts.

      2. Start early with your first Widget Analytics data project. Let VoiceThread 1B walk you through assignment specifics. Be aware that learning new software can be a little overwhelming at first.

      3. We will continue the conversation this Thursday night 9pm EST. Send your questions in advance if you cannot attend the session.

      I'm looking forward to a great week in Intro to Widgets!


  3.  Learn more about creating assignments in this Bb Video: Create Announcements.
Course Information

Purpose: Provides an overview of your course and lists materials students can access throughout the term


  1. Upload your course syllabus. Learn more about adding your syllabus to Blackboard in the Add a Syllabus Bb Help Page,
  2. Add a short bio and provide your contact information. Include a communications protocol for response time and feedback.
    • When and how students should contact you 
    • Expected response time for emails 
  3. Identify required and optional textbook(s), technology, and course materials.
  4. Outline your grading guidelines, late work policies, and where to access grades in your course.
  5. Provide the course and final exam schedule and a reminder that due dates appear on the course calendar.
  6. Identify course resources, technical support, and institutional policies
    • Accessibility, Title IX
    • Academic support, library
    • OIT Blackboard Support, OIT technical support, publisher/add-on tech support
Learning Modules

Purpose:  Where you place your content into units or weekly modules


  1. Organize your course content in separate learning modules, adding activities and tools that promote interactive learning and collaboration.
    • Content you might incorporate include:
      • Readings
      • Videos
      • Files
      • Presentations
      • External Weblinks
      • Assessments
      • Assignments
      • Quizzes/Tests
    • Sample Learning Activity presenting reading an excerpt chapter:
      friendly announcement introducing a weekly module and activities to students
  2. Set the appropriate options for availability, tracking, and display dates and whether students will view the learning module's content in sequence.

  3. Learn more about adding content to your course on the Best Practice: Presenting Content Bb Help Page and Bb Video: Add Content to a Learning Module.


Purpose: Houses discussion board forum links with focused topics and places where students can pose questions


  1. Create a Course Q&A discussion form where students can post general questions about course content. Encourage students to jump in and help one another. Be sure to monitor the discussion and provide feedback.
    public Q&A forum monitored by instructor
  2. Consider the organization of your course. It is recommended you create a separate discussion forum for each learning module. Learn more on the Best Practice: Effective Discussion Questions Bb Help Page.
  3. Provide instruction or share this Bb Video: Use Discussions in Original Course View so students know how to navigate and respond.
Virtual Office

Purpose: For whichever technologies you use for connecting with students, you would provide links and instructions here (e.g. Teams or Adobe Connect are popular options). Virtual Office could also be used to host recorded video messages for students.

My Grades

Purpose: Provides a direct link to the students' view of their grades.

To learn more about what students can and can't see in My Grades, view Blackboard's student help page Grades.


Purpose: Provides a direct link to Blackboard Tools available to all students.

Blackboard's help pages provide a list of Tools that appear in this area.