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Go Online (GO) Kit for ESI Faculty


CoVid-19 is forcing rapid changes in educational delivery formats. Many colleges and universities have canceled classes for an unspecified period of time and asked professors to move instruction online as quickly as possible. Below are five steps to help you get started quickly. While there are many tools that can satisfy each task identified below, only one tool is suggested so that you can focus on building your course quickly instead of investigating the many tools available. 

Contact your students and let them know how instruction will continue.


Send an email through your BeachBoard Course. Share your concerns for them, their safety, and the continuity of the course as you explain how the course will continue online. Help students remain flexible as your provide information on your course while you build it. This a great space to link to the specific student tutorials they need to navigate your online course, such as how to submit an assignment, how to participate in a discussion forum, how to take a quiz, and how to check their grades.

Upload all learning resources to a hosting site for easy access.

Uploading content directly to the learning management system may not be practical due to file size. Specifically, multimedia files may time out before the upload or download is complete, making them inaccessible to students. Upload your instructional resource to your favorite cloud service subscription. Consider the following:


Keep your Beachboard course simple.


With all the information available for building content in Blackboard, professors can easily become overwhelmed. The following course design skills will get professors up and running quickly with the course shell provided by the institution:

  • Create Learning module – From within the course, click the content tab. Creating learning modules simultaneously creates navigation to your lessons on the left side of the content page. The tutorial provided doesn’t match the universities version of D2L/Brightspace but it’s still helpful. For example, you may not see “add a module.” Instead, you might see a plus (+) sign in the same location area. You might create a welcome module to provide introductory information about the course – i.e. instructor Bio and contact information, welcome message, etc. You might create a module for each instructional unit or week of instruction. Click the “Add” button on the right side of the content page to add content to the specific module created.

  • Add Content – Create assignments and quizzes to assess student’s attainment of objectives, and a discussion to create opportunities to engage with peers and content. content items to share information, Once your content items are created, you’re ready to set up your grade book.

  • Make Your Course Available – By default, your course is not visible to students. After adding content, you will need to intentionally activate the course for students to see. Use the text editor to format assignment directions that include an objective, how to complete an activity, and the instructional materials needed to complete the activity.  Whenever possible, create links to documents so that students are not overwhelmed with large blocks of text.

Build community and engagement with students online.

Facilitate a sense of “being there” with and for students by helping them feel connecting to you as the professor and to their peers in the course. The resources suggested below have free services to create multimedia content that can be integrated into Blackboard through links and embed codes.

  • Create instructor videos to welcome students to your online course, introduce them to a unit of instruction, present a lesson, or explain how to complete an assignment.  Screencast-o-matic is a free easy tool for presenting information and narrating a PowerPoint.

  • Provide opportunities for students to communicate with each other about the lesson content. Voicethread is a simple tool, with limited free access (up to 5 Voicethreads), allowing everyone to be seen and heard in the online classroom through their webcam and microphone. Pose instructional questions and give students an opportunity to provide a verbal response. Short tutorials are provided.

  • Ensure students are viewing the videos you create for them by asking questions while they view a video. Playposit is a free tool that allows you to add questions to videos you host on Youtube and provides basic analytic data to help you monitor student access to the content you create. Short video tutorials and documents are provided. Contact the Faculty Center for Learning Technology to get an account.


Hold online office hours so that students can meet with you.


Students will need to know how to get help with the technology they are asked to use. They may have questions about assignments they are asked to complete. Using simple technologies like the ones shared here will allow you to provide the support students need if technical support from another source is not available. Consider holding office hours through a Zoom meeting or other conferencing tool to give students an opportunity to talk with you in real-time.

For questions or comments, let's connect through LinkedIn or Twitter


Adapted from UMBC's Go ONline Kit  

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