Beginning of the Semester Checklist

We recommend that faculty do the following at the start of each semester to get their Blackboard courses ready for teaching. If you need any support or encounter any issues please contact the Learning Platforms help desk.

Note: The help desk experiences an extremely large volume of calls at the beginning of the semester, discovering any issues now can help guarantee they are resolved in a timely matter.

Confirm your course is on Blackboard Learn

Every semester, a Blackboard course site is automatically created for each course offered by the University of Miami. Course sites become accessible to the instructor (also listed in Canelink) approximately eight (8) weeks prior to the published course start date.

Fall Courses are created around June 1st. Spring Courses are created around November 15th. Summer Courses are created around April 1st. Courses are unavailable to students until they are made available by faculty.

  • Access
  • Select ‘Courses’ from the left-hand menu.
  • Click the drop-down for 'Current Courses' to select the current term.
  • Locate and select your course.

Choose your course experience (optional)

By default, all courses will continue to have the same instructor interface, called the Original Course View, unless previously requested. All faculty have the option to preview the Ultra Course View, the new course experience, before the semester starts, or with a course shell (practice course).

Course instructors can only preview the Ultra experience with a private, closed course (e.g., before the semester starts) - this is called "Ultra Course Preview." Instructors can choose to return to the Original course, but only if they are still in Ultra Course Preview. If an instructor permanently converts the course to Ultra (selected the 'Use the Ultra Course' button) the course cannot be converted back to the Original Course view.

Request a course site merge or augment for multiple sections (optional)

It may be easier to merge or augment your course if you teach multiple sections of a course or have both graduate and undergraduate students in the same course. With a merged course site, you can post your course material on one, combined site rather than posting it on each section’s site separately. Alternatively, an augment maintains all of your original course sites and adds one additional course site with all students from your various sections.

Copy a previous semester’s course (optional)

If you are teaching the same course this semester that you have taught previously, you can copy that course into the current semester course.

Enroll supporting instructors in the course (optional)

You can enroll all other Instructors, Course Builders, and Graders into the course. If enrolled in Canelink, course instructors, teaching assistants and students are automatically enrolled into your Blackboard course site, although if there are issues you can contact us.

Add content

Add and edit content, create course materials and link to content within your Blackboard course or on external websites. Be sure to verify your contact information, textbook information, learning resources, and other publisher integration and third-party tools.

Prepare assessments

Set up or review existing assignments, and their dates.

Set up your gradebook

The gradebook (or grade center) allows students to keep track of their grades throughout the semester so they know exactly where they stand.

Schedule virtual class meetings

All Blackboard courses are equipped with Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra that allows instructors to schedule and manage and start or join a meeting all from within Blackboard. Students can then join upcoming meetings from their course.

New faculty will need to log in to with their CaneID (SSO:Single Sign-On) to activate their Zoom account before using it in Blackboard.

Preview your course as a student

With student preview, you can review the course content from a student's perspective. You can also validate course behaviors, such as viewing test behavior and how grades appear.

Make your course available to students

Post a welcome announcement to your course, including contact information, office hours, etc. and then send it to your students by email to let them know your Blackboard course is now available. Consider making the course available before the semester begins to provide students access to your syllabus, including required textbooks and technology requirements.

Create an announcement 

Announcements are a great way to introduce students to the course, and to share any vital information they may need to know. The “Announcements,” content area is the default landing site for a course page or linked on the left menu, meaning that students will be welcomed to the course site with the latest information and reminders.