Show us your semester kick off announcement!

Discussion created by helen.keier on Jan 19, 2018
Latest reply on Jan 29, 2018 by helen.keier

I'm loving the collaboration and ideas on the Show us your course template! thread, which led me to wonder about semester kick off announcements.  I maintain two listservs at my college - one for all instructors who use Blackboard (if they make their course available, I subscribe them) and another for instructors in our completely online degree programs.  There is some overlap in the lists, but I haven't gotten any complaints.  At the start of the Fall and Spring semesters, I send out a templated announcement to each list.  I'm wondering if anyone else does the same or something similar, and if so, what's in your announcement?  FYI, CUNYfirst is our Peoplesoft CMS installation.  Here's mine...



Dear Colleagues,


As we begin the Spring 2018 semester, I’d like to offer a few reminders:


1. All Spring 2018 course shells have been created in Blackboard.  If you are missing courses when logging into Blackboard, please log into CUNYfirst and check whether the course is listed in your schedule.  If the course is not listed in CUNYfirst, please have your department reach out to the Registrar’s Office to update the course assignments.  Due to data processing requirements we cannot make this change directly in Blackboard.  Changes to course rosters in CUNYfirst (including faculty) are typically reflected in Blackboard 24-48 hours after the change is made.


2. All courses are created with an “Unavailable” status and students cannot see courses until they are made available by their instructors. This setting must be changed when you are ready for your students to see your Blackboard course. 

To make your course available:

• Place your course into Edit Mode by changing the toggle to ON.

• Expand the Customization section of the Control Panel located in the left menu.

• Select Properties.

• Under the third section of the Properties page, Set Availability, click Yes to make the course available to users.

• Click Submit.


3. As the semester begins, we strongly encourage all faculty to check their course enrollments to verify that their students have email addresses in Blackboard.  The process that brings data into Blackboard sometimes picks up the information for new students before email addresses are entered into CUNYfirst and before campus email accounts have been created. Additionally, we replace all non-CUNY email accounts in Blackboard with school issued email addresses.  Email updates for blank and non-CUNY email addresses should be corrected by the second week of classes. However, please note that Blackboard does not update email addresses from other CUNY colleges so these persist in the system and can be updated manually by the account holder using the Update Email link on the Blackboard Home tab. Using the Update Email link will require the use of a CUNY email address.   You can view your students’ email addresses by selecting the Users and Groups header in the left-side Course Management menu and then clicking on Users (your course must be in Edit Mode).  We recommend that all faculty ask their students to actively use their campus email and to edit their email addresses in Blackboard to reflect that. 


4. The CUNY-wide Blackboard Resources Website is available at www.cuny.edu/blackboard and features information and documentation for both faculty and students.  The site features news, tutorials, additional resources, and contact information. 


5. We have replaced our Faculty workshops with scheduled one-on-one and group sessions.  Please feel free to email us at blackboard@jjay.cuny.edu for more information.


6. Student Support for Blackboard is provided by the John Jay Online Blackboard Support Center.  Students should be directed to contact us through blackboardstudent@jjay.cuny.edu and through the Blackboard Support Center at 212.484.1197.  We are also available for in-class visits, should you want to schedule a demonstration of Blackboard for your students. 


7. At the end of the Fall 2017 semester, Blackboard Support moved to rooms 7.65.33 – 7.65.36 in the New Building. 


8. Turnitin has been integrated into Blackboard.  We encourage you to use the integrated version, rather than the Turnitin.com website.


Please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues and to let us know how we can help you have a successful semester. 


Helen Keier, MS.Ed

Manager of Support Services, John Jay Online

John Jay College of Criminal Justice - CUNY