First Week Readiness Guide

Follow the detailed steps below to prepare your online course for students.

Just want a short, printable list? Open this Online Course Checklist.

Before Term Begins

Prepare MyMHCC

  • Navigate to the MyMHCC homepage of your online course.
  • Set up the landing page with a single custom content portlet.
  • Add a message with a link to Bb Login.
  • You might include your course log-in/admin drop policy here, outside of Blackboard.


MyMHCC course homepage with login message and link to Blackboard alt text
Sample MyMHCC course message for online students


Prepare Bb Course List

Edit Course Content

  • Use date management to update all availability and due dates
  • Update your syllabus and the first week or two of lesson content.
  • Ensure all quiz, assignment, and test availability dates are accurate
  • Hide course tools you don’t use. Course Menu/Course Tools/Hide-Show Toggles
  • If you still have Dashboard in the course menu, delete and replace with Calendar. Course Menu/+/ tool link/select from the drop-down menu

In Student Preview

  • Read your syllabus and follow all links to ensure they’re live and open in new tabs
  • Complete any tasks required to release content such as marking reviewed or taking a syllabus quiz
  • Make sure your first lesson releases as designed
  • Check for obsolete or incorrect information (BIG HINT: if your syllabus tells students to contact Cat Vogt for WebCT support, it’s time for an update.)
  • If you have quizzes, activities or assignments, follow links to confirm they open and work
  • Click on My Grades and note any incorrect assignments or duplicate total/weighted total columns

In Blackboard

  • Edit/cleanup Grade Center as needed. Grade Center 911
  • Edit and update your welcome message on the discussion board. (Editing the post sets the current date and removes “from anonymous”.
  • Delete all old forum posts

*** You may decide you want to save some posts for reference or examples. If so, create a duplicate forum and hide the old one with useful posts. If the old forum was graded, be sure you go to forum settings and remove points.

  • Set SoS Forum so members can subscribe.
  • Subscribe to the SOS forum
  • If you use group discussions, clear all old posts in these areas

After Term Begins

In Blackboard

  • Email students to confirm they’re checking their Saints email
  • Ensure this Saints email information link is in your syllabus
  • Use “last access” column in the grade center to check for non-participating students.
  • Drop no-shows and add wait-listed students (Hint: Use discretion when considering late adds.) Not sure how to add or drop? Read this post Adding and Dropping Students
  • Submit your first-week attendance by Sunday midnight (10-week courses)

TIP: Before re-adding desperate, dropped no-shows, take a moment and check student transcripts. A previous term of failed online courses might indicate a questionable situation.

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