Teaching Online: Continuity Guide-Get Started
Every ACC course has a Blackboard shell/site that faculty can use to organize course materials, create active and collaborative activities for learning, and conduct assessment of learning.
The Teaching & Learning Excellence Division (TLED) and the Office of Distance & Alternative Education (ODAE) provide comprehensive support in course design, technology tools for teaching, and other high-impact practices that contribute to our Guided Pathways model at Austin Community College (ACC). We are available for various types of consultations to provide just-in-time assistance and support for your teaching. Review our robust options by visiting:
The quick start guide covers the basics of uploading your class syllabus, and course materials to Blackboard, creating assignments and assessments, and setting up your gradebook.
Guidance for Teaching Online
- Provide students an opportunity to share their concerns privately regarding their technical ability, access to instructional technology, and the internet for completing course assignments, activities, and assessments.
- Faculty can create anonymous surveys in Blackboard or Google forms to query student readiness for online teaching and learning.
- Communicate with students as soon as possible regarding minimum technology requirements: reliable internet connection, microphone, speakers.
- Remind students they have access to Blackboard mobile and encourage them to download the app on their mobile devices.
- Remind students to conduct a browser check on their devices prior to logging into Blackboard to avoid any technical issues.
- Remind students that they have free access to Office365 and Google Drive as an ACC student.
- Employ Blackboard communication tools such as announcements, Blackboard Collaborate, and discussion boards to promote student-to-student and student-to-faculty communication and interaction.
- Upload important resources for your course, such as your course syllabus, notes, assignment directions, video, grading rubrics, and relevant appropriate supplemental resources.
- Create a simple and easy to navigate structure in your course.
- Create an individual folder for each lesson, unit, or module. Keep all related content together.
- Make a separate Blackboard Content page to link or attach your syllabus, schedule, and other administrative documents.
- Outline and present content in each folder consistently and in a similar manner.
- Minimize the use of folders within folders.
- When sharing and uploading digital documents and resources be mindful of accessibility.
- Develop a plan early to address proctored assessments likely impacted by campus and testing center closures
- Share a course schedule with students online so they can track important deadlines.
- Employ the Blackboard gradebook to communicate student’s grades and progress in the course.
- Employ the Blackboard Mobile Instructor app to access Blackboard on a mobile device.
- Instructions for processes, assignments/assessments, discussions are present and “transparent”
- Make a plan for how to conduct assessments online
- Decide when assignments will be due and communicate with students.
- Student Group Work resources
Communicating with Students Online
- Blackboard is the course management system for Austin Community College. All courses have a corresponding Blackboard course accessible to students and faculty by logging in via their ACCeID. To initiate communication, a detailed email with instructions for how to access the Blackboard course along with the communication format should be sent to students to announce the transition to online.
- Set overall expectations for how students should engage in communications, this includes but not limited to:
- Student-to-student communications such as discussion boards, email, google hangout, etc.
- Faculty-to-student communications via email – let students know what they should include such as the subject line indicating the course title, signing their full name, and a naming convention for submitting assignment documents.
- Note: Students must use their ACCmail for communication.
- Specify your expectations for how quickly you will respond to online communication. Example: “I will respond within 48 hrs during the week. I will respond to communications received on Friday by Monday. I do not check my email during the weekends.”
- Share clear guidelines in the discussion prompt to help students understand your expectations for their contributions and interactions in the discussion board. These can include: writing style (e.g., formal/informal), number of posts required, including replies to other students, length of the initial response and response to other students (e.g., number of words), tone, and content (Is it answering the question? Helping the discussion move forward?).
- Provide specific instructions for how to create discussion thread and how to reply – include a link to a tutorial, if possible.
- Threaded discussions are recommended to allow students to respond to each other multiple times. Threaded discussions also help keep the discussions organized.
- Plan on providing feedback to students in the discussion board.
- Create discussion prompts that require students to practice critical thinking and apply concepts to help avoid repetitive responses.
ACC’s Blackboard Support is a comprehensive knowledge base available online to answer all your Blackboard questions in one place. Find step-by-step instructions for every feature in Blackboard, including how to create tests, quizzes, assignments, and surveys to facilitate high-stakes assessment or simply to provide students with guided practice.