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Prepare and Teach Your Course

Instructor working at computer

Follow the steps below to set the stage for a smooth semester for you and your students. 

After completing the steps on this page, review Tips for Teaching Online Courses.

Prepare Your Course Site

  1. Personalize your course Overview page. Use the text editor to display a picture of yourself with a welcome message and contact information, an attention getter, or something interesting related to your content. Consider reinforcing the overall goal of the course and expressing your willingness to help students anytime they need it.
  2. Introduce yourself. Make sure the course includes a short introduction to yourself in the first lesson or module (or in the Start Here lesson if your course has one). Sharing your background information in a short video or using pictures and text can help students feel more connected to you and to the instructional experience ahead. If you record a video, post it to Mediaflo and note these recording tips.
  3. Make your Overview page the first thing students see when they enter your course by positioning it as the first tool in Site Info: Tool Order.
  4. Update and post your syllabus. (Some courses may have a draft you can start with in the Syllabus tool.)
  • If you have a Syllabus Quiz in Assessments and you change policies or procedures, make associated changes in the Syllabus quiz.
  • Update any due dates and double check the points for graded assignments and assessments.
  • Add online meeting dates and times if you plan to conduct online meetings.
  1. If you plan to use a new edition of the textbook, check to see if references to page numbers in the syllabus, Learning Modules or Lessons, Resources (including any documents), or Assignments need to be changed.
  2. Create groups if students will submit assignments as a team. You can assign specific students to a group after the course begins.
  3. In Assignments, check points and set dates and times to match those you added to the syllabus. Choose your desired grading and group submission options and post each assignment.
  4. If the course has Assessments, make sure the points for each item are correct. Ensure that scores will be sent to the Gradebook before publishing each assessment. Also publish the Student Perceptions Survey.
  5. Publish forums in the Forums tool. If Draft is noted by a Forum title, click Forum Settings to the right of the title, scroll down, and click Save.
  6. Check your Gradebook for any missing items. Graded topic forums must be manually added.
  7. To conduct online meetings or hold virtual office hours, visit Online Meetings to obtain an account and learn more about scheduling sessions. Once you have a meeting link, send it to your students in an announcement or post the link to an appropriate page in your course site.

Teach Your Course

  1. Post a warm and positive welcome message in TRACS by the first day of the semester. Set your announcements to be sent as emails to your students.
  2. Publish the site. For help, look under the Manage Access section in Site Info.
  3. Assign team member(s) if students will work in teams or discussion groups.
  4. Be sure to also check out these tips for teaching online courses.

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