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IN > OIEI > ID&S > Step-by-Step Tutorials

First Steps to moving your course online

First, a question: Do you mean online synchronous (live, via Zoom or Collaborate Ultra) which became very common during COVID, or do you mean online asynchronous traditional (term based, with cohorts of students being guided through the content by the instructor) or online asynchronous competency based (personalized learning, where students move at their own pace more independently) because they are all somewhat different. We do it all, but we're going to focus on online asynchronous traditional, because it's the most common model and, in many ways, the easiest to master.

While the tendency is to want to record your lectures, or upload your Powerpoints, and change as little as possible, there are more effective, and much easier, places to start.

    1. Start by building content and assignments in Bb Learn.
    2. Create short (less than 5 minute) Kaltura recordings with engagement activities in between.
    3. Poll your users about their bandwidth and computing capabilities (webcam, microphone) before doing high stakes live online activities.
    4. Use Collaborate for office hours and other low stakes synchronous connections to test bandwidth
    5. Use Zoom only after mastering these other techniques.

There are a few easy first steps you can take to begin moving your course online. Here are two that will take you less than ten minutes. If you get stuck, contact LMS-Faculty-Help@nau.edu or call 928-523-5554.

Here's a nice infographic with some good advice from Alison Yang.


1. Upload your Syllabus

Let's assume you've already got a syllabus and it's a Word doc. Or, if you're starting from scratch, NAU has a new syllabus template you can use.

Option A (easier): Upload your syllabus document into Bb Learn. Watch the video.

Option B (better*): Copy/Paste your syllabus text onto a Blackboard page.

    1. On your computer, open your syllabus in Word.
    2. Choose Edit/Select All (Control-A), and then choose Edit/Copy (Control-C).
    3. Log into Bb Learn (bblearn.nau.edu) with your NAU credentials.
    4. Find your course in the list. (Every NAU course has a pre-built Blackboard shell.)
    5. In the upper right, turn on Edit Mode.
    6. Choose Build Content/Blank Page
    7. Paste (Control-V) the previously copied syllabus text and click Submit.

*Why is Option B better? Students don't need to own Word or download the syllabus to view it. Future changes to the syllabus can be made directly in Bb Learn.


2. Build a Table of Assignments

A table that lists assignments all in one place, with due dates and point values, can help your students stay organized and set priorities.

Option A (easier):

    1. In Microsoft Excel, create a table of all course Assignments, Due Dates, and Point Values.
    2. Log into Bb Learn (bblearn.nau.edu) with your NAU credentials.
    3. Find your course in the list. (Every NAU course has a pre-built Blackboard shell.)
    4. In the upper right, turn on Edit Mode.
    5. Choose Build Content/File
    6. Browse your computer for the Excel file and upload it.
    7. Click the Submit button.

Option B (better*):

    1. In Microsoft Excel, create a table of all course Assignments, Due Dates, and Point Values.
    2. Select the table data, and choose Edit/Copy (Control-C)
    3. Log into Bb Learn (bblearn.nau.edu) with your NAU credentials.
    4. Find your course in the list. (Every NAU course has a pre-built Blackboard shell.)
    5. In the upper right, turn on Edit Mode.
    6. Choose Build Content/Blank Page
    7. Paste (Control-V) the previously copied table data and click Submit.

*Why is Option B better? Students don't need to own Excel or download the document in order to view it, and future changes can be made directly in Blackboard. Here's a quick reference to the built-in table editor's functions. There are additional table functions available by right-clicking on a selected cell or group of cells.

quick tips table editing


Next Steps: After you've gained some experience, try one or more of the following next steps.

ELC tutorials cover many of Blackboard's most commonly used functions.

Use these links for NAU developments on COVID19, and ITS tips on working remotely.