Happy New Year! A new course awaits…

African American female teacher sitting at her desk working on a laptop

Happy New Year!!

Hard to believe that another year has wrapped up and we’re past the holidays…and prepping a new semester! You may be like me or know someone like me–the Post-It lover. I have virtual Post-Its on my laptop and the real thing stuck on folders and around my workspace. I like lists. I have to stay organized and appreciate those notes. The same thing applies to my courses. I have to keep track of those little changes I want to make, and areas where students might have had difficulty.

This past year, I wrote about renovating an old home and finally moving in. Of course, the renovation isn’t done, and we’ll always find more projects while we’re living there. Our courses are just the same way….always undergoing change, needing a little redecorating, incorporating some new resources. It can be frustrating – and even overwhelming–to keep track of all those tips and ideas you wish you had when you start a new project.

So with the new year in mind, and those resolutions about being organized, or trying something new….here you go! Some helpful links followed by a course checklist.

  • Working on course design and thinking about ADA resources? Trying to write some alt text for custom questions? Check out these sites: Image Description Guidelines (Math) and Top Tips for ADA compliance. We have recorded materials on our product site, too, that might help. Visit our Training & Support materials. While you are there, check out the recent videos on the playlist; we have a new user interface and a couple exciting new features such as deep linking in Blackboard and the LMS Gradebook and MyLab integration updates!
  • Thinking about Adaptive tools and wishing you could learn more? Visit our recorded workshops page for recordings and learn more about SkillBuilder, the Companion Study Plan, and Personalized Homework.
  • Looking for course materials such as PowerPoints, TestGen files, and more? Visit www.pearsonhighered.com. Search your course materials, log in, and then download. It’s that easy!
  • Try out some apps such as Educreations, Doceri, Show Me, etc, to make mini lessons and helpful tools for your students.
  • While you’re on the training site, you’ll see that we’ve posted updated how-to lessons instead of one big guide, to help you find your answers more quickly.
  • Check out the Pearson Communities site and learn more about what your peers are doing. And check out our latest Case Studies–there’s always something new to give you some new ideas!
  • Remember we have student-facing videos about the math palette, graphing linear and non-linear equations, Skill Builder, Workspace, and more. Link the media into your homework to help students prepare for using new tools.

Course Checklist for a new semester                                                                           

(print and save this for your use later)

Menu Settings

Are your more commonly used tools near the top?

Course Documents

  • Did you upload an updated syllabus and other pertinent course documents?
  • If you post multiple documents, are they sorted by chapter/module for access?
  • If you use linking, have you checked to make sure your file/url links all work? Share a First-Day-Of-Class document to assist students in getting registered.
  • Use tools like the ability to upload PPT as PDF into your course.

Orientation information

  • Is your course information easy to locate?
  • Did you create a welcome video or use Class Live to do an orientation and save it for others to view?
  • Have you emailed a welcome letter or posted it in your campus LMS?
  • Did you update announcements?
  • Did you remind students of technology requirements and direct them to Browser check?

Assignment Settings

  • Are your due dates updated?
  • If you are using the Study Plan, did you set assessments to update study plan?
  • Did you set time for quizzes/tests, review options, lockdown, etc, using Change Settings for Multiple Assignments?
  • Did you modify settings for students with special accommodations?
  • Did you consider updating assignments with custom questions, modified learning aids, questions from other texts, or custom questions?
  • If you are using the LockDown Browser, has it been installed in all pertinent areas: classrooms, labs, testing centers, disability services, etc.?

Study Plan Settings

  • Is your Adaptive Study Plan enabled?
  • Did you modify Mastery settings as desired?
  • Did you modify Coverage/Scoring and drill to Study Plan Question detail to more closely align the review questions with course material?
  • If you use the Companion Study Plan, did you modify the number of objectives required for students to master prior to taking the quiz/test?

Discussion Board

  • Did you sort by topics or chapters for access to material?
  • Remember to adjust discussion post settings as desired.
  • You can even create new menu links to have pages with tracked discussion content as well.

Gradebook

  • If you are using offline items, did you add them to the gradebook so it displays all assignments?
  • Did you set your assignment and category weights/points as applicable?
  • Remember to “omit” assignment grades you do not want counted.
  • Did you post an announcement about the computation of grades?
  • If you are integrating with a Learning Management System, is that gradebook all set up as well? We have quite a few videos about gradebook functions on our playlist. Check them out!
  • Check out quick and advanced export options and watch out for Reporting Dashboard updates coming winter 2017!

 

Here’s wishing you a great semester!

 

About the Author
Diane Hollister

Diane Hollister

Diane Hollister has been teaching college courses since 1992. In June 2015, she resigned from her full-time position at Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pennsylvania, where all the math courses have undergone some level of redesign. She still teaches online there and now is part of Pearson’s Efficacy team, helping instructors to implement programs and strategies that bolster student success.

She is intrigued by neurobiological research and learning theory, and she was quick to adopt adaptive learning as a new tool in her courses. Not only does she strive to help her students succeed, but Diane enjoys the collaboration with her peers. She has taught a variety of courses and loves learning how new technology and resources can help students be more successful.