Preparing for the first week of class
About this article
This article provides a checklist of technology-related tasks to help instructors prepare for the first week of classes. It is intended for all instructors who use technology to facilitate teaching and learning. Depending on the tools you use, some of the checklist items may not apply. Items in this checklist include links to more information. If you need any additional help, please contact TLT (email@example.com).
Complete pre-semester D2L tasks
If you plan on using D2L to support any of your courses this semester, here are some common pre-semester tasks:
- Request course merges. If you want to combine any of your individual D2L courses into one, larger course, you can now initiate these merges yourself. More information...
- Copy course components from previous semesters. Save time by copying forward various D2L course components from previous courses. More information...
- Check your classlist. From the Communication menu, select Classlist. Many students post pictures of themselves and this helps you put names with faces.
- Add course content. You can upload handouts, slides, and other course materials, add links to external websites, and develop a table of contents for your course. More information...
- Post a welcome message. Add a welcome message to your course homepage using the News tool. More information...
- Build the grade book. Create a spreadsheet in D2L for managing your course grades and presenting them to students. More information..
- Activate the course. Your students will not be able to see your course on their list in D2L until you activate it. You can also edit the start and end dates. More information...
- Send an email to your class list. You can send messages to your students from your D2L course directly. More information...
- Customize course homepages. If desired, you can customize your D2L course homepages to your specifications. This includes adding custom navigation and widgets. More information...
Visit your classroom
Even if you have taught in the room before, please visit your classrooms and test the devices and media you plan to use this semester. Plug your laptop into the data projector, try the document camera, test the audio, play a DVD or YouTube movie, and so on. If you are teaching via ITV, we would be happy to set up a test connection for you to use for practice (e.g., switch cameras, switch between audience cameras and your laptop). Note that we no longer support the use of overhead projectors or VHS tape players in classrooms. While these tools may still be found in some classrooms, we are no longer maintaining them centrally.
- Wireless projection. Many of our classrooms have projectors that afford the wireless display of laptops and tablets. If you are interested in using this functionality, please contact TLT.
- Smart boards and podiums. If you teach in a room with a SMART Board or SMART Podium, you will receive an email from TLT regarding the required Smart Notebook software and training. If you have any questions about SMART tools, please contact TLT.
Arrange for the purchase of course-specific tablet apps
Last fall, tablets were integrated into over 250 course sections. If you are asking your students to purchase a course-specific iPad app, we can assist you by purchasing the app through our Apple Volume Purchase Program at a 50% discount and passing that savings to your students. We can also distribute apps centrally using our AirWatch Mobile Device Management system. Please contact TLT (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any tablet-related questions or needs. When you are ready to order applications in volume, you can place your order by completing the iPad App Request Form.
Set up your virtual office
WSU provides access to a powerful web conferencing tool called Adobe Connect. Instructors can use this tool to host scheduled, online meetings, office hours, and study sessions. It can also be used to cover unscheduled online meetings (e.g., on snow days). To use Connect, you must know your MnSCU StarID and password. Use those credentials to login to Adobe Connect and create a meeting.
Schedule custom student support
If you are asking your students to use technology this semester to complete a class activity (e.g., class project, group work), TLT will work with you to develop custom, course-specific student support. This could involve TLT-led workshops, online learning material, or some combination of live and online support. Contact TLT (email@example.com) to discuss your student custom support needs.
Select lynda.com courses
You and all of your students have access to the entire online course library at lynda.com. Lynda courses cover basic through advanced technology, graphic design, photography, and other topics. Consider using lynda.com content, either an entire course or selected instructional videos, as a required or optional learning activity for your students. Learn more about lynda and create an account. Contact TLT (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss how to set your class up as a group in lynda.com so that you can track your students' progress.
Request class storage
Course-specific, campus network storage space can be requested for the duration of a semester. This is one way to support the sharing of course-related files. A class store must be requested from ITS. More information...
Prepare your Top Hat activities
All instructors and students have access to our Top Hat campus license for supporting classroom polling, just-in-time teaching, and other active learning strategies. Students and instructors can use Top Hat any time, at no cost. Top Hat makes use of student tablets, smartphones, and laptops for audience response rather than handheld "clickers." If you are interested in using Top Hat or have questions, please contact TLT (email@example.com).
Identify your video production needs
If you are interested in creating videos to support your courses, WSU offers several solutions for both recording classroom activities live and recording videos in a more controlled, studio environment. Instructors can use such tools as Kaltura MediaSpace, Techsmith Camtasia, iMovie, and Adobe Premiere to capture and produce video content. Videos can be published to a variety of locations for online access. TLT can assist you with everything from recording your lectures and capturing student presentations and performances for assessment purposes to giving you tips on recording lecture material in the comfort of our studio spaces or your office. Please contact TLT (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions or need any help.
TaskStream Learning Achievement tools
If your students will be using TaskStream LAT this term for portfolios and/or field work, don't forget to contact the Bookstore and let them know how many student licences you will need them to order.