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Faculty Development and Resources

The GIST

To Our Faculty,

Since 2015, The GIST has been an email blast sent to faculty at specific times during the quarter to remind them of time-sensitive tasks. To reduce the quantity of emails sent to faculty, The GIST has been moved here.

THE GIST #1 Beginning of Quarter

Two important documents are found at the bottom of this page: the “Statement of Academic Responsibility for Online Instructors” outlines the University’s expectations for you as an online instructor. The “Bb Course Setup” document is to help you prepare your courses if you have not done so already.

What do I need to do for Week 1?

  • Please encourage your students to use Course Communications > Ask the Course & Instructor for "public" messages and Course Communications > Course Messages for private messages--rather than email--to communicate with you. This will save you from having to maintain all email communication with students in the case where a student challenges a final grade.
  • Please log into your course EACH DAY during Week 1 to check the Ask the Class & Instructor forum and Course Messages and to address student questions or issues. Many of our students are first-generation college learners and/or are new to online. Establishing instructor presence and engagement in the course at the beginning is critical! Respond to your students in a timely manner is an essential component of instructor engagement.
  • Use the course announcements or other methods to remind students that they must meet the requirements for “active engagement” by completing at least one of the following no later than Thursday of week 2 or they will be dropped from the course. 
    • Submit an assignment (drop box),
    • Take a quiz/test/exam
    • Post to a discussion forum where they complete the assignment (NOTE: merely posting "I am here" or some similar attendance message not related to the assignment will not suffice).
    • Complete a third-party module that tracks student engagement (e.g. My Math Lab)

PLEASE NOTE that merely logging into the course without doing at least one of these four activities will not satisfy the federal definition for “active engagement.” Students dropped for non-engagement by the deadline above will not be reinstated into the course.

  • You shall receive an email from Academic Services on how to post student activity/engagement into the Faculty Portal to to finalize the student's enrollment into your course. This posting is referred to as "Census Poll" and is critical for establishing students" eligibility for financial aid. The message will include a handout (also provided below) with step-by-step instructions on running an activity report in Blackboard and posting student engagement/attendance in the Faculty Portal. This must be on Friday of Week 2 by 11:59 pm for any student engagement the first day of classes and Thursday of week 2
  • INCOMPLETES: If you have students from the previous quarter who are completing assignments for Incomplete (“I”) grades, all assignments must be submitted to you no later than Wednesday of week 2, unless you have set an earlier date.  Go to https://secure.sullivan.edu/Forms/GradeChange.aspx and complete the Change of Grade Request form by Friday of week 2. 
  • If you notice any discrepancies between the roster in the Faculty Portal and your roster in the Blackboard course, please contact online@sullivan.edu. If you have any technical issues with Blackboard, Collaborate, or Panopto, please contact onlinefacultysupport@sullivan.edu.

What is available to me to help me?

  • Use Blackboard for teaching online 
  • Use Teams for live synchronous instruction sessions and virtual office hours
  • Use Panopto to create instructional videos and announcements

Click the Blackboard, Teams and Panopto tabs to the left. There you will find short videos and printed job aids to help guide your through the technologies and tasks to teaching online. If there is something missing or something that you would like to see, let Dr. Anthony Piña know at apina@sullivan.edu.


The GIST #2 Mid-Term

What do I need to do during Week 5?

  • Assess the current (mid-term) grades for your students (i.e. their progress through the end of week 5). Refer to the Post Mid-Term Grades document below for Step-by-step instructions.
    • Select Grade Center, select Full Grade Center and look for Overall.
    • Please remember that the Blackboard Grade Center does not recognize “blank” grades as zero (0). If a student did not turn in an assignment or otherwise has earned a grade of zero, you MUST enter a “0” for that assignment.  If you do not, the grade book will not count that assignment in its calculation, resulting in an inflated grade for the student.
  • Use a letter grade (A, B, C, D, F).  “S” grades are only for pass/fail courses.
  • Post mid-term grades in the Faculty Portal by Noon on Monday of week 6. Step-by-step instructions for mid-term posting are included in the document below.
  • If students are anxious regarding their mid-term grades, please remind them that mid-term grades do not show up on their final transcripts, but are a good indicator of whether any course correction needs to be undertaken before it is too late.

The GIST #3 Final

What do I need to do during Weeks 10-11?

  1. Please encourage your students to complete the course/instructor evaluations. Assure them that their responses are anonymous and will be used to improve the course.
  2. If your final Week 11 assignment (e.g. final exam, final paper, final discussion forum) is due prior to Sunday of week 11, please post a course announcement reminding students when their last assignments are due.  Each quarter, we have students who are used to turning in assignments on Sunday and who fail to consult the class schedule for the final week, so they miss the deadline.
  3. Please make sure that students know that they cannot turn in all of their week 11 assignments prior to Monday of week 11.  All students enrolled in online courses must have a record of engagement during week 11—they are not supposed to finish early. 
  4. Please remember that the Blackboard Grade Center does not recognize “blank” grades as zero (0). If a student did not turn in an assignment or otherwise has earned a grade of zero, you MUST enter a “0” for that assignment.  If you do not, the grade book will not count that assignment in its calculation, resulting in an inflated grade for the student.
  5. Enter final grades in the faculty portal no later than noon on Monday following the last day of the quarter.  See the attached step-by-step instructions. This is a critical deadline.
  6. Go into you course(s) grade books in Blackboard and add a column for “LDE,” if it does not already exist. For each student who received a D’ or ‘F” grade in the course, type the last date that the student engaged in the course (see the list of engagement items in The GIST #1). See Bb Create LDE Gradebook Column below for step-by-step instructions.
  7. Download your course gradebook(s) and email them to gradebooks@sullivan.edu (Make sure you include the “s” in gradebooks).  See Final Grades-Gradebook below for step-by-step instructions.
  8. If you assign any incomplete “I” grades:
  • Contact onlinefacultysupport@sullivan.edu and CC online@sullivan.edu, to request that the course remain open in Blackboard; otherwise, the course will be closed and will not be accessible to students working toward resolving their “I” grades.
  • Students will have until Wednesday of week two of the next quarter to complete all work to resolve an incomplete--unless you had set an earlier due date. 
  • When the student has completed the required work, you will need to complete the online form by Friday of week 2 to have the student’s grade changed at: https://secure.sullivan.edu/Forms/GradeChange.aspx.  If no grade change request is received, the student’s grade will be changed from “I” to “F.”