11.2. Course Launching Activities

To launch a course, you prepare the course itself, the staff, and the students. This chapter includes a Course Launch Checklist to use as a model for your schedule of activities.

To help you communicate to the course staff or to all course participants before the course launches and while it is running, you can send email messages from the Instructor Dashboard. See Bulk Email. The chapter on bulk email also includes a set of example messages to students that you can use as guidelines when you write your own email messages.

11.2.1. Course Launch Checklist

As the start date for your course approaches, a checklist or timeline of activities can help you make sure that your course, and your students, are ready to begin. Suggestions for activities to complete before your course starts follow.

Verify Course Settings

Review First Week Content

  • Verify that all units are present and published. See Developing Course Units.
  • Check all assignments for completeness and verify their due dates. See Working with Problem Components.
  • Verify that videos, transcripts, and download links are in place and working.
  • Review feedback from the course team and beta testers to be sure that the content has been thoroughly reviewed and tested.

Welcome Students

  • Two months before the course start date, prepare and send a welcome email message to currently enrolled students. See Pre-launch Reminder and Send Email Messages to Course Participants.
  • Compose a welcome message and add it to the Course Info page. See Add a Course Update.
  • Verify that a syllabus and other references are available on the Course Handouts page. See Add Course Handouts.
  • One month before the course start date, prepare and send a welcome email message to currently enrolled students.
  • One week before the course start date, prepare and send a welcome email message to currently enrolled students.
  • Add an “Introduce Yourself” post to a discussion topic. For a MOOC, you may want to manage the size of the thread by distributing student responses across multiple threads. For example, you can start different threads for introductions based on geographical location, such as “Introduce Yourself: Europe”, “Introduce Yourself: North America”, etc. See Run a Discussion.
  • On the course start date, prepare and send a launch email message to currently enrolled students. See Launch Day Welcome.

Prepare Staff

  • Define communication methods for all course contributors, including staff, instructors, and the discussion team. For example, set up a course-specific email address.
  • Verify that all course contributors know how to record their work, report issues, and collaborate on tasks.
  • Verify that the instructors and course staff selected for your course have the correct role assignments in the LMS. See Staffing.
  • Verify that discussion admins, discussion moderators, and community TAs have registered and activated their user accounts, enrolled in the course, and been assigned their roles on the Instructor Dashboard. See Assign Discussion Administration Roles.
  • Define methods for managing discussions and guidance for discussion moderators, and distribute to the discussion team. See Moderate Discussions and Guidance for Discussion Moderators.