curved bookshelves

Start of the Semester Checklist: Resources for New and Returning Faculty

Here are a few recommendations for new and returning faculty to help you get organized for teaching in the new semester. 

Access your Blackboard course
  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Login” at the upper right.
  3. Click on “Blackboard.”
  4. Log in with your CUNY Login credentials.

Your courses will be listed under “Courses where you are: Instructor” in the “My Courses” module at the left. If you need assistance accessing your account, contact the IT help desk at

If you can't access your Blackboard account or other QC accounts

There are a few reasons why you might not be able to access your Blackboard or other QC accounts:

  • Your QC accounts haven’t been activated yet because you are a new faculty (full-time or adjunct).
  • Your QC accounts have been deactivated because you are an adjunct who is NOT teaching in the current semester, although you have taught at Queens College during past semesters.

If either the above applies to you, ask your department chair ASAP to initiate a Person of Interest (POI) ePAF to help expedite account activation.

  • It’s possible that you weren’t correctly added as an instructor to the course in CUNYFirst. Please contact your department to verify your status in CUNYfirst.

If none of the above applies to you, contact the IT Help Desk to ask what your next steps should be:

If you're reusing Blackboard course content from a previous semester
Export a course package and import it into a new course shell, following the instructions at
Make your Blackboard course available
The default setting for a course shell is “not currently available.” To make it available:

  1. On the home page of your course, look for the padlock icon on the upper right. Click on it to toggle between Make Available and Make Unavailable. If you don’t have a home page, click on any content area (such as Assignments or Course Information) in the course menu, rather than tools or web links.

    toggling between Make available/make unavailable

  2. Instruct your students, via an email from CUNYfirst, to contact you if they cannot see their course in Blackboard.
  3. Don’t forget – you must use your CUNYfirst credentials to log into Blackboard.
Using CUNYfirst
CUNY Microsoft Office 365
Visit Microsoft Office 365 for Education to log into your CUNY Office 365 account and for links to training resources.
To access your CUNY Zoom account,

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the blue “Sign in” button.
  3. Log in with your CUNY Login credentials.
Your campus classroom
Make sure you have access to your classroom. Contact your departmental office to ascertain how to access your assigned classroom (card swipe or key). If the room has card swipe access, make sure your QC ID card is activated. For key access, contact the Main Gate Security at 718-997-5912.
Check in with the online book store to confirm that the books you have ordered for your class are available. Use your CUNYfirst credentials to view your selections, or mark your course as “no books required.” Textbook information entered through the bookstore will automatically update your course in CUNYfirst. Consider having the library place a copy of the book on reserve for your class. Information on requesting reserves can be found at

Content for your syllabus

Required by CUNY and Queens College, the following components should be included in your syllabus. You may copy and paste the following in your syllabus.

Remember to give a copy of your syllabus to your department for its assessment files. Keep a copy for your own files, and maybe post it on your professional website or course website.

CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity
The CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity, as adopted by the CUNY Board of Trustees, is available to all students. Academic dishonesty is prohibited in the City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion.
Use of Student Work
All programs in New York State undergo periodic reviews by accreditation agencies. For these purposes, samples of student work are occasionally made available to those professionals conducting the review. Anonymity is assured under these circumstances. If you do not wish to have your work made available for these purposes, please let the professor know before the start of the second class. Thank you for your cooperation..
Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Students with disabilities needing academic accommodations should register with and provide documentation to the Office of Special Services, Frese Hall, Room 111. The Office of Special Services will provide a letter for you to bring to your instructor indicating the need for accommodation and the nature of it. This should be done during the first week of class. For more information about the services available to Queens College students, contact the Office of Special Services by phone at 718-997-5870 or visit their webpage at
Course Evaluations
During the final four weeks of the semester, you will be asked to complete an evaluation for this course by filling out an online questionnaire. Please remember to participate in these course evaluations. Your comments are highly valued, and these evaluations are an important service to fellow students and to the institution since your responses will be pooled with those of other students and made available online at Please also note that all responses are completely anonymous; identifying information is erased once the evaluation has been submitted.
Please maintain a professional demeanor when posting online. You can be respectful even when you have a difference of opinion. Treat others as you’d want to be treated yourself. Don’t type in all caps, as that is the online equivalent of shouting. If you need to emphasize a word or phrase, use italics.
Queens College Academic and Grading policies
A complete guide to the Queens College’s grading conventions is available at
For hybrid or face-to-face courses

If you are teaching a hybrid or face-to-face course, the following should be included in your syllabus:

CUNY Guidelines for Safe Campus Reopening

  • Students must thoroughly wash their hands before using any computer terminal and wipe the keyboard and mouse prior to using the equipment.
  • The use of cloth face coverings is required among all students and faculty when 6 feet distances cannot be maintained. Face coverings must be worn as feasible and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult. For more information, visit Use Masks to Slow the Spread of COVID-19.
  • Students and instructors must wear masks at all times when not presenting.
  • Wash hands at key times. For more information, visit: When and How to Wash Your Hands.
  • Do not touch the face covering. Visit the CDC site for information on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

Prepare for the unexpected

There are a few circumstances that may require you to suddenly pivot from in-person to remote teaching: inclement weather prevents access to the campus; or a medical condition requires you or some of your students to quarantine. At minimum, you and your students will need:

  • Laptop or desktop computer with built-in microphone or a usb port for a headset
  • Headset (such as the Logitech H390) if your device does not have a built-in microphone
  • Access to High-speed internet
  • Ethernet or strong wi-fi connection
  • Access to your CUNY accounts:

Be sure to tell your students where to look for information about emergencies. Encourage them to sign up for CUNY A!ert, and remind them that the QC website will post updates on the front page and on its Emergency Preparedness page, as well as via QC Facebook and QC Twitter.


CETLL’s Faculty Virtual Drop-in Hours schedule and joining information are at

Email the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning & Leadership at

Email IT Support at

Stay informed

Subscribe to our email list Socrates, to receive announcements about upcoming events, workshops, and other offerings.

Bookmark our site to view our latest announcements.

Image source: mentatgt photo from Pexels

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message