Quick Guides & Tutorials

On this page you’ll find articles about:

What’s New!

New! Making Video for your Online Class – review this 2-page PDF for common Do’s and Don’ts.

New! We’ve added a section called Panopto for SPS Faculty. You’ll find a helpful set of guides and tutorials introducing SPS faculty to the new video hosting platform.

New! Do you need a video captioned for an SPS course?  Please complete this form to request captions

New! Our new “Introduction to Blackboard Mobile Apps” guide provides helpful information for the Blackboard Instructor and Blackboard for students applications, as well as guidelines for ensuring your course is designed to be mobile-friendly.

New! Faculty who are piloting EAB Navigate Progress Reports may find information and support resources on the EAB faculty support page.

New! CUNY SPS now offers tutor.com services to all its students (and faculty). The service is linked directly within all semester sites and offers tutoring in a variety of subjects. The Tutor.com instructor dashboard lets you see which of your students have used Tutor.com services and which students are flagged as being at risk. You can easily access the dashboard by clicking the tutor.com link posted under Tutoring in your Blackboard course site. To help your students take advantage of Tutor.com and to learn more about the instructor dashboard, please watch this 3-minute video for faculty. If you have questions regarding the platform, contact tutors@sps.cuny.edu.

New! Check out our Accessibility Resources Site for faculty with information on how to implement Universal Design in Learning (UDL) in your teaching, and how to create accessible documents and videos.

Course Design

Browse our Course Design and Development Tutorial — one or more of its ten modules should prove helpful to those designing or revising a course.

Our Midterm Course Evaluations for Online Courses page contains useful information to help you develop your own course evaluation survey  – or you can simply download the survey zip file and upload directly into your Blackboard site!

Course Copy

Preparing Your Dev Site for Course Copy  – New! Course-Site-Checklist-for-New-Semester

Course Copy in Blackboard – Quick Guide outlining the steps to self-copy your dev site into a new live semester site on Blackboard.
VIDEO TUTORIAL Course Copy in Blackboard

Replacing the Banner in Your Course


Blackboard 750 MB Course Size Limits – Quick Guide with more details about the new CUNY-wide course content limit, instructions on how to determine the size of a course, measures to reduce course size as well as best practices for managing your course content.

Introduction to Blackboard

Intro to Blackboard Part I – Navigating Blackboard
Intro to Blackboard Part II – The Control Panel
Intro to Blackboard Part III – Add and Manage Content

Checking and Changing Your Email Address in Blackboard
Checking Personal Information in Blackboard

The Discussion Board

Creating and Using the Discussion Board
Viewing and Navigating Discussion Forums
Grading Discussion Forums
Using the Subscribe Feature on the Discussion Board for automatic email alerts when new posts are being added.

Assignments, SafeAssign & Turnitin

Grading Assignments Using Box View
Creating and Grading Assignments in Blackboard / Checking for Plagiarism using SafeAssign
Creating and Using Rubrics in Blackboard

Using DirectSubmit (SafeAssign) to Check for Plagiarism
Create a Turnitin Assignment in Blackboard — See also Lehman College’s Turnitin resource page, which includes several helpful tips and links to more support resources.
Learn how to use the Audio-Video Feedback feature when grading assessments in Blackboard

Grade Center / Rubrics

Basics of the Grade Center in Blackboard
Using the Remind Feature in BlackBoard
Calculating Final Grades using Total Points
Calculating Final Grades using Weighted Total
Grade Center – Beyond the Basics
Grading Assignments in Blackboard using Box View
Using Color Codes in the Grade Center
Creating and Using Rubrics in Blackboard
Adding Secondary Grade Display to Final Grade Column (for entry into CUNYfirst)

Test Tools in Blackboard

Creating Tests, Surveys, and Pools in Blackboard
Setting Test Options in Blackboard

Importing and Exporting Blackboard Tests, Surveys and Pools
Ensuring the Security of Tests in BB
Accessibility: How to Add Exceptions to Tests in Blackboard
VIDEO TUTORIAL How to Add Exceptions to Blackboard Tests

Other Blackboard Tools

Date Management tool in Blackboard to easily display and change due and availability dates in your course all at once.
Using the Content Collection in Blackboard
Using the Blackboard Calendar Tool
Using the Blackboard Retention Center
Lesson Plans in Blackboard
Learning Modules in Blackboard
Group Work in Blackboard with lots of tips on how to facilitate online group work and step-by-step instructions on using the group tools in Blackboard.
See an overview of the Blackboard Content Editor. Latest accessibility features are defined.

Multimedia in Blackboard

Using the Mashup Feature in Blackboard – Quick Guide on how to embed public YouTube Videos and Flickr images to your course site by using Blackboard’s Mashup feature.
Creating a Banner for Your Course Using Pixlr
Creating a Banner for Your Course Using PowerPoint
Resizing Profile Pictures and Adding Your Avatar in Blackboard
– Quick Guide describing how to re-size profile pictures for your contact page as well as avatar on Blackboard.
How to Embed a YouTube Video into BlackboardThere are several options to add YouTube to Blackboard, this page highlights the pros/cons for each and links to a detailed how to guide.

Multimedia (Video Recordings / Captions)

Visit the Multimedia Section to access the Media Studio and available software tools to make or use a video in Blackboard.

SPS faculty have access to Panopto inside Brightspace. Please see our resource pages for more details: Panopto for SPS Faculty.

Here is a 2-page PDF on Do’s and Don’ts when Making Video for your Online Class

Do you need a video captioned for an SPS course?  Please complete this form to request captions.

Captioning Videos on YouTube – Instructions on working with captions on your YouTube videos

How to Upload a Caption File to YouTube – After you’ve submitted your video for captions, follow these steps to add the .SRT (YouTube caption file) into your video.

Creating an Introductory Course Video – Quick guide explaining the different types of introductory videos, including a list of links to intro videos recorded by SPS instructors, outlining best practices when creating video content for online / hybrid courses, and listing resources available to SPS faculty.

Selecting a Virtual Meeting tool like Zoom, Teams, or Collaborate.

The CUNY Zoom account has a Live Captioning feature.  Here is a guide to setup and use


VoiceThread for SPS Instructors (v.4a) – Quick Guide for VoiceThread, a new web-based multimedia tool available now for SPS instructors.
VIDEO TUTORIAL Introduction to VoiceThread
VoiceThread – Participating in a VT for Students– Quick Guide you can share with students when assigning them to leave a comment on a VoiceThread you created
VoiceThread – Creating a VT for SPS Students – Quick Guide you can share with students when assigning them to create their own VoiceThread


Introduction to ScreenPal (formerly Screencast-o-Matic) webcam and screen recording software available to CUNY SPS faculty.

For any questions, or to schedule a one-on-one training, please contact us at facultysupport@sps.cuny.edu.