As the warm days of summer continue we have three  weeks left before classes begin on August 24th. Faculty and instructors have begun getting ready by requesting their Moodle or Blackboard course shells; if you have not yet done this or have any questions about how to do this please submit a help request form. We continue to update and add to the resources posted on the University Quality Course Design: FlexForward to Online Teaching portal. This week faculty and instructors will find a guide to Best Practices for supporting the University Quality Standards.  
Here are some design planning tips for this week (all resources are available through the central portal):
  1. Review the Best Practices for supporting the University Quality Standards Guide
  2. Request your Moodle or Blackboard Course
    Request your Moodle Course in SPIRE
    Request your Blackboard Course in SPIRE
  3. This is the last week to submit requests for library eReserves needed for the beginning of classes. Any requests submitted after August 1 will not be available until September 1. Using eReserves ensures that the documents you provide your students are accessible.
  4. Log in into the University Quality Standards: FlexForward to Fall Online Course Design through Moodle or Blackboard courses for guidance on how to get the most out of Moodle and Blackboard.
  5. Begin planning for the assessment strategies you will use by exploring the Support for Strategies to Promote Academic Integrity in Remote Learning resource.
  6. We offer individual, program, and  departmental consultations. Faculty and instructors can submit a consultation request through the central help request.
If you have any questions, please let us know.

  • All faculty and instructors are enrolled in the University Quality Course Design: FlexForward to Online Teaching Moodle course that will guide and support them in developing their fully online courses.
    Faculty with access to this Moodle course who would like to use the Blackboard version of the course instead can email their request to
  • Faculty who need access to a classroom to prepare or deliver their online courses can work with IT to determine what is available.  Email for more information.
  • Your departmental liaison librarian is available to work with you to create tailored assignments that enhance students’ research skills.
  • Looking to explore ideas to support online learning? Check out Keep Teaching for some strategies to create videos your students want to watch, to engage students in large enrollment classes, and to structure synchronous and asynchronous discussions.

The Quality Online Course Design Help request form is monitored jointly by CTL, IDEAS, IT and Libraries. Faculty, instructors, graduate assistants and departments may request help through this help request or may access help services through any of the individual units.

The Center for Teaching & Learning is available to provide assistance in designing your course, revising your syllabus, and discussing specific teaching strategies. Please sign up for an for individual consultation, email us at


The Instructional Design, Engagement and Support group and the Instructional Media Lab consultants are available to support Faculty and Instructors with developing high quality online versions of their course(s) within Moodle and Blackboard. We offer both individual and departmental instructional design and instructional technology consultations. Email us at or drop-in to our Zoom support room (available 9am-4pm M-F). Visit our website for more information and resources on teaching and learning online.


UMass Amherst Information Technology (IT) continues to offer numerous technologies designed for teaching, learning, and working remotely. For updated information on the tools, platforms, and services available to you, including tech support and recent technology news, see  

You can email us at with any technology questions or issues you are experiencing.


The Libraries are here to work with you as you prepare for the fall semester. If you are concerned about your students ability to access materials they will need for their fall course, the Libraries eReserves service may be an option for you. We can help you find resources that align with your course needs and that help your students complete their assignments. We will work with you to create tailored assignments that enhance students’ research skills. Contact your departmental liaison or Ask Us! to get started. 

Please let us know if we can help,

Claire Hamilton, Associate Provost and Director Center for Teaching and Learning
Heather Sharpes-Smith, Executive Director of Online Educational Technology/Instructional Design, Engagement and Support
Leslie Button, Associate Dean for Research & Learning, UMass Amherst Libraries
Matthew Dalton, Chief Information Security Officer and Director of Instructional Innovation 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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