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Pre-Semester Checklist

Getting Ready for Your Online Classes

Use the checklist below to make sure that you are prepped and ready to navigate the technology you will use while you are learning online at Columbus State.

Blackboard, Starfish, and NetTutor

Before courses begin, log in to Blackboard early. That’s where you’ll find your courses, along with access to Starfish and NetTutor resources. Courses will be accessible to students in Blackboard four days before the course begins.

  • Log into Bb:
    • Go to
    • Choose the “Blackboard” link at the top right-hand corner.
    • Log in using your Columbus State credentials (the same username and password you use for your Columbus State email).
  • Check the “Announcements” section on the main page, as well as the scrolling links in the “Information” section in the middle for important updates from the College and from your professors.
  • Courses appear in Blackboard based on their start date. Each class will be available four days before the start date and can be accessed using the "My Courses" tab at the top of the page:
    screen shot image from Blackboard
  • Explore each of your courses, being sure to carefully review:
    • Notes and updates from your instructor – choose the “Announcements” link in the course menu on the left.
    • The syllabus – each course has a different menu. Click through the course menu to find the syllabus, course calendar, and faculty contact information. You may see ‘"Course Information’"or ‘"Syllabus." 
    • The calendar of assignments and due dates, included either in the syllabus and/or under the “Course Tools”  tab – choose “Course Calendar.”

SUCCESS TIP: If possible, print out the calendar to keep important dates visible even when you’re not logged in.

  • Make a note of each instructor’s contact information, including phone number, as well as any designated office hours or instructions on how to make an appointment. Keep it somewhere that is easy to access even in the event of connectivity issues. 
  • Complete your Starfish profile:
    • Click on the “Starfish” tab at the bottom left of the Blackboard home page in the “Tools” section.
    • Click on the three bars next to Starfish.
    • Click on “Edit Profile” to complete your profile information. Starfish will be used by your instructors and the College to provide important feedback about how you are doing in your classes and it gives you access to other supports at the College.


Request help

SUCCESS TIP: Starfish features a “Raise Hand” option through the request help feature that allows you to ask questions about any topic, whether it is something related to your class, or information about any aspect of the College.

  • Review tutoring options:
    • When you are in any course in Blackboard, click on the green N  nettutor logo in the top right-hand corner.
    • Accept the security agreement and you are ready to access tutoring at no charge for almost all of your Columbus State courses.
  • To learn how to navigate your course content and complete common tasks, use the “Help tab” at the top of the page to access our training resources.

Additional Resources

Getting ready for your online classes?

One Last Thing

  • Congratulate yourself for taking these important steps to prepare yourself for a successful semester!


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link to First 4 Weeks