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Update | Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Proven, research-based strategies make a positive difference for students. The First4Weeks initiative is designed to leverage and expand on the great student success work we already have underway by focusing on four categories.

*Build Relationships and Connect
*Engage and Stay Encouraged
*Communicate, Celebrate, and Aspire
*Support and Collaborate

During the first four weeks of this semester, you’ll find helpful tips and links here for each category. For Summer Semester, they are tailored for the remote/online environment. This week’s tips can help Build Relationships and Connect.

Ideas for faculty
Faculty members have already developed many ways of connecting with students. One idea some have implemented is personalizing BlackBoard course materials, including adding video announcements, so that your personality comes through. Digital Education and Instructional Support (DEIS) can assist. Email:  

Ideas for staff
Making close connections is possible even in a virtual environment. A few tips include introducing yourself to the student you’re helping, with your name and title. Help them out by asking a follow-up question to figure out what they need to accomplish. Make sure students know how to reach you after the conversation.

Visit for additional tips and strategies.

Faculty and staff can join the First4Weeks blackboard community to share best practices and find new ideas! Email to request to be added to the community.

With Summer Semester 2020 classes being held remotely, we want to be sure that students have resources to connect, communicate, collaborate – and succeed in this new learning environment. In addition to First4Weeks tips, more information about remote/online learning can be found at



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