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A few years back, I used to have several student workers who reported to me, and without fail, at the beginning of each semester, they would tell me with this great sense of accomplishment that they had entered all their major deadlines and exams from all their courses into their phone. It’s how they preferred to stay organized.

But what if you could do that work for them with minimal extra effort from you?

Cue the calendar tool.

I know what many of you are saying: But we have to put the course calendar in the syllabus and I don’t want to duplicate work.

But if you refer to OP 06.14, you’ll see that it says your syllabus must include “The course outline, including each major assignment and examination.” I like that wording because it allows us to be flexible. We can have an outline in the syllabus and a calendar with due dates in the Blackboard component of the course. 

So other than saving your students a little bit of time, you may be wondering about the advantages of using a calendar tool. Please allow me to elaborate by using three different calendar examples.

No Extra Work With a Blackboard Calendar

If you are teaching an online course or if you are accepting all your student assessments through Blackboard, adding the Blackboard calendar tool is literally a 5-second task and then you’re done.

Any Blackboard assignment automatically gets added to the calendar in your course. Other than making the calendar tool available to your students, your work is done.

However, if you require students to submit a mixture of Blackboard assignments and in-person assignments, the Blackboard calendar tool can still be a good option for you. You have the option to manually add any events or deadlines to your calendar. 

The only disadvantage or drawback is that the Blackboard calendar emphasizes the due date of assignments. You may want to make more of a distinction about when students should be working on different aspects of your course.

A Few Perks with a Google Calendar Embed

Screenshot of calendar from Ms. Ebeling's course. Screenshot of calendar from Ms. Ebeling’s course.

This summer, I worked on a course with Ms. Carla Ebeling from the Biology Department, and she showed me the Google calendar she embedded in the course. It was a great calendar option for her for several reasons.

With the Blackboard calendar, students see all their deadlines and dates from all their courses. Ms. Ebeling wanted a calendar that only showed dates and deadlines for her class, so Google was a better option. She also wanted students to easily be able to not only see deadlines but dates when lab activities became available. 

If you think it would be helpful to indicate to students what they should be working on each week, a Google calendar might be a good option for you. You can easily color code a range of dates.

The Google calendar also doesn’t require any extra account setups. You can just access your Apps at ASU and create your calendars there. If you need help with the embedding part, give me a call.

Constantly Updated Info With an RSS Feed

Dr. Fred Wilson offers his astronomy students extra credit for attending a Planetarium show. To help students easily find information about upcoming Planetarium shows, we added the RSS feed for the university’s Planetarium schedule to a module in Dr. Wilson’s course.

The calendar works out great because Dr. Wilson doesn’t have to do any work to maintain the calendar.

If your students would benefit from a similar type of calendar feed, contact me and we’ll see what we can set up.

Wrapping Up

These are just a few calendar options. If you’re doing something different that uses dynamic content, I would love to hear about it.

Jayna Phinney
Jayna Phinney

Jayna Phinney is an Instructional Designer in the Center for Digital Learning and Instruction. Contact her at or 325-486-6264.