Building an Introductory Toolkit: Strategies for a Running Start

CommunityMapforWR122The Office of Academic Innovation at Portland State University is hosting a series of workshops dedicated to creating vibrant community-based learning spaces online.

As part of our first workshop dedicated to building introductory toolkits for students, I offer the following two collections of introductory materials that I provide for students before the course even begins so that they can understand the course design, find a community placement, and feel more comfortable with the technology.

Before diving into the toolkits, it’s important for instructors to settle on modes of easy communication with students.  If you are interested in texting/phone access beyond the office phone, look into Remind 101 (one-way texting to students), (a locally-made app that allows two-way texting and group texts to the class), or Google Voice (for a non-personal phone number that can be routed through your own cell phone).


  1. Course Syllabus & Outline of Assignments
  2.  Video Introduction to the Way the Course Works & Volunteer Pathways Document
  3. Phone and Email Scripts for Communicating with Community Partners
  4. Community Based Learning Agreement Letter
  5. Checklist for CBL Preparedness


  1. Video on Tools Inside & Outside D2L (and their relationship to continuum of civic engagement)
  2. Links to Each Technology Tool Outside D2L & Video Tutorials on How to Sign Up and Use
    • WordPress Blog (samples and video tutorial series)
    • Voice Thread (samples, video tutorial series, and test thread)
  3. Test Sites for Each Technology Tool Outside D2L
  4. Technology Preparedness Checklist

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