The spring semester will begin on Wednesday 1/20. There is no specific time during that day when your classes will or must start and different professors will do it differently. Some will unlock the section first thing in the morning; others will be working to polish the section throughout that day and will open the section on Wednesday evening. In all cases your courses will start at some point on Wednesday 1/20.
In the future you can always see the semester start-day and end-day, along with other such information, by viewing the academic calendars linked about half-way down this page on the Mercy main site. MA English courses always run on what’s called “Term A” which you will see referenced on the academic calendar.
Now although the semester doesn’t begin until 1/20, your Blackboard sections will actually become visible much sooner, on 1/6. This early-reveal drives most faculty crazy because it often results in students seeing parts of the course on which professors are still working and don’t realize are visible to student view. There are ways to hide from view just about anything in Blackboard and faculty tend to hide the majority or entirety of the interior Blackboard section from students until 1/20, since it will all be in development until 1/20. But still, mistakes happen, and so if you’re peeking at your course section on or after 1/6 you might very well see something that your professor is not intending you to see and isn’t aware is visible. Just know that your courses begin on 1/20, and prior to that point, everything in Blackboard is still a work in progress.