Let’s Get Ready for Summer! Moving Rapidly to Remote Instruction

We want to give a huge shout out to all instructors who made the shift to remote instruction with lightning speed so we could finish out the spring semester! As the parent of a graduating senior, I am so appreciative of everything you are doing so all of our students can complete this term.  Has it been easy?  No!  Has it been comfortable? No!  Are you making it work? Yes! If you’d had more time to make this move are there some things you would have done differently?  Absolutely!  

Guess what? We DO have more time to prepare our summer courses that were going to be offered in person, but now need to be moved to remote instruction. And we DO have the workshop to help you do just that!

Moving Rapidly to Remote Instruction (MRRI) will help you rapidly develop your face-to-face course for remote instruction for this summer’s semesters. If you are planning on teaching a summer course that needs to move online quickly, attend this three-week online workshop that will walk you through an intentional course design process and provide the expertise of the Coulter Faculty Commons and experienced WCU online faculty in designing and facilitating remote instruction.  This is not the full Online Course Design Institute, which is for online courses that will be taught next Spring.  Instead, we have more time to prepare for the summer courses and design them to be more enjoyable by you and your students.

Dates:  May 11 – May 31
When: There will be a combination of live Zoom sessions, recorded tutorials, content and assignments/deliverables.  You will have the opportunity to have 1:1 conversations with CFC staff and experience online faculty. Expect to commit 8 – 10 hours each of the three weeks to complete this process and be ready to teach.
Where:  Fully Online through Blackboard, Zoom, and Teams
Outcome: By the end of May, you will have your online course designed and developed, in Blackboard, with a teaching/facilitation plan in place.  You will also have the support of colleagues and the CFC throughout the summer.

The workshop is free and open to all instructors, including adjuncts.  Please register, to let us know you are joining us and to allow us to ensure that we have enough facilitators to make this workshop successful!

LMS Governance Committee Recommends Avoiding Online Proctoring Solutions

The LMS Team have had several requests to launch online proctoring tools.  We researched the issue and presented the options to the LMS Governance Committee.  The committee, after consideration of the market leader, Respondus, put forward the following recommendations related to proctoring tools.

 After discussing the advantages and disadvantages of these products and remote proctoring at large, the LMS Governance Committee voted unanimously to not adopt the Respondus Lock-down Browser and Respondus Monitor with the following justification: 

Respondus Lock-Down Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within a learning management system.  It is used for securing online exams in classrooms and proctored environments.  

Analysis and Conclusions

  • Not an appropriate solution for online exams given at a distance as it only locks down the browser on one device. 
  • Does not prevent using multiple devices to look up information and collaborate with others using another device. 
  • Does not encourage authentic assessment. 

Respondus Monitor uses a student’s webcam to video them taking the exam.  

Analysis and Conclusions

  • More resource-intensive to implement – The LMS team will not be able to have this in place immediately. 
  • Will create duplicative work – will need to pay for the continued license and will have to go through the implementation again with the new LMS. 
  • Student privacy concerns – Students did not ask to go online or agree to video themselves. There are ethical concerns about student privacy.
  • Bandwidth resources concerns – We are already hearing of students having bandwidth issues and issues of exams being submitted as incomplete when students are using their phones to take exams in Blackboard; this will increase when they are also recording themselves. 
  • No budget to extend usageRespondus is offering their tools for free only through July of 2020. 
  • Ignores Academic Integrity Task Force recommendation. 
  • Does not encourage authentic assessment.

The LMS Governance Committee also voted unanimously on March 27, 2020 to deliver the following message concerning any type of video remote proctoring: 

 The LMS Governance Committee strongly advises all faculty to NOT require that any students record themselves taking any assessment.  This includes not using Zoom, Panopto, Youtube or Blackboard Collaborate for recording. The Coulter Faculty Commons is assembling resources on how to create alternative assessments that can be used in various disciplines. 

LMS Governance Committee 

Jonathan Wade – Senior Educational Technologist, Chair
Amy Davis – LMS Analyst
Annette Littrell – Associate Chief Information Officer / Academic Engagement & IT Governance
Eli Collins-Brown – Director, Coulter Faculty Commons
Jon Marvel – School Director EMPM/Professor
Kenneth Chapman – Tech Support Specialist
Lee Nickels – Director Assessment & Instruction Technology, CEAP
Scott Barlowe – Associate Professor
Siham Lekchiri – Assistant Professor 

Prepping for Finals Workshops This Week

Image show an open notebook and books, pen and paper

We still have a few more workshops available this week!

The end of the semester is quickly approaching and to help you prepare your final assessments for the online environment, we are offering research-based best practices segmented into four workshops. WCU does not have an online proctoring solution and, because of technology challenges and privacy concerns for students, the LMS Governance Committee, whose members include experienced online faculty, have voted not to adopt any online proctoring solution, including not requiring students to use Zoom or Panopto to video themselves while taking an exam (1).  These workshops, which will be recorded, will be accessed from within the Blackboard Learn for Instructors course (2) in which all instructors are already enrolled. No need to sign up, just show up!

Additionally, the Educational Development Team is open for group or individual consultations to partner with you to complete this work.  Go to https://affiliate.wcu.edu/cfc/partners-in-pedagogy/ to schedule with us!

Writing Better Exam Questions

The key to reducing cheating in online exams is to write exam questions that require knowledge application rather than knowledge recall. In this workshop, we will go through the basic steps of taking your existing exam questions and writing better questions.

At the conclusion of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Identify question stems
  • Use Bloom’s Taxonomy to write higher-order thinking questions
  • Write questions that require application of knowledge instead of recall

Session Schedule:

  • Monday, April 20, 10 am
  • Tuesday, April 21, 2 pm
  • Wednesday, April 23, 1:30 pm
  • Thursday, April 24, 10:00 am

Designing Alternative Assessments

Faculty looking for alternatives to deploying a final Blackboard test will benefit from this interactive workshop. We will explore strategies for connecting prior student work to a final assessment, including the use of reflection-based narratives, photography, infographics, and student presentations. We will examine various technological tools with an eye towards those that are expedient and efficient for faculty use, including considerations for grading and student feedback. Faculty will be asked to share their ideas for their final assessment with peers.

At the conclusion of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • determine an alternative assessment strategy for your final exam
  • select a tool which is expedient and efficient for grading
  • identify various methods for providing student feedback

Session Schedule:

  • Wednesday, April 22, 10 am
  • Thursday, April 23, 1 pm
  • Friday, April 24, 1 pm

 

Creating and Using Rubrics for Faster, More Consistent Grading

Multiple choice tests are popular assessment techniques because they are simple to develop, quick to deploy, and easy to grade. Using alternate assessment techniques are marginally more challenging to develop and deploy but place a considerably greater demand on an instructor’s time to grade. Well-constructed rubrics can save an instructor a significant amount of time and still provide the students with meaningful feedback.

At the end of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Develop rubrics that measure the student learning outcomes of an assessment
  • Associate rubrics to assessments in Blackboard
  • Use rubrics in the Blackboard Grade Center to grade assessments

Sessions:

Friday, April 24, 10 am

 


(1) – LMS Governance Committee decision regarding online proctoring – can be accessed from within the Blackboard Learn for Instructors course.

(2) – Go to wcu.edu > QuickLinks > Blackboard or go directly to https://wcu.blackboard.com/ to log in.

Image – https://collegeinfogeek.com/open-book-exam/

 

COVID-related Modifications to Honors Contracts now in progress and a Reminder about End of Semester Honors Attribution

From the Honors College

Students with Honors Contracts in progress this semester may need to make changes to those plans when warranted by the transition to online classes and/or social distancing or travel restrictions and/or a change to S/U grading option.  The Honors College has been instructing students in this kind of situation to reach out to their faculty member first to start a conversation about the needed modifications and to reset expectations.  Students with needed modifications to their projects have been asked to email the Honors College at honors@wcu.edu with a summary of the agreed upon modifications and to copy (cc) that email to their faculty member.  Faculty members are asked to reach out to students who may be in this situation, if they haven’t yet heard from the student.  Early intervention in this case will help to stave off issues at the end of the semester.  For students who do not need any modifications to their Honors Contracts, no action is needed.

 

Success with an Honors Contract project will continue to be assigned Honors attribution by the faculty member at the time when Final Grades are submitted.  For students with approved Honors Contracts in progress, a special drop-down box appears next to the student’s final grade box for the course in the Final Grades window.  If a student has not been successful in earning Honors attribution, the faculty member can likewise select that option in the Final Grades window.  Faculty cannot assign a grade of Incomplete only to the Honors Contract.  If a faculty member needs to assign an Incomplete, that Incomplete is assigned to the course and then both the grade and honors attribution are assigned when complete.

The link below, to the Registrar’s website (click > Web Grading > Final Grades Reporting), shows the Final Grades screen with Honors Contract options.

https://www.wcu.edu/learn/academic-services/registrars-office/information-for-faculty-and-staff.aspx

The Honors College Office is functioning currently in a fully online mode.  Faculty with questions about Honors Contracts are encouraged to email us at honors@wcu.edu.