Microsoft Resources for Teaching with Office 365

Microsoft Resources for Teaching with Office 365

As more schools begin to make the transition to distance learning and online classrooms, we want to help. Microsoft has created resources, training, and how-to guides that we hope will help educators and their classrooms make this transition.

To help support you during this time, we’ve created a support page for O365 with the information Microsoft has provided.

Microsoft Education is committed to helping all teachers, students, and staff stay engaged and focused on learning. Creating an online classroom is an important step in moving to a remote learning experience. Free for schools, Microsoft Teams, provides a secure online classroom that brings together classroom management features, collaborative workspaces like OneNote Class Notebook, and virtual face-to-face connections in a single digital hub that keeps students engaged.

Information included are Microsoft’s top resources on distance learningWeb Pages with tools to connect remotely, Microsoft Teams quick start guide for EDU (PDF). Webinars designed for educators, Blog posts, and Free Training, 

 These resources have been provided by the Microsoft Corporation and are included in this post for the convenience of WCU faculty who want to use Office 365 to facilitate online learning.

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CFC Open Sessions for Online Design and Blackboard

Open Neon Sigh

Open Help Sessions for All Instructors

The CFC is hosting additional open sessions for all instructors to learn how to effectively facilitate online learning and engage students using Blackboard and its general suite of tools. We will be offering these sessions through the following video-conferencing link:

https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/da120265dc4b4471a96d1bbd8b388946

Dates and times are as follows:

Monday, March 23 – March 25
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

 

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Communicating and Engaging With Your Students

Communicating and Engaging With Your Students

We encourage maximizing asynchronous communication for almost everything.  There are many great ways to use Blackboard Collaborate (or Zoom) for limited real-time communication.  Here are some standard best practices (tried and true from more than 20 years of online teaching) to get you started and hopefully help you manage your and your students’ stress! 

General best practices modified for this situation: 

  • Use announcements in BB to send a message to the entire class.  I suggest one per day with reminders and encouragement. Be sure to select the email option so each student will get an email with the announcement that will prompt them to access the course. 
  • Email your students from within Bb because they are already enrolled and you won’t miss anyone. 
  • To save yourself from feeling like you are chained to your laptop and answering a million emails, create a “Questions” discussion forum and encourage students to post and read/respond in that forum.  Tell them not to email you unless it is personal nature, but all course questions are to be posted in the forum.  Encourage them to answer other students’ questions to get the peer to peer collaboration going.  If the answer is wrong or not quite right, you can post an encouraging and tactful correction.  Check this Questions forum multiple times during the day. 
  • Also, set specific ‘office hours’.  If possible schedule these at the same time each day.  Post the days & times in an announcement. Use Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom for these real-time, synchronous sessions.
  • Use Blackboard Collaborate to hold real-time, one-on-one tutorial sessions with any student who aren’t able to ‘attend’ office hours.  Keep these short – 15 minutes max.  If you choose to use Zoom, be sure to post the link in your Bb course in the announcements or Questions discussion forum.   

 

Faculty Planning Tools – Making the Shift to Online

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The Coulter Faculty Commons has developed a planning organizer for faculty use for the remaining spring 2020 term.

The simple Word document contains weekly dates and boxes for each week remaining in the term. Faculty can use the document to notate “before” activities and “now” activities–to help them reflect on prior activities and chart a path forward, now that instruction is moving online.

Faculty can download the documents below. It comes in two forms–for a single course, and for a five-load course.

Single Course Template

5 Course Planning Template

The PLEA for using just-in-time over in-real-time teaching modes!

It is easy to just assume that you will be able to have live class sessions online using Zoom or Collaborate at the same time and day they have been scheduled, but that will not produce a good learning experience for the students, nor will it be pleasant for you as the instructor.  We gathered a couple of really good posts that align with our approach to moving online quickly.

Do This, Not That

~Alison Wang, Online Teaching Do This Not That

Click on image to download the PDF. Creative Commons License Attribute No Derivative, No CommericalShared through Creative Commons, Attribute, No Derivative, No Commercial Purpose.

 

Do This, Not That Graphic

This has been flying around social media, but it’s one of the good ones. She refers to particular systems and programs but her advice is right on.

Please do a bad job of putting your courses online

What? Did I hear you correctly? YES!

As Rebecca Barrett-Fox says “You are NOT building an online class. You are NOT teaching students who can be expected to be ready to learn online. And, most importantly, your class is NOT the highest priority of their OR your life right now. Release yourself from high expectations right now, because that’s the best way to help your students learn.” ~https://anygoodthing.com/2020/03/12/please-do-a-bad-job-of-putting-your-courses-online/ 

And we like her list of 10 considerations:

  1. Your students know less about technology than you think. Many of them know less than you. Yes, even if they are digital natives and younger than you.
  2. They will be accessing the internet on their phones. They have limited data. They need to reserve it for things more important than online lectures.
  3. Students who did not sign up for an online course have no obligation to have a computer, high-speed wifi, a printer/scanner, or a camera. Do not even survey them to ask if they have it. Even if they do, they are not required to tell you this. And if they do now, that doesn’t mean that they will when something breaks and they can’t afford to fix it because they just lost their job at the ski resort or off-campus bookstore.
  4. Students will be sharing their technology with other household members. They may have LESS time to do their schoolwork, not more.
  5. Many will be working MORE, not fewer, hours. Nurses, prison guards, firefighters, and police officers have to go to work no matter what. As healthcare demand increases but healthcare workers get sick, there will be more and more stress on those who remain.
  6. Some of your students will get sick. Others will be caring for people who are ill.
  7. Many will be parenting.
  8. Social isolation contributes to mental health problems.
  9. Social isolation contributes to domestic violence.
  10. Students will be losing their jobs, especially those in tourism and hospitality.

Other recommendations she puts forward that we promote as well:

  • “Don’t do too much. Right now, your students don’t need it. They need time to do the other things they need to do.”
  • Make all assignments due at 11:59 pm on the same day of the week. Make them due on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. instead of Friday so that they use the evenings and week-end to get work done.
  • Allow students to take every exam or quiz twice so that if there is a technical problem (such as getting kicked out of Blackboard), they will have another opportunity to complete the exam.
  • Record lectures only if you need to.  But use the TED talk method: no longer than 18 minutes and focused on one concept, big question or idea.
  • Don’t fuss over videos.  Don’t worry about your ums and ers. It helps if you write a script (also provides a transcript for ADA purposes) and read through it a few times.  Then practice 5 times just the first few sentences or first few slides. That will get you into the recording without the jumpstarts we do at the start.
  • Do NOT require synchronous work!  Students’ life and schedules have been turned upside-down as well. A good use of Zoom or Bb Collaborate is to use it for office hours or tutoring sessions. But make it optional.
  • Do not use proctoring or ask students to record themselves when taking a test.  This is a violation of their privacy and they did not sign up for an online course.
  • Remind them of due dates. This is not hand-holding!!  They need contact from you and as we said before, their lives have been turned upside down.  Be kind to them and kind to yourself.  Be supportive and encouraging, Be a mentor and coach!
  • Respond to them when they ask for help.  These are anxious times and they will need encouragement.

We will continue to share quick tips and helpful resources over the next few weeks!

 

Assess Your Students’ Changing Needs – A Survey Template

Student needs are changing during this move to offering alternative modes of instruction. Faculty who want to find out what challenges students are facing can utilize a new web form created in Office365. 

The form can be modified by faculty prior to sending out. The survey should take students 5 minutes to complete, and asks for the following types of information:

  • whether students expect to have reliable Internet access
  • times of day students expect to do online work
  • preferences for asynchronous or synchronous activity
  • accessibility requests (content in different formats, for example)
  • basic psychological and physiological needs

The survey form is available below. Note the options for modifying the survey questions, collecting data, and sending out the link (the Settings icon can be found top-right of your screen, to the right of the Share button).

Open the Form


A heartfelt thank you to our colleague Dr. Mae Claxton, Professor of English, for reaching out to the CFC with this idea.