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
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.
Open Help Sessions for All Instructors
The CFC is hosting multiple open sessions for all instructors to learn how to access Blackboard and its general suite of tools. Due to new social distancing guidelines set forth by Human Resources established on March 16, we will be offering these sessions through the following video-conferencing link:
Dates and times are as follows:
Monday, March 16 – March 20
10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Blackboard Training Sessions – Specifically for WCU
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 9 am – 11 pm – The link will be posted here.
Module 1: Collaborate Essentials
This module is designed to give participants a solid foundation, enabling them to successfully deliver live, interactive Collaborate sessions. Participants will learn about the key features and core functions of the Collaborate user interface. They will learn about session roles and how to effectively manage the communication tools, understand audio indicators, manage session and participant interaction, display the whiteboard and PowerPoint content, and record a session.
- Identify key features and core functions of the user interface
- Understand the communication tools
- Utilize the whiteboard and display PowerPoint content
- Use the recording features
- Recognize best practices and use cases
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 11:15 am – 1:15 pm – The link will be posted here.
Module 2: Creating Engagement using Collaborate Web Conferencing
In this module, participants will build upon what they learned in the Essentials session. They will learn about the advanced Collaborate features and how to use them to support dynamic, interactive learning.
- Review essential Collaborate tools
- Discover the reasons for engaging the virtual learner
- Recognize how to use the timer and utilize it to facilitate sessions and breakout groups
- Understand breakout groups and how to facilitate small group collaboration
- Utilize the polling tool to engage participants
- Access session administration reporting tools
- Identify key accessibility features
- Identify best practices for engaging participants
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 2:15 pm – 4:15 pm – The link will be posted here.
Module 3: Increasing Web Conferencing Success —
Ever wonder why some sessions seem to be effortless, while in others there are difficulties entering the session and getting participants to interact? In this session, moderators will learn best practices for creating interactive, problem-free Collaborate sessions. In addition, there will be an open Q&A forum designed to answer your questions on how to accomplish specific activities in your Collaborate sessions.
- Differentiate between the Collaborate Original and Ultra experiences and effectively switch between the two
- Understand the importance of using the best web browser to deliver successful sessions
- Access Collaborate from a LMS or from the Collaborate server
- Implement best practices for delivering problem free sessions
- Develop interactive sessions to engage participants into active learning
- Locate resources for moderators and participants
National Cohort Training Available at No Cost From Blackboard
Sign up for a date and time that works for you: – https://go.blackboard.com/Instructor-webinar-series
Wednesday, March 25, 9:00 am – 11 am – Blackboard Basics Mini-Workshop
Blackboard Tools for Western Carolina Live Session I
- Forums, Blogs, and Journals
- Create, Manage, and Grade
- Advanced Discussion Settings
- Group Discussions
- My Blackboard Posts
Wednesday, March 25, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm – Blackboard Basics Mini-Workshop
Blackboard Tools for Western Carolina Live Session II
- Create Tests and Surveys (6)
- Question Types: Auto Graded and Instructor Graded (7)
- Reuse Questions: Pools, Random Blocks, and Question Sets (8)
- Advanced Test Creation Settings (9)
- Deploy Tests and Student Exceptions (10)
- Due Date Exceptions (11)
- View Assessment Item Analysis Statistics (12)
Wednesday, March 25, 2 pm – 4 pm – Blackboard Basics Mini-Workshop
Blackboard Tools for Western Carolina Grade Center Intensive
- Columns and Manual Grade Entry (13)
- Configure Default Total or Weighted Total Columns (14)
- Column Options and Organization (15)
- Grading Periods and Smart Views (16)
- Letter Schemas (17)
- Add Additional Calculated Columns (18)
Yes, most of us like shiny, flashy, and interactive technologies.
How many truly awful webinars have you experienced?
How many times have you had to log back on, or fight with your microphone settings?
And, indeed, we have three well-provisioned video conferencing platforms that should handle the traffic, Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, and MS Teams meetings. We also have Panopto which will allow you to record video and audio to share with your students. And video and live conferencing may be more engaging when done well, but it isn’t necessarily easier, and it is most certainly far more difficult to make compliant with accessibility laws and to get to work consistently over low-bandwidth connections.
Even if you are adept with technology, we urge you to tend toward simplicity with students who didn’t seek to be online students. They may not like to read, but text may be your and their best friend.
If you create text within Blackboard using any of the built-in functions, it is automatically usable by screen readers and available for students who need that tool. Discussion boards may be clunky, but once you’ve mastered the flow, they work, and at low bandwidth.
If you choose to do live classes or to record videos, you may want to consider pre-scripting them so that you can easily send a copy of the transcript to any student who requests the transcript.
So consider whether your high-stakes information and content might better be delivered as text, as text and photos, or as a recorded video that has an identical transcript.
Remember that you can insert images and links to YouTube videos easily within Blackboard from the editor and that links to external sites work as well. You can even create a reflection assignment or discussion board afterwards.
For images, remember copyright issues (a great guide from our library is available here) and remember that there are several cultural heritage institutions that provide their images free for educational use (like the Smithsonian).
And, if you’ve been forced to move online because of outside factors, be kind to yourself. Stick with simplicity or use simplicity as a fallback when complexity causes confusion.
Remember that the best practices of online course-creation call for a 1-2 year preparation for a well-designed online course and that many outside companies suggest a budget in the tens of thousands for well designed video and interactive content. You don’t have the time for that. You have the core of content and can use tools like Zoom or Collaborate as extensions of the relationships that will get us all through this time of change together.
Focus on getting a working wall of sandbags built to channel the water for a short period of time. This isn’t time to try to build one of the wonders of the world.
We’re here to help you with your technology, but don’t forget that words and reading are still one of the most powerful technologies, and that they still have their place in the world of online teaching and learning.