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 in the LMS; 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 

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.

(more…)

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 Zoom or other sychronous tools 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 the LMS 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 the LMS 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 Zoom for these real-time, synchronous sessions.
  • Use Zoom 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.  When using Zoom, be sure to post the link in your course in the announcements or Questions discussion forum.   

 

Faculty Planning Tools – Making the Shift to Online

Organize Graphic with Colorful Tiles

 

 

 

 

 

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 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 the LMS), 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!