The Fall Blend – A Hybrid Course Workshop Now Offered Every Week This Summer

The Coulter Faculty Commons is offering three new sections of its Fall Planning Workshop (“Fall Blend”), intended to help faculty walk through design, delivery, and technology considerations for fall teaching. A workshop will be offered each week until the beginning of fall courses, following a Tuesday – Thursday format:

  • July 28 – 30
  • August 4 – 6
  • August 11 – 13

Faculty will begin each day in a Zoom session with other participating faculty, prior to joining their small cohorts in breakout style sessions. In the breakout groups, emphasis will be provided on helping faculty work through their own unique teaching challenges and situations. Daily goals will be set by the faculty member, with a check-in late in the day. An educational technology or educational developer from the CFC will facilitate each group, bringing unity to common themes and concerns. Faculty will spend independent time between the two Zoom sessions, developing a holistic plan or working on digitizing lessons. Two live technology sessions will be hosted by the Educational Technology team in the CFC late in the week.

Faculty may sign up through an Office365 registration form.

Note: the total time commitment requires 4-5 hours each day.

Faculty will receive the following information the week prior to their workshop start date:

  • A digital workbook on blended learning
  • “Save the Date” times for the daily live sessions
  • Dates for the live “technology and course design” sessions with CFC educational technology staff
  • Video content showing how to digitize and deliver instructional content in Panopto and Blackboard
  • Organizational/planning sheets to facilitate transfer of F2F teaching to digital teaching

 

CFC Offers Course for Rapid Online Transition for Online Fall Courses

Moving Rapidly to Remote Instruction (MRRI) will help you rapidly develop your face-to-face course for remote instruction for this fall’s semesters. If you are planning on teaching a fall 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 who are experienced online faculty.  This is not the full Online Course Design Institute, but will take you through the streamlined basics of creating an online course so that you can be prepared for the Fall of 2020.

Dates: July 10 – August 1, 2020
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 July, 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!

The Fall Blend – Hybrid Course Design Workshops

Coffee cup, latte with leaf design

It’s not too early to start working on your fall courses, particularly this year as we work within the requirements that the pandemic has imposed on us. Social Distancing will drastically reduce the number of students in your classrooms and labs requiring the need to rethink how you will teach. You may be moving totally online or using one of the suggested modalities in the Fall Instruction Plan from the Provost’s office. Without exception, you will not be teaching the way you taught last fall.

This three day online workshop offered by the Coulter Faculty Commons will guide you through a process using the goals and outcomes for your course to design learning experiences that work for both for you and the students. By using best practices in hybrid course design and facilitation, you will discover creative ways to engage your students online. You will also learn which activities and content can be put online for asynchronous access and prioritize what needs to happen in that very precious face-to-face or synchronous online time (Zoom). The goal of this workshop is to provide you with a streamlined process for converting your courses to a hybrid modality.

Each workshop will run from Tuesday through Thursday. We are offering the workshop three times this summer, starting this week.

For more information on the workshop and how to register, see The Fall Blend page on the CFC website, https://affiliate.wcu.edu/cfc/events/fallblend/.

LMS Team Adds Accessibility Aid to Help Prepare for Fall 2020

If you have been in your Blackboard courses in June, you may have noticed that there are additional icons that appear in the instructor view and in the student view.  We’ve added a tool called “Ally” to Blackboard Learn.  This tool gives two different sorts of assistance: one for students; and one for instructors.  The instructors can also see and access the student tool.  These new tools help us to meet our legal and moral obligations to our students with learning differences.

If you create items natively in Blackboard (with the exceptions of some specialized HTML coding) all of the content is compatible with national and international standards for accessibility and universal design for learning and compliant with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.   If, however, you choose to add items like PowerPoint decks, Word documents, PDFs and videos, it is the responsibility of the instructor, in normal circumstances, to make the additional materials compliant.

We recognize that many of our courses have content that has evolved over time, and so this tool will give instructors the opportunity to review their course content with a new set of “eyes” and to review their current content by today’s accessibility standards.  It will also allow students to have a digital assistant that can attempt to correct a number of issues without instructor intervention and in so doing, keep more students on track.

Student View:
Blackboard Ally Alternative Format Image

Students do not see the instructor indicators and do not have access to an accessibility report.  They only get an indicator beside each item for which Ally can assist, that will give them access to a tool which may be able to help them move forward and have some level of access to the content.  If the instructor has also made the recommendations the tool recommends, the student’s options will be significant.  If the instructor hasn’t done anything, the tool may still be able to remediate the content to an accessible alternative.

Instructor View:
Instructor Visual Indicators

Ally gives instructors tools to audit all added content except audio and video and to see to what degree the documents, presentations, and images in your course are considered compatible by current accessibility standards.

As an instructor, you can work on your course content in two ways, by using the indicators in the course content, and by running your full accessibility report from “Course Tools.”

The indicators give you a fairly intuitive workflow with scoring that is based not on how “bad the problem is” or even how fixable the issue may be but on how a screen reader or other assistive device will encounter, and importantly, navigate, what you’ve given the students.

When you are in your course, you click the symbol and Ally will launch an assistant tool that will give you recommendations and remedies for making the file more accessible.  The CFC can help you walk through any confusion or difficulties you have with the tool or you can review our current help document on the tool, watch this short video introduction, or review this use guide.

If you are interested in seeing the status of your whole course you can go to the Course Tools and run an Instructor’s Accessibility Report.  You may even take some delight in running the report both before and after you do the work to make it more accessible for more learners.
Image of Accesibility Report in Menu

Three recommendations as a teaching colleague:  1) Don’t be too hard on yourself if you get the red gauge, in many cases it will be a case of a document that you haven’t “tagged” and the tool can assist you by doing the tagging directly from your Word or PowerPoint original;  2) Fix the easy things first; 3) Remember that this is an act of compassion and empathy in addition to helping us meet our legal requirements.

Together we can continue to work to design our Fall 2020 semester so that every learner can succeed in an environment that values equity and difference.

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!

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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