Keeping in touch with students is vital during any changes to your class(es) — whether a viral outbreak like COVID-19, a planned absence on your part, or a crisis impacting all or part of campus. Use this information to be prepared. When you realize you have to move your class online quickly and teach from somewhere other than your Marian classroom, consider the following right away.
You'll want to let students know about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Keep these principles in mind:
You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift more – or all – instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving. Considerations when posting new course materials:
Make sure students know when new material is posted: If you post new materials in Canvas or another shared resource (e.g., Google Drive or OneDrive), be sure to let students know what you posted and where. You might even ask that they change their notification preferences to alert them when new materials are posted. For Canvas, refer them to How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as a student?
Keep things accessible & mobile friendly: In a crisis, many students may only have a mobile device available, so make sure you are using mobile-friendly formats including PDFs and Canvas Pages. Consider saving other files in two formats, its original application format and a PDF. PDFs are easier to read on phones and tablets and keep the file size small, and the original file format often has application features that are helpful to students who use accessibility software. Also note that videos take lots of bandwidth, so only require them if you are confident students will have the network and computing resources to access them during the current situation.
Instructors have several options.
Webex is a Marian tool integrated into Canvas that can be used for video conferencing so you can have live, online sessions (synchronous sessions). Webex also allows you to record these sessions and share the link with your students. View these tutorials to get started with using Webex. There is also a more comprehensive training tutorial if you need further support: Webex Online Training Module
Panopto is used to record video presentations, manage your existing video files, and stream your video content to any device. It can be made available to use on any computer. View these tutorials to get started using Panopto.
Screencast-O-Matic is a tool you can use to record anything on your computer screen with voiceover and then share the video file with your students. It’s a great tool for showing students how to do something. View the following tutorials on how to get started with Screencast-O-Matic:
Accessing Marian Screencast-O-Matic – What you need to get to Marian University Screencast-O-Matic. You also need a microphone, so if you don’t have a built-in microphone with your device, you will need to purchase one to create screencasts.
Getting Started with Your First Screencast – This is a very basic overview of how to create a simple screencast with no editing.
Overview of Recording Tools (made by Screencast-O-Matic) – An overview of the recording tools in Screencast-O-Matic if you want to do more than a simple recording.
Video Editing Tools Archives (made by Screencast-O-Matic) – An overview of various editing tools inside Screencast-O-Matic if you’d like to edit the video recording before posting it.
Uploading and Embedding your Screencast – Once a screencast is ready to go, these steps outline how you get the .mp4 file from Screencast-O-Matic and then upload and embed your .mp4 file into Canvas.
Narrating over PowerPoint presentations is a straightforward way to provide students a quick lecture presentation. View these tutorials on how to get started with narrating over PowerPoint slides. Contact Tom Harrington if you need further assistance - email@example.com
Regardless of which of these tools you use, your sessions should be recorded so they can later be captioned for students. Be considerate of student privacy before posting lectures or any instructional content outside of Marian’s University Canvas courses.
One of the biggest challenges of teaching online from anywhere is sustaining the lab components of classes. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space. Considerations as you plan to address lab activities:
Take part of the lab online: Many lab activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures, and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider if there are other parts of the lab experience you could take online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work). Save the physical practice parts of the labs until access to campus is restored. The quarter might get disjointed by splitting up lab experiences, but it might get you through a short campus closure.
Investigate virtual labs: Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations). Those vary widely by discipline, but check with your textbook publisher, or sites such as Merlot or Open Oregon Educational Resources for materials that might help replace parts of your lab during an emergency.
Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during the closure.
Increase interaction in other ways: Sometimes labs are about providing time for direct student interaction; consider other ways to replicate that type of interaction or create new online interaction opportunities, including using available collaboration tools, such as WebEx.
Collecting assignments during a campus closure is fairly straightforward, since many instructors already collect work electronically. The main challenge during a campus disruption is whether students have access to computers, as anyone needing a campus computer lab may be unable to access necessary technologies. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Consider your class size before using email for assignment collection: It may be easy to collect assignments in small classes via email, but larger classes might swamp your email inbox. Consider using Canvas Assignments instead. Balance what is simplest for students with what is easiest for you to manage.
State expectations, but be ready to allow extensions: In the case of a campus closure or other crisis, some students will undoubtedly have difficulties meeting deadlines. Make expectations clear, but be ready to provide more flexibility than you normally would in your class.
Require specific filenames: It may sound trivial, but anyone who collects papers electronically knows the pain of getting 20 files named Essay1.docx. Give your students a simple file naming convention, for example, FirstnameLastname-Essay1.docx.
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) can provide individual consultation to instructors wanting to adapt an exam online. Here are some options for adapting your exams:.
Use Canvas to offer exam online: Canvas allows final exams to be timed and offered online. This may not work for all classes, however it may be an option for many. Canvas can also auto-grade in many instances. Visit the Canvas Instructor Guides on Quizzes to see tutorials on how to use them in your course. For very large exams, contact the CTL for options CTL@marian.edu
Speedgrader: Assignments and Quizzes facilitated in Canvas can easily be graded by instructors using Speedgrader. Visit the Canvas Instructor Guides on Speegrader to see tutorials on how to use Speedgrader.
Portions of the guidance on this page are adapted from Stanford University Teach Anywhere and the Indiana University keepteaching.iu.edu website. “Keep Teaching” content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License by the Trustees of Indiana University.
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