Faculty: Digital Instruction Support
The following information will help faculty as they transition to teach their courses digitally.
- Download a class roster from OnCourse and save student contact information from Your Connection.
- Send your students a message through the News Forum in OnCourse that includes your contact information and how you’ll communicate with them.
- Remind students to download/save and print a copy of the syllabus. Include your contact information in the syllabus.
- Make sure you can access your teaching materials and Learning Contracts/Learning Agreements from home in the event you cannot get to campus. During this campus disruption, you will automatically be given permission to remotely access your office computer and access the U-drive.
- Be flexible, it is likely that you’ll need to deviate from your syllabus. Estimate the predicted number of impacted class meetings and compare this to the syllabus. What is the priority to continue and what can realistically be done?
- Check my.fredonia.edu for information and updates. Be sure your students know to check daily as well. A coronavirus information link is available on our website and will be updated regularly (www.fredonia.edu/coronavirus)
- Create a communication plan so your students know how and when you will communicate, and how to contact you with questions and requests for clarification. The OnCourse News Forum and Quickmail should be used to contact your students. Using these two tools keeps a history of the communication within the course so students can refer back to your messages. Remember that this is stressful for students, too, so communicating often will help students feel connected to you and the class.
- Communicate new expectations with students. Remember the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. Not all students will have computers at home, or have access to the internet. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
- Select tools you are most comfortable with to facilitate course continuation. These may be tools you are already using, such as Google Drive. Using tools the campus supports connect you to additional help for you and your students. Use the resources on this page to guide you.
- Access campus-supported training and online supports. Your “go-to” should be the Training Schedule and Session Recordings docs, which are regularly updated. The campus will be offering an expanded schedule of training topics and drop-in sessions all semester.
There are two ways to check on this information.
- The Participant list in OnCourse will show you the last time each student has logged in, and can alert you to a student that isn’t accessing your course.
- The Reports feature in OnCourse can show you which students have accessed individual content items in OnCourse. This will let you know if students are using the information you have posted.
Information on how to see these results are available in Answers on the Running Reports and Logs in OnCourse help page.
If you see a student or students not participating, please reach out to them. You may wish to survey your students about how and when they are accessing course materials, as well as problems they anticipate. This can be done through OnCourse Questionnaire tool or with Google Forms.
OnCourse offers several ways to communicate and engage with your students. News Forum, the course announcement tool, allows you to reach all of your students by posting a message. Using this tool creates a history of your announcements in the course shell, allowing students to go back and review communications.
Take careful note of what the campus is communicating to students; visit, use, and send this information to your students as needed. (a) Guidelines for Instruction; (b) Digital Instruction Support; (c) OnCourse support through the Library; and (d) Academic Support for Students. These pages archive the various materials from offices on campus, as well as through SUNY; they also contain information for your own course communications. To save yourself time and ensure that you are consistent with campus messaging, point students to relevant content, rather than creating it yourself.
Virtual Office Hours can be offered through Collaborate. Multiple OnCourse courses can be linked to a single Collaborate room for office hours.
You may want to use OnCourse to upload lecture notes, powerpoint slides, and support materials that you would have handed out in class. Readings available through the library databases can also be uploaded to enhance learning.
Students report they are concerned about keeping track of assignments and communications from 4 to 6 different instructors. One recommendation is to post a single document associated with the content you are providing each week that the students can use as a checklist. This can be posted in a Word document that you have uploaded, or it can be added to the course using the OnCourse Page tool. This document would outline each of the components you have added to OnCourse and any associated deadlines. Include a link to this item when emailing your student’s communicating your weekly plans.
Consider creating and sharing a course-specific Google Calendar for your course. You may add due dates, meeting dates, and other reminders to it, enabling alerts. Ensure that you share it so your students can access it (view, not modify), and embed a link to it in logical places in your OnCourse course. Directions for Calendar can be found through Google’s help site.
When teaching digitally, you will want to engage your students in group discussions, interact with them one-on-one, and assess student learning outcomes. All of this can be done through OnCourse.
Ensure that you have made any needed changes to you OnCourseGradebook, based on modifications to your syllabus:
Due to the “hands on” nature of labs, and the use of equipment and reagents, it can be very challenging to offer the lab components of classes online. However, there are considerations that faculty can make to transition the lab to a digital offering.
- Take part of your 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 can provide online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work).
- 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 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.
- Explore alternate software access. Some labs require access to specialized software that students cannot install on their own computers. Information Technology Services (ITS) might be able to help provide alternate computer lab resources that have the software your students need. See the ITS Toolbox for additional help and contact information.
- Increase interaction in other ways. Sometimes labs are more about having time for direct student interaction, so consider other ways to replicate that level of contact if it is only your lab that is out of commission.
Internships, practicum placements, student teaching, clinical instruction and other forms of learning that are non-classroom based may be difficult to offer digitally. Outcomes and assignments may need to be altered. Additional information and guidance will be available after consultation with internship coordinators, clinical supervisors, and College of Education faculty. Please visit the Faculty Guidelines for Instruction for additional information.
Please visit: http://answers.fredonia.edu/display/OKB
We encourage you to (a) go to Google for the most current on-demand help; and (b) attend ITS sessions in our current Training Schedule and visit Session Recordings from these virtual meetings. And use these strategies using Fredonia’s GSuite (not commercial) tools:
- Inside every Google tool is built-in help. Just look in the toolbar...HELP is always the last pull-down menu there. Just click to view your options, then choose either (a) help specific to the app you are in, or (b) available training; alternatively, use the convenient search window that you’ll see in the Help pull-down menu.
- Make the GSuite Learning Center your go-to. This web-based support gives you tons of on-demand help, as well as ways to master the tools. This is a more reliable place to go for help than just a “Google” search, because this site is always up-to-date with the most current changes in GSuite. Use the pull-down menus or search bar, to get around.
- Go to Google Help for these popular Google tools for building and sharing content (yours and your students):
Ease students into course tools, choosing tools with which you have support and/or experience. We encourage:
- Using tools that you are most comfortable using. These may be tools you are already using in your course - and/or they may be tools that you use for your own productivity (e.g., GSuite Drive). Try one or two new tools to get yourself in gear. Using tools the campus supports will help connect you and students to additional help (see information elsewhere on this page).
- Start with low-stakes activities... things that encourage participation with the tool, but not initial heavy-duty assignments. For example, if you run an initial synchronous meeting (e.g., using Collaborate or Google Meet), consider keeping it short, focusing on their contributions, and try other strategies to help everyone get introduced to the tool.
- Space out requirements, stretching assignment due dates if you are asking students to use a new tool to do the assignment or submit it. This is particularly true of any collaborative work you have planned. Be attentive when students hit obstacles.
- Use available supports. If you are using new tools, you can do this by using ready-made help links and tutorials that email@example.com and ITS can help you choose and use. You do not need to become the “help desk” for your students, but you should try to keep it as simple as you can (for both you and your students). Don’t forget: Encouraging students to problem-solve and share their solutions may also be a powerful companion strategy.
We encourage you to use multiple strategies to address learning outcomes and continue to foster the strong community that you have underway in your courses. You will also want to use your experience to tailor what you’ll do as you scale up for the rest of the semester. Each week will help inform the next.
Identify the essential learning you want students to demonstrate in your course, and identify the most direct, least complicated way(s) for them to show what they know. You will want to choose the fewest number of new tools for you and your students to use.
If you want to hold office hours virtually during the time when your class would normally meet, or be available synchronously with your students, communicate those expectations. Collaborate, built into OnCourse, is a webinar software that allows for synchronous meetings to take place.
We are in an emergency, and - until our Break started - you have been teaching as a “traditional” or face-to-face course, or possibly, blended/hybrid. Fully online courses are not offered just in emergencies, and they have significant other design work incorporated. On our campus, fully online courses go through a serious review process before they are launched.
Does the current mode of Digital Instruction mean you will need to be connected online for some of your work? Yes, you will need Internet access to both post content and interact with your students, but you won’t need 24-7 Internet access. Please read the question on the Student Digital Instruction Support page about “How will I attend my classes during this emergency?”
Consult Answers for detailed directions on other tools in OnCourse and other campus supported tools. There will be a faculty team assisting Online Learning, and they have agreed to be available for questions via Tracker, for in-person trainings and during drop-in hours. For questions and help, email OLL@fredonia.edu. In addition, a training schedule will be emailed weekly.