Preparing to Offer Your Course Online

Will you be offering your course online in a future semester or term? Do you need help preparing?  Here is a run down of available resources from instructional technology. Because you are busy, our focus is on providing on-demand help and giving you entry points to get you started in the knowledge domain of online pedagogy.

As experts in your own knowledge domain, you understand what it takes to develop expertise in new areas, so we are giving you the scaffolding and threshold concepts that will jump start your understanding of the theory and practice of online teaching and learning.

  • Top 5 questions to ask as you are making decisions about setting up your course for summer, along with a menu of answers 
  • Generic Online Course Syllabus Template: You can use this template or just copy out useful policy statements (e.g., substantive interaction to take the place of attendance) and descriptions of academic support services for online courses.
  • Community Wisdom: COVID-19 remote instruction workplace group–share your tips and questions and hear from other faculty teaching remotely as you draw on the collective wisdom of our community
  • Just in Time Support Are you stuck?  Send an email to support@stedwards.edu.
  • On Demand Technology Help: Search our knowledge base at support.stedwards.edu
  • Instructional Design Consultation: Want to meet with an instructional designer with expertise in online teaching and learning to optimize your course?  One hour of work with an instructional designer could save you hours of development time later.  When you begin working on your course reach out to us by emailing support@stedwards.edu and using the phrase “instructional design” in your email. To ensure instructional designer availability, please sign up by May 1 for summer courses.  After that date, help will be provided as available.  For example, instructional designers can help with:
    • Translating face-to-face learning activities to online versions
    • Setting up assignments and gradebook in Canvas
    • Creating and sharing video lectures
  • Self-paced training: Have a little more time (2-4 hours)?  Instructional Technology has two self-paced courses in Canvas that give you a deeper dive into online course design and best practices for teaching online and model Canvas course shell design.  A little time here can save you a lot of frustration at a later date.  Each course takes 1- 2 hours to go through; then go back later to access the linked resources, as needed.  Request access by emailing support@stedwards.edu.
    • Building Online Courses — proven strategies for online learning activities and assessments, student engagement, and course set up in Canvas
    • Teaching Online — proven strategies for getting and keeping students engaged and on track and managing grading and other workload
  • Sample Canvas course shell — no need to stare at a blank course–this design gives you a head start on building your course the way you want. Request access by emailing support@stedwards.edu.
  • Course Design Review Standards: A rubric of proven, research-based practices for online course design. This link goes to the first page of the standards broken down by category, with annotations, but you can also download a pdf of all standards. (Advanced knowledge)

Top 5 Questions for Moving Your Course Online

Are you moving a traditional face-to-face course online? This page will lead you through the top 5 questions to think through for a successful transition. You will receive our best recommendations for building your online course based on your responses. Just click on your answer(s) to each question below to see recommendations; you may have more than one answer to each question.

Please contact Instructional Technology at support@stedwards.edu if you would like to learn more about these options.

1. Content Delivery: How will you deliver lectures and other content you would typically cover in class?

For required synchronous live sessions, we recommend Zoom.

  • Use a Pro Zoom account for conducting class sessions. Contact support@stedwards.edu to request one.
  • Meet at your scheduled class time, as if you were meeting on campus, to avoid creating conflicts with other classes.
  • Reference this article for tips on scheduling Zoom meetings to conduct class or office hours.

For optional synchronous live sessions, we recommend Zoom.

  • Use a Pro Zoom account for conducting class sessions. Contact support@stedwards.edu to request one.
  • Meet at your scheduled class time to avoid creating conflicts with other classes.
  • To give credit for those who cannot attend a live session, record the session, post the link in Canvas, and have students post a summary of what was covered.
  • Reference this article for tips on scheduling Zoom meetings to conduct class or office hours.

For pre-recorded lectures, we recommend Panopto.

  • Review this article to get started using Panopto to record lectures.
  • Consider chunking your recorded lectures into short segments of no more than 10 minutes. 

When locating existing resources, here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Check for accessibility: videos should have captions, text should be formatted with headings, images should include concise descriptive text.
  • Link to videos in Canvas rather than downloading/uploading the video file.

Have other ideas on how to deliver lectures and other course content? Great! Contact support@stedwards.edu if you would like to consult with Instructional Technology staff about how to implement them.

 

2. Interaction: How will your students interact with each other?

Suggestions for facilitating student interaction during synchronous live sessions in Zoom:

Suggestions for setting up discussion boards in Canvas to promote student engagement:

  • Enable the setting that requires students to post before viewing other students' posts.
  • Require that each student respond to at least 1 or 2 other students' posts.
  • Model quality discussion posts by participating in your discussion boards.

Suggestions for facilitating group assignments:

  • Have students use GSuite tools like Google Drive, Docs, Slides, and Meet.
  • Have students record virtual meetings.
  • Assign a peer evaluation to assess group member participation.

For social annotation, we recommend Hypothesis or Zoom.

  • Review our support article for information on setting up Hypothesis for social annotation in Canvas.
  • Review this support article for information on using Zoom annotation tools.

This support article reviews the steps for setting up and using a Google chat room.

Have other ideas on how to have students interact online? Great! Contact support@stedwards.edu if you would like to consult with Instructional Technology staff about how to implement them.

 

3. Student Assessment: What types of graded assignments will students need to complete?

Papers, projects and other work typically done on paper can all be submitted online through Canvas. Review best practices for creating Canvas Assignments.

Quizzes and exams can be set up in Canvas:

  • Review your options for creating quizzes in Canvas.
  • You can create many different question types; some types, such as multiple choice, true-false and matching are auto-graded, while short answer and essay questions are graded using SpeedGrader.

Discussion boards can promote student interaction and engagement:

  • Review the steps to create a discussion in Canvas.
  • Discussions can be graded or ungraded. For graded discussions, consider using a rubric to clearly explain your expectations for each post.
  • Consider requiring that students respond to one or more of their peers to encourage more interaction.

Digital media projects such as videos and websites can enhance the learning experience for students and/or provide engaging alternatives to papers and exams. You can request a consultation on developing digital media projects by contacting support@stedwards.edu.

Have other ideas on how to assess your students? Great! Contact support@stedwards.edu if you would like to consult with Instructional Technology staff about how to implement them.

 

4. Student Presentations: How will students conduct presentations they would typically deliver in class?

For live student presentations, we recommend Zoom:

  • Be sure to enable screen sharing so students can present their slides. 
  • Recording the session will allow you to go back and review the presentations later for assessment.

For recorded individual student presentations, we recommend Panopto:

For live group presentations, we recommend Zoom:

  • Be sure to enable screen sharing so students can present their slides. 
  • Recording the session will allow you to go back and review the presentations later for assessment.

For recorded group student presentations, we recommend a combination of Panopto and Zoom:

If your class does not require student presentation, move on to Question 5.

 

5. Technology Requirements: Will your course require any specialized technology?

Great! All St. Edward’s University students have access to Microsoft Office and GSuite applications for free with their student credentials.

Refer to our list of available academic tools to see if St. Edward’s provides access to the software you need. Contact support@stedwards.edu to verify whether students have access to required software off-campus.

TurnItIn is a tool you can use to identify unoriginal content in student submissions. Refer to our support article to learn more about Turnitin, best practices for using it, and how to set up an assignment with it in Canvas.

Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor provide options for remote exam proctoring. 

  • Review the steps for proctoring an online exam with Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor.
  • Respondus Monitor has specific hardware requirements that may pose a challenge for your students (they must have macOS, Windows PC or iPad with a webcam, microphone and stable internet; not compatible with Chromebooks or smartphones). Communicate these needs early to make sure all students have what they need.
  • Consider alternative forms of assessment that can promote academic integrity and provide your students more flexibility.

If your class will require students to have this technology (for videoconferencing, recording, or remote proctoring, for example) inform students early on and verify that all students have access.

If your class requires additional specialized hardware and/or software, inform students early on and verify that all students have access.

 

6. What’s next?

This page is intended to jump start your efforts to develop your online course, but there is much more to learn.  To review resources for developing your expertise in online pedagogy visit our page on Preparing to Offer Your Course Online, which includes a full list of available development options.

Strategies for Promoting Academic Integrity in the Online Classroom

St. Edward’s University establishes a culture of academic integrity in keeping with its Holy Cross mission and values through its Academic Integrity Policy (see the policy in the current Bulletin).  In online courses and programs, instructional design and pedagogical practices work to remove opportunities and incentives for cheating, plagiarism, and other violations of academic integrity. Below is a roundup of strategies that promote academic integrity.

  • Build an “academic community of integrity” in the classroom.
    • Instructors should build a community of trust in online and blended courses through frequent interaction, such as weekly video meetings and online discussions.
  • Include frequent low-stakes assignments or assessments to gain insight into a student’s ability and progress, as well as familiarity with a student’s writing style and other work to facilitate plagiarism detection.
  • Eliminate high stakes assignments or exams to reduce the exigency that causes many students to cheat.
    • Break large projects into smaller tasks, which also encourages task planning and time management.
    • Avoid creating lengthy exams by instead breaking them into a series of smaller tests or quizzes.
  • Take steps to minimize test anxiety which can lead to cheating.
    • Give students frequent and timely feedback.
    • Offer non-graded practice exams to help students self-assess and prepare.
    • Give clear instructions on time limits.
    • Consider offering open book exams.
    • Consider letting students retake assessments multiple times and provide automated feedback for incorrect answers to promote learning.
  • Take steps to minimize opportunities for cheating.
    • Create unique versions of assessments for each student through the use of
      • Question banks
      • Randomized question order
      • Shuffled answer choices for multiple choice questions.
    • Set time limits for quizzes and exams to reduce opportunities for students to look up the information elsewhere.
    • For more information on setting up quizzes or exams in Canvas, see Creating Quizzes in Canvas.
    • Create unique assignments and assessments to reduce opportunities for students to find the answers elsewhere online. Ask students to apply course concepts to their own work or personal context.
    • Use essay questions graded with a rubric rather than multiple choice or other objective question types.
    • For online discussions, require students to post their response before seeing those of other students.

Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that are freely available and openly licensed, allowing you and your students to access and use them in your courses for free. OER include textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, video, audio, simulations, assessments, and any other content used in education (ELI 2018).

Have you considered incorporating OER into your courses? Use of OER reduces cost for students and ensures all students have access to course materials from day one, thus breaking down barriers to access and affordability. As an instructor, using OER allows you to choose the most current, meaningful content and customize materials to your specific course learning outcomes.

Check out this video for a brief overview of OER and research on their effectiveness:

To get started using OER, we encourage you to visit Educause’s Open Educational Resources page, which provides some key resources for understanding and integrating these resources into your courses as well as links to OER repositories. Prefer to talk to someone in person? Contact an Instructional Technology staff member to set up a consultation.

We also invite you to two events we are hosting on the topic of OER in the coming weeks:

Reference

“7 Things You Should Know About Open Education: Content.” 7 Things You Should Know About Open Education: Content, ELI, June 2018, https://library.educause.edu/resources/2018/6/7-things-you-should-know-about-open-education-content.

Are Incoming Freshmen Digital Learners?

It’s that time of year again when all the reports come out to tell faculty about this year’s incoming freshman class, like Beloit’s Mindset List which annually reminds us all of how old we are.  The Office of Information Technology partners with our summer orientation programs to survey all incoming freshmen about their technology habits.  This year we had 523 responses to the survey. Follow this link to see all eight infographics and read on for highlights: Freshmen Technology Survey Infographics

Generation Z

100% of students have a smart phone; 82% have iphones & 18% have android phonesSome of those reports tell us that our freshmen are members of Generation Z and describe them as “connected since birth” (Cheryl Faux. “Generation Z: Connected From Birth.” 27 February 2015.)  Our survey results bear that out–100% of survey respondents report owning a smart phone.  In past years, there was always at least one who did not; but this year we’ve crossed the threshold to full ownership.  That constant connection comes out in their digital habits–they spend their time online on social media (85%, with Instagram and Snapchat as the leading apps), 63% check their email at least daily with another 19% checking when notified, and 64% manage their to do lists with reminders on their phone. A staggering 90% of students video chat, with 75% using Facetime (82% have iPhones). Take a look at all eight infographics (also linked from the thumbnail below) to gain more insight into how they take notes, manage deadlines, and prefer to communicate with instructors. Continue reading

From Written to Digital: Faculty Digital Assignments

photo of man working at a computerLet’s begin by taking a look at which assignments our faculty members are implementing in their own classes. The assignments represent a variety of instructional techniques, technologies, and end products.

photo of Innes MitchellShort Film
Innes Mitchell, Communication
Group Project, 3-4
Technology: Adobe Premiere

The short film assignment asks students to conduct 4 interviews from their peers in order to create a 4-5 minute video on the topic of feminism. He also requires that students must hand in a script and include voice-over narration. The goal of this assignment is for students to tackle a broad topic, argue their perspective, and reach a decided conclusion about the topic. Essentially students are being asked to find their voice as producers of meaning for a peer audience.

Issue Film
Group Project, 4-5
Technology: Adobe Premiere

Occurring after the short film assignment, Dr. Mitchell merges his groups to form larger ones and assigns a 10-12 minute video project. The intent is that students will focus more heavily on the process of video production: pre-production, production and postproduction. They are also required to interview 6 individuals and arrange a site visit to an organization in the local area. Students must also prepare a 15-minute presentation in which they present their film plan.


Photo of Jena HeathStorytelling with Sound
Jena Heath, Writing
Individual Project
Technology: Adobe Audition, SoundCloud

Here Professor Heath asks her students to create a very short audio, no longer than 2 and a half minutes, news story à la NPR. This brevity challenges her students to keep their stories laser-focused. Students must also interview at least one individual and provide a voice over to help tie together the story. Students are also asked to consider how ambient noise can add atmosphere to their news story.


Photo of Dede GarrisonComposing in 3 Different Genres Project
Professor Dede Garrison, Literature, Writing and Rhetoric
Individual Project
Technology: Adobe Spark

In this assignment, Professor Garrison has her students take pieces of their research paper (which they completed earlier in class) and repurpose it either into a graphic design piece, a website, or video. The intent here is to make students aware of different audiences that might consume their work and how they can tailor their work to serve multiple groups.


Photo of Don UngerCommunity Engagement through ATX Hack for Change
Don Unger, Literature, Writing and Rhetoric
Group Project,
Technologies: Screencast-o-matic

This project requires Dr. Unger to find a compatible community partner to work with his students. He was able to find such a partner though ATX Hack for Change. This project asked his students to create instructional videos for Austin Free-Net. Because branding was especially important, Dr. Unger had his students work on the intro and credits of the videos in class. In-class conversations discussed the aims of the tutorials, how to write instructions, as well as how long the videos should be. In the end, these conversations help students determine what was best for their client’s and audience’s needs.

Now we’ve covered the types of assignments, you might be thinking that this is something you want to actually do. In our next post, we’re going to figure out how to get started.


Images from Pexels , which are copyright free. Those selected do not require attribution. No infringement intended.

Google, Mobile, and What Else? Insights from the 2017 Freshman Technology Survey

As we do every year, we surveyed incoming freshmen about their technology habits during summer orientation. This year we received nearly 800 responses.  What did we learn?

Google

Freshmen Technology Survey 2017 Google Use

Freshmen Technology Survey 2017 Google Use

Incoming Freshmen Google Use 2013 - 2017

Incoming Freshmen Google Use 2013 – 2017

Some things we already knew–students like Google and their Google use is only going up. This year we saw 94% using Gmail, 81% using Google Drive, 75% using the Google Chrome browser, and 74% using Google Docs.  Given our recent switch to Gmail & Google calendar, we in OIT were happy to see that.  We’ll also take their use of Drive and Docs into account as we consider whether and when to turn on those other apps in GSuite.

Mobile

And, of course, yes, our students are as mobile as ever.

Freshmen Technology Survey 2017 Mobile Technology Use

Freshmen Technology Survey 2017 Mobile Technology Use

 

Digital Identity? Not so much . . .

What are they doing with their constant connection?  88% report that they use the web for Social Media.  This year, we decided to unpack what that means by asking them if they maintain a digital identity.

Freshman Technology Survey 2017 Digital Identity and Web Use. 71% don't maintain a digital identity and 88% use the web for social media.

Freshman Technology Survey 2017 Digital Identity and Web Use

Students and Social Media Freshman Technology Survey 2017

Incoming Freshman 2017 Social Media Use by Platform

71% of them don’t.  If you look more closely at their social media apps, Facebook and Twitter use continues to decline while Instagram and Snapchat use is growing.  These two apps, in particular, function off the idea of instantaneous and ephemeral communication.  In her study of teen social media use, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Network Teens, danah boyd, argues that teens replicate analog communications and see digital spaces as a continuum not an alternative to face-to-face interactions.  Instagram and Snapchat have replaced my generation’s practice of passing notes in class.  These apps are not necessarily about establishing a brand identity, unlike social media apps, Facebook and Twitter, where we see use declining.

Online or web-enhanced learning?

Past Learning Management Systems Used, 2017 Freshman Technology Survey ResultsWhile they may not be branding themselves on the open web, students are used to using the web for learning.  This year, we saw a dramatic drop in the response for students who have “never used an LMS (learning management system)” from 43% last year to 17% this year.

While most students have experience using an online LMS, they have not been fully online students. Nevertheless, even here we saw an increase:  35% have taken a class online which is up from 31% last year. In other words, over a third of incoming freshmen are familiar with online classes.

 

Working Digitally

Beyond online learning, students increasingly work digitally whether that is composing assignments and notes using online Docs (like Google) or accessing course materials, information, and grades online. What does this mean for instruction?  These students are ready for faculty to level up in Canvas by moving more course workflow online, but they may also be open for more innovative uses of online technology like collaborative projects, writing, peer editing, or group brainstorming.  Instructors could even leverage those ubiquitous mobile devices to expand the face-to-face classroom or encourage virtual group work outside of class.

What’s Next?

Finally, we always ask what new technologies students are interested in.  This year, wearable tech, 3D printing, and virtual reality headsets all passed 50% . Is it time to get a makerspace on campus?

Freshman Technology Survey results 2017, what new technology are students interested in?

What new technology are students interested in? 2017 Freshmen Technology Survey Results

Acknowledgements

Thanks to  Brenda Adrian, Jenny Cha, Ling Chen, Laura Lucas, Chris Mosier, Joana Trimble, Mike Weston for contributing insights to this post and to Eric Trimble and the team of student workers in Instructional Technology for the graphics.

Experiments in Teaching Recap

Experiments in TeachingOn Wednesday, February 22, the Center for Teaching Excellence, Instructional Technology, and the Munday Library hosted Experiments in Teaching, a celebration of pedagogical experiments on campus. At this event, sixteen St. Edward’s faculty members, representing all five schools, presented a series of two-minute “lightning talks” about innovative teaching techniques or projects they have implemented in their classes. The lightning talk format allowed each presenter just enough time to tease the audience with essential information about their work – including a description of their teaching experiment and their goals for taking this approach – and gave the audience exposure to a wide variety of teaching models in use at the university. Presenters and attendees then had the opportunity to mingle during the reception to ask follow-up questions and engage in deeper discussion. Continue reading

SXSWEdu: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Solve Problems

temple

Temple Grandin, SXSWEdu 2016 opening keynote speaker, is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and often speaks about her personal story of autism and cattle handling.

Temple, this charming quirky character, shared her personal story of growing up with the label of autism. Her talk was both inspiriting and entertaining.

As Temple Grandin stated, to help people learn, you need to first realize people think differently. Different kinds of minds mean different problem solving skills. For example, restricting students to one path of achieving a goal, such as requiring a non-needed prerequisite for advanced courses, might set a very high boundary for people who think differently. As Temple claimed, learning should be building up things that people are good at.

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Intellectual Property for Faculty and Digital Course Materials

In Fall 2015, the Faculty Senate asked Rebecca Frost Davis, Director of Instructional and Emerging Technology, about the issue of intellectual property for faculty and digital course materials.  Her reply was shared with all faculty members with the Faculty Senate Agenda for the meeting on January 29, 2016 and is reproduced below.  This text is intended to provide information about common practice in higher education and is not a legal opinion.

I believe that there are two areas of ambiguity in intellectual property for faculty around the digital assets of their courses. In particular, I am speaking of what we call the “course shell,” which is essentially all the material and the course layout in the learning management system, e.g., Blackboard, Canvas, etc. Because course shells can be exported from one system and imported into another (even between institutions), the issue of ownership is called into question. The two areas of ambiguity are 1) low-residency, hybrid or online programs and 2) courses taught by multiple instructors, especially including contingent faculty members.

1) Low-residency, hybrid or online programs

The first area of ambiguity comes with online or low residency courses because their course shell is so much more substantial and often requires that substantial university resources go into course construction. While we have no way of knowing how much time a faculty member puts into constructing a typical face-to-face course, I do know that for online or low residency courses where an instructional designer designs the course shell, the instructional designer typically puts in 150 hours of work (this does not include faculty labor). For this reason, we advise those programs considering hybrid, low-residency, or online programs to create contracts with faculty clarifying ownership of the course and its assets.

The new low-residency MBA program provides a good example of this issue because courses are designed to be taught by multiple faculty members for the program. Faculty designers knew this from the beginning, signed contracts to that effect, and are actively designing the courses for reuse by others. For example, courses include videos from multiple university community members to better represent the Munday School of Business rather than just the course designer. Nancy Schreiber would be the best person to ask about these contracts.

Contracts that clarify intellectual property are best practice in this area; typically, the university retains ownership of the course shell, especially where they supplied substantial resources for design and creation of the faculty member was contracted to design the course for reuse by others. In effect, this does not mean the faculty member cannot teach the same content at another university (that would be difficult to monitor), but it does mean they should not be exporting the course shell, video content, etc., and reusing it at another institution without permission. It also means that the university can reuse these digital assets even if the original designer has left the university.

2) Courses taught by multiple instructors

A second area of confusion comes with courses taught by multiple instructors, like many of our required courses for general education or courses required for certain programs that are taught by multiple faculty members, especially contingent faculty members. Instructors at St. Edward’s routinely share course materials, pedagogical approaches, and teaching ideas. That is part of our vibrant culture of teaching and learning, and I would hate to see that end because of concerns about intellectual property. Once again, however, because technology makes that sharing even easier, it can also lead to abuses.

It is common practice for instructors to request that their course be copied for use by another instructor. Instructional technology also gets requests from new or contingent faculty for a copy of another instructor’s course shell. This practice is an extension of the practice of sharing syllabi with new faculty. For example, when I taught Latin at UT, I was given multiple syllabi from former versions of the course as a model for my course. I don’t have exact numbers at hand for how often each of these happens at SEU, but I would be happy to ask my team to look into it. In either case, our practice is to only make copies with the permission of the instructor or, if the instructor is no longer available, with the permission of the department chair or someone else with authority over the course.

Canvas offices a promising new functionality that will clarify ownership and sharing. Canvas Commons allows instructors, departments, and schools to share materials, assignments, course elements, and even whole courses. These can be shared with departments, schools, the whole university, or the general public. Those who share are required to label their material with a license, which can range from “Copyright, All Rights Reserved” all the way up to the most open Creative Commons License. This is a great solution for making transparent the sharing that goes on between instructors and within departments, programs, and schools at SEU because it puts control of the material in the hands of the faculty creator. You can find out more about Canvas Commons here: https://stedwards.instructure.com/accounts/1/external_tools/101?launch_type=global_navigation

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