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.

Faculty Learning Community: February & March Sessions

Join Instructional Technology and the Center for Teaching Excellence for our February faculty development events. These sessions will mostly be delivered virtually using Zoom and each one is geared specifically towards teaching online. Sessions will be 30 minutes or less and, whether you are teaching online or just want to know more, these practical sessions will help you expand your pedagogical toolbox without setting foot on campus!

Telling the Story of Your Course in the Online Classroom, Rebecca Davis
Tuesday, February 11, 3:30 – 4 pm in Zoom

Framing and contextualizing learning is an important element in any course to keep students oriented and engaged. In a traditional course, this might be the time spent at the beginning of a class or week. In an online course, that same process of “setting the scene” needs to be explicitly stated through the course introduction video, overviews for weeks or units, and weekly announcements. In this session, we’ll look at how you can build the story of your course and touch on this narrative over and over again. Participants will leave with a sense of their course’s story and how to tell it in the course shell.

Transparent Assignment Design,
Rebecca Davis
Friday, February 14, 12:30 -1 pm in Zoom

Data shows that transparency in teaching can positively affect student success by fostering academic confidence, a sense of belonging, and mastery of skills. What does transparency in teaching look like? In this session, we’ll review transparent assignment models, try out templates for transparent assignment design, and provide you with simple strategies to make assignments clearer in terms of directions, purpose, and outcomes.

How to Calculate Course Workload using the Rice Course Workload Estimator, Rebecca Davis
Friday, February 21, 12:30 -1 pm in Zoom

How much time are students working on assignments for your class? In this session, we’ll take a closer look at time. The Rice Course Workload Estimator is a tool to help instructors quantify and compare student workloads across their course. We’ll try it out, discuss pros, cons, and caveats, and discuss other ways of estimating course workload when planning online courses or documenting course rigor for accreditation bodies.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Friday, February 28, 12:30 – 1:30 pm in Holy Cross Hall 101

Join the Center for Teaching Excellence and Instructional Technology for a hands-on workshop on Universal Design for Learning.

RSVP

Interested in reconsidering your content?  Want to craft assignments for different modalities? Curious about intentional community building? Join us for this workshop on Universal Design for Learning where we’ll discuss general principles of the framework and then have time for application to your own courses. The goal with this lunch session is to provide you with resources to implement changes, both immediately and long-term, into your courses.

We recommend that you watch this video in advance of the session:

Using Hypothesis for Social Annotation in Canvas
Rebecca Davis

Friday, March 6, 12:30 – 1 pm in Zoom
Social annotation helps students better engage in digital texts through shared highlighting and comments. For online classes, this interaction can take the place of shared reading of texts in the face-to-face classroom and can be especially helpful when students are approaching new kinds of texts like academic articles. This session will demonstrate the Hypothesis plug-in for Canvas and examples for using social annotation in online classes.

Getting Started with Accessibility in Online Classes
David Cuevas and Brenda Adrian
Tuesday, March 10, 3:30 – 4 pm in Zoom
Accessibility can be an overwhelming topic, but this session will get you started with some practical steps you can take to make your Canvas courses, presentations, and videos more accessible for your students with disabilities. These strategies will also benefit all of your students.

Best Practices for Making Videos
Jessica Vargas, Eric Trimble, Mike Bell
Friday March 27 at 12:30pm  in Zoom
Join us online to learn about evidence-based best practices for creating course videos.  We’ll talk about making instructional videos and recording presentations or mini-lectures.  You’ll learn more about optimum length, legibility, accessibility, scripting, best ways to record, sound & video quality, framing, lighting and captioning.

Designing Assignments with Instructor Workload in Mind – in Zoom
Mike Weston
Tues March 31 at 3:30pm
In this 30 minute session, we’ll take a look at Assignments from the Instructor perspective. Specifically, we’ll look at techniques for grading efficiently, using rubrics and different types of assignments.

Mary Dunn Shares Online Teaching Strategies for the Traditional Classroom

Mary B. Dunn, Assistant Professor of Management

Mary B. Dunn, Assistant Professor of Management

Mary B. Dunn, Assistant Professor of Management, is one of several panelists for the 2017 Teaching Symposium Session, “Online Teaching Strategies for the Traditional Classroom”.  Since Mary can’t make the session, she has offered her remarks in the following essay:

Four Tools I Adopted in My Traditional Classrooms After I Taught On-Line

Good afternoon! My name is Mary Dunn. I am an Assistant Professor in the Management Department in the Munday School of Business. I teach traditional undergraduate classes as well as non-traditional, blended courses for undergraduate and graduate students. I developed and taught an MBA course in the low-residency format at St. Edward’s.

The bulk of my teaching experience has been in the face-to-face format, but I have developed my on-line and blended teaching skills considerably over the past several years. In all of my classrooms (traditional and on-line), I take a relational approach (e.g. Parker, Hall, & Kram, 2008) to learning and building social capital (e.g. Burt, 2000; Coleman, 1990; Granovetter, 1973, 1974), so students are more likely to learn from one another and engage actively with the content. When I teach on-line, one of my primary goals is to create an on-line learning community that is just as interactive, collaborative, and cohesive as those in my traditional classrooms since interaction facilitates positive learning outcomes (Swan, 2002).

Initially, I didn’t expect that my traditional classrooms would gain much from experiences teaching on-line, but I was wrong. I have incorporated several new practices in my traditional classes that help me make my classes more collaborative and interactive. In particular, I find it easier to incorporate technology to flip the classroom, respond to unexpected changes, promote students’ learning from one another in shared reflection, and provide additional feedback. Continue reading

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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