A variety of circumstances might require you to temporarily take your class online with minimal notice. A primary 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. A secondary challenge is your readiness to make that shift to online instruction quickly.
The resources listed here provide multiple options for keeping your class running—likely more than any one instructor could use. In order to make your course run smoothly during this time, focus on the most basic elements you need to put in place to meet your short-term instructional objectives. If the situation continues, you can augment those basic activities, finding ways to meet longer-term objectives online as well. Having a preliminary plan in place and taking steps now will pay off hugely in the event of a campus closure or other instructional disruption.
Key Steps in Assuring Instructional Continuity
Check with your department. Your department may issue more details about the situation and guidelines about their expectations for classes.
Communicate with your students right away. Even if you don't have a formal plan in place, communicate with your students as soon as possible, informing them that changes are coming and what your expectations are for checking email or Moodle.
Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction. What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Can you maintain your original syllabus and schedule?
Review your course schedule to determine priorities. Identify your priorities during the disruption—providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc.
Review your syllabus for elements that must be adjusted. What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)? Since students will also be thrown off by the changes, they will appreciate details as soon as you can provide them.
Choose tools and approaches familiar to you and your students. Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary.
Technology Options to Consider
There are many technologies available to support remote teaching. This list provides an overview of popular options that are supported by SOU and links to support documentation. If you are not currently using Moodle, check out these basic steps for Getting Started in Moodle. You can also self-enroll in Mastering Moodle, our faculty resource course that demonstrates many activities and resources and/or Moodle Support Theater featuring many how-to videos on creating and using Moodle tools. (Note: If you are not already logged into Moodle, be sure to scroll down below the Raider Hawk to access the SOU Account Login link.) See additional technology resources offered by SOU Information Technology.
- SOU is now a Zoom Enterprise campus. All users now have Licensed ("Pro") status making it possible to record to the Cloud among other activities.
- SOU Information Technology has a number of webcams and headsets for faculty use. For information and support regarding computing hardware, file storage or internet access, see IT's resources for connecting remotely.
Model Course Template/Student Resources
We have developed a Model Course Template that faculty can apply to a course shell. (Note: If you are not already logged into Moodle, be sure to scroll down below the Raider Hawk to access the SOU Account Login link.) The course is preloaded with:
- Weekly overview pages, assignment links, forum links, and summary pages
- A direct link to the Quality Matters "Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist"
- A form to request the application of the template to your course shell (including the creation of groups and/or combination of sections)
If you have used Moodle previously but would like to add additional support to your students, we've backed up the Student Resources book from the Model Course Template, making it possible for you to insert it in your course as a standalone resource. Follow these instructions to restore it in your course.
Keeping in touch with students is vital during any changes to your class(es) due to a crisis impacting all or part of campus. You'll want to let students know about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Consider offering online office hours via Zoom on a regular basis or by appointment. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety, and save you dealing with individual questions.
Post an Announcement
Send Individualized Quickmail Messages
Zoom FAQ's for Faculty
You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments (see below) may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving forward.
Post a File
Open Educational Resources (OERs)
Depending on your course, you may need to deliver some lectures to keep the course moving along and establish a sense of normalcy. Lectures can also help you maintain a personal connection with your students, the “instructor presence” that is recognized as a key component in a successful online course. To aid student learning, record lectures in short (5-10 minute) chunks. Using Zoom to record a voice-over presentation is a low-tech solution to sharing a mini-lecture with students. Keep in mind that some students may not have access to fast internet connections, so use sparingly.
Record a (Brief) Audio or Video Message
Record a Presentation with Zoom
Share and Caption a Presentation on YouTube
Share a Presentation on Your Google Drive
Teaching a Class with Zoom: Practical & Pedagogical Tips
Fostering communication among students is important because it allows you to reproduce any collaboration you build into your course, and maintains a sense of community that can help keep students motivated to participate and learn. It helps if you already have some sort of student-to-student online activity (for example, Moodle Forums), since students will be used to both the process and the tool.
Create & Grade Discussion Forums: Quick Guide
Collecting assignments during a campus closure is fairly straightforward, since many instructors already collect work electronically. Assignment links in Moodle offer significant advantages over having students email their work: download submissions in batches, and grade and comment on student work.
Create Assignments: Quick Guide
Create and Grade Assignments: Complete Guide
The CATL has drafted this guide to Best Practices in Testing Security that outlines strategies for using Moodle quizzes and provides guides to Safe Exam Browser and Zoom proctoring. Proctoring is also available via ProctorU at a cost to students, if it is not possible for students to access an alternate proctoring site. Given the difficulty of ensuring the integrity of online exams, you may want to consider using lower-stake timed quizzes and/or re-working exams as papers or projects as alternative to high-stakes exams.
Create a Quiz with Safe Exam Browser
Get Started with Quizzes
ProctorU Online Proctoring Service
Student Guide to Safe Exam Browser
Accessibility is a measure of how simply a person can participate in an activity. Educational material today must be readily available to a wide audience. Regardless of whether you have received notice about a student requiring accommodation in your course, your course needs to be accessible to all users. Accessible design means that the content can be accessed and used as effectively and for the same purpose by a person with a disability as by a person without a disability. For instance, materials that are accessible can be interpreted by individuals with visual impairment using screen reader technology. We need to create web pages and pdfs that are accessible in order for the technology to work.
Caption a Presentation on YouTube
Students have the following resources available to them (note: If you are not already logged into Moodle, be sure to scroll down below the Raider Hawk to access the SOU Account Login link.):
- Moodle How-to’s for students
- Student Guide to Moodle provides important information about key Moodle functions
- Taking an SEB Exam describes taking a quiz with Safe Exam Browser enabled
- Two-Minute Moodle offers video resources
- Test Drive course makes it possible to learn about and try out Moodle functions
- Online Strategies Moodle course includes books with these chapters:
If you have used Moodle previously but would like to add additional support to your students, we've backed up the Student Resources book from the Model Course Template, making it possible for you to insert it in your course as a standalone resource. Complete this form to have a copy of the Student Resources book placed in your course.