In an extraordinary circumstance, there may be an announcement of administrative closing of the university during a given semester. Administrative closing means that classes are canceled and contact hours for the semester are reduced. To help you prepare for the closing and maintain the same contact hours required for a semester, we have gathered some of the online or distance learning techniques that can be implemented with short notice.
It is strongly encouraged that you enable Blackboard for your Summer course and make it available to your students in advance of closing date. This will ensure you have a secured system to host your course materials and activities.
Enable Blackboard Guide from FTDC
Upload your Syllabus as a Blackboard Item
Upload a File in Blackboard
Create a Discussion Forum in Blackboard
Create an Assignment in Blackboard
Post a Video or a Web Link
Record Audio in PowerPoint
Record a Short Video in Screencastomatic
Narrate your PowerPoint slides or record a screencast as a way to deliver course content. You may use a computer with a microphone or a tablet to create this type of lecture. Your recording can then be uploaded to Blackboard for student viewing. External materials such as articles, blogs, videos, or websites may also be posted on Blackboard. As a precaution of accessibility, provide transcripts or notes as an alternative mean for your talk.
Plan to give an assignment in class? Move it to Blackboard. You can create an online assignment in Blackboard that will allow students to submit their work online, either by attaching a file or typing directly into a text box. Student submissions are collected in the Grade Center, which makes it easy to keep track of their completion status. For those with plagiarism concerns, use SafeAssign to collect student papers on Blackboard.
For a discussion-based class, create an online discussion board on Blackboard. It only takes a minute to do so and your students will have access to it immediately. Then it is a matter of communicating with them, letting them know where the discussion is and what they are expected to do.
If text-based discussion is not sufficient for your class, try video conferencing. Get a free Zoom videoconferencing account, create an online meeting, and send the link to students. Signing up is a breeze and the interface is user friendly. You will have up to 40 minutes per session for group meetings and you can have as many people as you’d like in a video conference session.
It is recommended that you reschedule an exam to avoid the university closing date(s). In case an exam cannot be rescheduled, you may administer an exam online. This may require you to adjust your exam format bearing in mind that non-proctored online exams are equivalent to take home, open book, open Internet exams. SafeAssign in Blackboard is a useful tool that detects plagiarism in student papers. You may set availability date and time to limit student access to the exam.
Use of alternative assessments, also referred to as authentic assessments, are greatly encouraged. After all, assessments are not limited to multiple choice or timed essay tests. For examples and ideas, check out articles from University of Minnesota and University of Indiana Bloomington.
Photo Credit: Aaron Schwartz