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Keep Teaching FAQ

Gathered from Faculty and Staff Comments and Contributions!

Updated March 19, 2020

Zoom
Blackboard
Google Apps
Hosting and Posting Videos
Communication Tools
Tools for Teaching and Learning
Student Engagement
Student Collaborative Work
Low and No Tech Solutions
Testing
Accessibility
Textbooks
Teaching

Zoom

Where can I learn more about  Zoom?

The Zoom web conferencing platform is well suited for synchronous (real-time) online meetings involving small or large groups (up to 300 participants), and includes video, audio, screen sharing, text chat, and many other features.

In addition to video tutorials, Zoom has a fact sheet for Higher Education.

How do I get a Zoom account?

Everyone can create free Zoom basic accounts that accommodate meetings of up to 100 participants for up to 40 minutes by going to https://www.zoom.us in any web browser. 

Faculty who need to create sessions that include more than 100 participants and/or last more than 40 minutes should e-mail zoom@olemiss.edu from the e-mail account for which they wish to have a zoom account linked (from either go.olemiss.edu or olemiss.edu). Ole Miss IT will create for you a Zoom Licensed account, allowing you to host up to 300 participants for up to 24 hours continuously. 

Do students need a Zoom account to attend my Zoom sessions?

No. All they need is the link or invitation to the Zoom meeting that you will send them. If they need to host meetings for group work, they need a free basic account.

 

Blackboard

Where can I get training for using Blackboard? 

The complete list of FTDC’s Blackboard live and recorded training sessions is available online.   

You can also email us at blackboard@olemiss.edu with specific questions or to arrange for a help session.

 

Google Apps

What Google services do students and faculty have access to as part of their GO accounts?

Students have access to the complete GSuite for Education by default. 

Faculty are also able to create go.olemiss.edu accounts and access these same resources. Employees may sign up at this link.

 

Hosting and Posting Videos

How can I make videos that include not only me talking but also screen sharing, powerpoints, un-screen annotations, etc?

The Zoom web conferencing platform is not only suited for synchronous (real-time) online meetings but can also record video that can be uploaded to YouTube or Google Drive. Powerpoints can be narrated in the powerpoint program and uploaded to Blackboard. Keep in mind some best practices for using video in instruction.  

I’m hearing we cannot upload videos to Blackboard.  What is the best place to host videos? 

This is somewhat subtle; you cannot store videos in the Blackboard application itself, but it is possible to put videos elsewhere and have them displayed for students in your blackboard course.  Specifically, inside Blackboard you will find a new tool called Panopto, which is the ideal place to store videos and offers many tools to analyze who is watching them and when, etc. Panopto can be used to embed videos into Blackboard. Panopto can also be used to create Video Assignments within Blackboard which allow students to submit a video response.

 

Communication Tools

Should I encourage students to use apps like “GroupMe” Or Slack?

Blackboard discussion board is better suited for more structured discussion.  Staying within Blackboard, when possible, is simpler than using multiple apps. Further, as the instructor you will be better able to monitor discussions to make sure they are civil and inclusive.

 

Tools for Teaching and Learning

What tool is best for my students who need to submit audio recorded assignments to me?

Students can record audio on any device and save the file as to their computer or to Google Drive. That file can then be uploaded to a Blackboard assignment or a file response question in a quiz or test. Instructors can also create a Panopto video assignment within Blackboard which will allow students to submit video recordings.

 

Student Engagement

How can I encourage community for my students during a time when they may be feeling isolated?

Some faculty are restructuring solo assignments into team assignments and encouraging students to work together to communicate about the assignments using tools such as Twitter. 

Blackboard has group functions and group discussion capabilities, especially now that our Blackboard has the Pronto tool. To activate Pronto within a Blackboard course, go to the Tools link within the Blackboard course and choose Pronto.  You will see a message stating that Pronto is preparing a group chat for you. This process may take up to an hour to complete, but once completed, you are ready to begin using the Pronto tool and/or the Pronto Team Communication mobile app to facilitate chat groups within the course.

Depending on your class size, you can send them a check-in email or text to see how they are doing. This is especially important for students who don’t seem to be engaging in the class.

What other tools can I use to create more engaging online teaching?

Explore the use of Edpuzzle. This video hosting site allows built in questions, pop-ups, etc. and prevents students from fast forwarding or skipping around.

Zoom allows for small group breakout rooms and will randomly assign participants…there is a link to do this on the Zoom resource page.

Google Forms allows you to push out surveys to students that are mobile-friendly. 

Students can work together in a Google Document. 

You can use Google Chat or Google Groups to have class discussions. 

Depending on your content, you could incorporate a game in your class. The Center for Online Education has a list of 50 Great Sites for Serious, Educational Games.

 

Student Collaborative Work

Do you have suggestions for assignments that require team presentations or group work?

Zoom can handle presentations, either group or solo. Making the timeline flexible will help with access/coordination issues.  A final presentation could be recorded through Zoom rather than given live to add flexibility. Zoom also offers breakout rooms for group work, and similar features exist in Blackboard to facilitate collaboration.

A shared Google Doc or collaborative document on Box that can also be shared with you as the instructor might serve this purpose.  

What is the best platform for students to record conversations between themselves (for a language course focused on conversation) and are there limits for uploading their videos to blackboard?

Zoom can record conversations, and the video (or audio-only) files can be uploaded to YouTube or Google Drive and share the links. Instructors can create a Panopto Video Assignment within Blackboard which will allow students to upload a video to the assignment through Panopto.

Students could record themselves on their smart phone or on a laptop computer. These files can be submitted to a shared class Google Drive.

 

Low and No Tech Solutions

I’m interested in low tech or even “no tech” solutions to working with students as well.  Phone calls, sending in assignments through snail mail, etc. Any advice on remote instruction techniques that are offline?

The iStudy program began as correspondence courses before going online. Feel free to email the iStudy office and talk with their instructional designer. In general, printed materials remain an important component of most distance education courses, but building in opportunities for two-way communication is essential.

 

Testing

What about testing services? Typical online classes may be supported with proctored exams. Will our new remote classes be supported with proctored exams?

The Distance Education Testing Lab is offering Proctorio, online proctored testing solution to replace testing for Ole Miss Online courses in the DETL lab for Spring.  This a university-wide, unlimited solution available to all faculty members for all classes with Blackboard. The fully-automated solution is integrated with Blackboard and offers video and audio recording capabilities.  The University will fund the testing, and students will not have to pay to take each test.  

Students will still be able to utilize ProctorU if you’ve enabled that service, but don’t direct students to schedule appointments with ProctorU until we get the online Blackboard solution stood up, as they have to pay at the time of scheduling.  It is likely that you (and they!) will elect to use our free online service instead.

More information is available on the Keep Teaching Review Resources page.  

We will have on-demand training available for all instructors for the new proctoring as soon as it comes online.  We will post all the training opportunities and resources in the KeepTeaching website and on our testing website as soon as those are established.

 

Accessibility

The functional definition of accessibility means that students with disabilities must have the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as students without disabilities with equivalent ease of use. During this unprecedented time of crisis, our priority is to ensure that students with disabilities have access to the materials they need. If you have a student with accommodations related to accessible materials and/or captioning, contact Student Disability Services or accessibility@olemiss.edu.

On accessibility: how does note taking work in this new teaching and learning context?

If there is a lecture component to the online course, notes must be provided for those students who have a notetaking accommodation.

  • Students who are already assigned as notetakers will continue to upload their notes to Rebel Access (SDS accommodation online system) at which time the approved student will download the notes.
  • If faculty are providing notes, these notes should be emailed to the student.
  • Should additional notetakers be needed as an accommodation, SDS will continue to reach out to faculty regarding recruiting student notetakers.

Are we supposed to have every video we link to our class captioned?

Captions are beneficial and considered a ‘best practices’ strategy for all students. Panopto and YouTube offer the ability to generate automatic captions that can be helpful to everyone in an online environment.  However, if you have a student in your course with a registered accommodation for captioning through Student Disability Services, accurate captions must be provided for all video content, including instructor created videos and videos sourced from other providers (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.). Please contact accessibility@olemiss.edu for assistance and consult the Keep Teaching Resources page for instructions on editing automatic captions for accuracy.

Textbooks

My students didn’t take their textbooks on Spring Break. What can I do?

Barnes & Noble is providing free access to textbooks through May 2020 on the Vital Source platform.

To get started, students should visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Before students can begin searching for and reading ebooks, they will need to log-in or create a Bookshelf account with their institution-provided email address.

For students accessing Bookshelf for the first time:

Here are instructions on creating a Bookshelf account that you can share with students and instructors. Once students create an account with an institution-provided email address, they should login and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen to search by ISBN, Title or Author to find their free ebooks.

For students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address:

Students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address will see a new tab called “Explore” when they login in the upper left corner of the screen to search by ISBN, Title or Author to find their free ebooks.

If students need additional assistance gaining access to the site or have questions, please visit this support page.

 

Teaching

What factors should I consider when deciding between synchronous and asynchronous teaching?

As a general matter, asynchronous teaching will be better and more reliable for both you and your students.  It is a good idea to ask your students about their availability before scheduling synchronous meetings. There are many reasons students may have problems attending synchronous scheduled meetings, including: problems with internet connectivity; changes in employment status or job hours due to this crisis; or the need to care for their children or perhaps other loved ones who have contracted the virus.

What about online attendance considerations/requirements?

Attendance requirements are at the discretion of the faculty and course directors. 

There are several ways to track attendance. 

  1. You can set tracking on items in Blackboard to see who opened a page or a video link. 
  2. You can view in your faculty dashboard in Blackboard which students have logged in and for how long they stayed logged in.
  3. You can view the history of edits of a Google document to see which students were working in it.
  4. You can count discussion board posts as attendance. 
  5. You can copy the participant list in a Zoom meeting (but remember we do not encourage synchronous class meetings unless you’ve checked in with your students regarding scheduling)
  6. If your class has a digital learning platform, you can use the faculty dashboard to see who logged in and what they worked on.
  7. You can set up weekly phone calls with individual students (recommended only for small classes).

What should I say to students now, before I have a complete revised syllabus?

As soon as possible, you should communicate with your students. Even if you don’t have everything worked out yet, they will want to hear from you to know you are working on a plan. 

Reworking the class schedule for the remaining 6 weeks and finals week is a good idea. You do not have to redo the entire syllabus. You may have to update your grading schema if you are changing point values, changing assignments, and determining class participation differently.

What about the timing of discussions? If we are trying to create asynchronous discussions (on Bb), what are some best practices for how we structure the timing of these discussions?

Due by dates for assignments and discussions are better than due dates. This gives students the flexibility to submit work or participate on their schedule. 

Best practices for normal times suggest you should have students submit work during the work day as work submitted late at night or on the weekend tends to be lower quality. However, we may need to adjust to maximize student access to our courses. It is still perfectly acceptable to tell students their work needs to be completed by a certain day or time such as Sunday at midnight. Whichever you decide, keep it consistent every week.

Is a week being eliminated from the semester, or will the semester be extended to make up the lost class periods?

The university is not extending the semester. Consider removing a week’s worth of content from your course schedule rather than jamming 7 weeks worth of lessons into 6 weeks. If you focus your teaching on learning objectives (what do you want students to be able to do?) rather than on content, cutting down the load will not compromise the rigor of your course. 

We are happy to work with you one-on-one or as a departmental group to help you transition from content coverage to a focus on achieving your learning objectives.