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Academic Outreach
Faculty Focused

Faculty FAQs

What do I have to do to teach online?

First, speak to your department chair about teaching online. Some departments prefer to restrict non-tenured faculty teaching loads so junior faculty can focus on research projects.

If your chair gives you the go-ahead to teach online, you will need to be endorsed to teach online courses. In order to do this, take the Online Teaching Endorsement training offered by our office. Set aside 3-6 weeks to complete the program depending on your familiarity with online teaching and technology. We recommend you complete the training a semester before you plan to teach online so you’ll have the skills and time to build a great online course.

Why do I need to take a course to learn how to teach online?

Teaching online requires different skills and methods of delivery from teaching in traditional classrooms. Online course content, including the syllabus, the lessons, engagement with students, and assessments, need to be organized to suit a virtual learning environment. An ideal online class chunks content into asynchronous short lessons driven by specific learning objectives. Lessons typically include video, interactive activities, student engagement and practice, and assessments to track student understanding. Our team has created a course that demonstrates best practices in online teaching so you can experience online learning the way your students will.

How do I enable my online course on Blackboard?

Faculty Technology Development Center has a faculty quickstart guide that includes step-by-step instructions on how to enable Blackboard for your course. For additional Blackboard how-to guides, visit Instructor Blackboard Resources.

How do I copy my course materials to a new course on Blackboard?

Faculty Technology Development Center has a course copy guide that includes step-by-step instructions on how to copy materials from one course to another course on Blackboard.

What kind of support is there to help me with the technology involved in teaching online?

The Faculty Technology Development Center is your source for help with Blackboard and any other technology you will use in your teaching. You will also be assigned a dedicated Instructional Designer from our department who will help you design, build, and maintain your online courses. Both the FTDC and Academic Outreach provide training in instructional technology.

Do I need special equipment to teach online, and if so, where can I obtain it?

Faculty who wish to create original content videos can record them in the J.D. William’s Library’s Studio One, or create them using their own recording equipment such as a laptop webcam, digital camera, or smart phone camera. UNCC has a great list of best practices for educational video. Faculty who wish to create original content using interactive authoring software can consult their instructional designer for assistance.

What are some recommendations for online course accessibility?

  • When considering new textbooks or instructional materials ask the publisher for information about the accessibility of the materials and if they are available electronically.
  • When photocopying articles for use in the classroom avoid black edges and make the quality as high as possible.
  • When showing videos in the classroom turn on closed captioning, or if listening to audio files have a transcript available.
  • If you post your syllabus or an article in Blackboard, be sure that it is available as text, or link to the digital version of the article through the library’s website.
  • When linking to videos through Blackboard that are required viewing for students, be sure that the video has closed captioning. The text in the captioning should be the same as, or very similar to what is being said and heard in the video.
  • Any required links to audio files should also include a transcript file.

How do I make sure my online course is accessible?

To ensure your course is accessible at all times, you should integrate the three principles of Universal Design for Learning when creating instructional materials and assignments. Contact your instructional designer or Accessibility Solutions for assistance.

How do I get my multimedia course materials captioned or transcribed?

You may contact your instructional designer to have your course materials captioned. Please complete the Caption Request Form for captioning services of your online course materials.

How do I make my course documents (Word, PowerPoint, PDF) accessible?

ATS provides tutorials and instructions on accessible documents. Visit their resources on accessible documents.

Where can I learn more about copyright compliance in my online course?

It is recommended that an online instructor document their evaluation of their own usage of copyrighted material against the four fair use factors:

  1. What is the character of the use?
  2. What is the nature of the work to be used?
  3. How much of the work will you use?
  4. What effect would this use have on the market for the original or for permissions if the use were widespread?

The Fair Use Evaluator is an online tool that walks you through all four factors and then emails the evaluation to you. The tool is created by Michael Brewer & ALA Office for Information Technology Policy.

Creative Commons Licenses: Creative Commons [CC] is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2001 with the goal of allowing copyright owners an easy way to share their material with the public. Materials with CC licenses can be used in an online course provided the instructor follows the terms specified in the license. There is no cost to use CC-licensed materials.

Recommended Language: It is recommended that an online instructor inform their students of copyrighted materials used in the course. A general copyright notice should be added to the course syllabus. An appropriate attribution should also be added next to the copyrighted material.

An example of Recommended Language to include in the course syllabus: The materials on this course Web site are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated.

Recommended Language to include with the link to copyrighted materials: This material is copyrighted by CBS (2007). All rights reserved.

Recommended Language to include with the link to attributed material: Creative Commons 10th Birthday Celebration San Francisco” by tvol is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Additional Copyright Resources: The University Attorney’s Office also has information on Copyright located on their website.

Another source of information on this issue is the Intellectual Property Group of the Mississippi Law Research Institute. They provide legal research and support to the Mississippi Universities for intellectual property matters and often lecture on these topics to university groups.

How do I verify student attendance in my online course?

Instructors are required to enter attendance verifications for each of their courses by the end of the second week of regular Fall/Spring semester. This can be done either by a) submission of Attendance Reported/Absence Reported for each student in a course via the Attendance Verification Interface (AVI) within myOleMiss > Class Rolls and Grade. Online courses are no different from traditional classroom courses in this regard. Online students are subject to the same attendance policy and procedures as traditional students. However, participation is defined in a different manner.

Student attendance in online courses is defined as active participation in the course as described in the individual course syllabus. Review the Attendance Policy for Online Education for details and examples of activities.

How do I verify that the student participating in my online course is the same one registered?

In addition to the secure login and password provided by the university, we recommend one or more of the following methods that can be used to verify student identity:

  • Proctored assessments (i.e. Distance Education Testing Lab)
  • Other emerging technologies and practices shown to be effective in verifying student identification and that are approved by the University of Mississippi.
  • Pedagogical and related practices that are effective in verifying student identity (faculty review, questions students, Attendance Policy for Online Education, etc.).

Please review university’s Policy for Student Information & Privacy in Online Education for details. Contact your instructional designer for alternative methods.

Are there standard statements I should include in my online course syllabus?

The Online Syllabus Checklist contains sample statements and suggestions for your online course syllabus.

How do I create exams in an online course?

You can create timed tests and exams in Blackboard. Most online exams are asynchronous, meaning students in your class will not take your exam at the same time or even on the same day. Exams that are not proctored should be treated as open-book, take-home exams. Alternatively, you can use different means of assessment in addition to or instead of traditional exams. Our instructional designers can advise you how to create exams suitable for this type of testing environment.

How do I give proctored exams online?

Contact the Distance Education Testing Lab (DETL) operated by the Office of College Programs at 662-915-1267 or for all proctoring services.