| ACADEMICS | Centers & Institutes | Center for Teaching and Learning | Teaching in Times of Disruption
Teaching during times of potential disruption requires creative and flexible thinking about how instructors can support students in achieving essential core course learning objectives. This document offers suggestions for instructors at Worcester State University to continue offering a student-centered learning experience in a remote or online learning environment.
While the process will no doubt feel unfamiliar and at times possibly frustrating, try as much as possible to be patient. There will always be hiccups, but times of disruption are, by their nature, disruptive, and everyone expects that. Be willing to switch tactics if something isn’t working. Above all, stay focused on making sure the students are comfortable, and keep a close eye on the course learning goals--while you might not be able to teach something exactly the way you imagined, as long as you’re still meeting the learning goals of the course, you’re doing fine.
All of the sessions from the March Pivot Training can be viewed on-demand.
Topics include: Blackboard Collaborate, Testing
Topics may include: entry point to Announcements, Organization, Communication, Email, Announcements, Discussion boards, Grade Center, Evaluation/Retention Center
Topics may include: Discussion boards, Posting content, Document with voice over, Videos created with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, Pre-recording with webcam
Topics may include: Accessibility (closed captioning in Youtube), Google drive, Sharing content through blackboard (videos documents, etc) Google classroom
Topics may include: online quizzes, discussions, online exams, annotated voice-over lectures, organization of materials.
Topics include: Testing – Respondus.
Topics include: Advising.View Slide Deck
Topics include: Using Gradebook.
Open session to answer questions about Blackboard.
Topics include: Using Ally and Testing Availability Exceptions
One on one consultation with Tona Hangen. More than one person can join each session.
One on one consultation with Jaime Vallejo. More than one person can join each session.
Topics include: Zoom technology and pedagogy of teaching with Zoom
While some technology is required for remote education, this session will discuss some low-tech options for continuing your course and facilitate discussion about how you plan to transition courses to remote teaching using low tech options.
In order to expand Academic Continuity support, CTL and IT will offer a daily Question & Answer hour hosted in Zoom. This is a great time to ask questions about academic continuity, online learning, and Blackboard.
Topics include: How students get into classroom, communication with students, posting assignments.
Topics include: If you do a lot of reading in your class, this might be a good option. Perusall automatically scores students and allows for easy low-stakes assessment. Demonstration will show what the program looks like, and faculty can see how it works in a demo class where they are students. Email Siri Colom (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested and she’ll add you to demo class.
A step by step guideline to conduct a long-distance advising session. A new version of the previous webinar.
As courses shift to online delivery, capturing student progress can be a helpful tool in order to engage students in their academic success! Learn helpful ways Starfish can engage students through Progress Surveying, Flags, Kudos and so much more! Learn about new features and how Starfish can be for both courses and academic advising!
Now is the time to plan how you will effectively communicate an unexpected change to alternate learning environments, whether by email or an announcement in Blackboard. For example, draft and save a sample email that explains how you intend to communicate and carry out the remainder of the course.
Modify your syllabus to show how you will handle disruptions to academic continuity. Clearly state how you will communicate with students, what your changes to delivery method will be, and how you have modified previous policies (e.g. due dates).
Not all courses are conducive to remote and virtual learning modalities, but we are committed to providing students an uninterrupted academic experience. I will email your Worcester State email [INSERT FREQUENCY/TIMETABLE] to communicate with you adjustments to our planned schedule, including additional materials, resources, and/or assignments.
Be realistic about what can be accomplished by you and your students in terms of learning objectives and technology considerations.
Plan for the lowest common denominator of technology access and literacy among students. Keep instructional tools as simple as possible. Don't let perfection get in the way of delivering solid, basic solutions.
As you plan, remember that these changes are guidelines for an unexpected emergency change in learning environments. Be flexible in course schedules and other priorities.
Ensure that all documents uploaded to Blackboard or other LMS are in a Searchable PDF format or a .doc format. Both of these types of documents will allow for different screenreaders to interact with the text. If you create a PDF from a Word Doc, it will be accessible.
If you have images within your slides or documents, please include captions so that students utilizing assistive technology will be able to access that information.
If you are planning to show videos or full length movies, please consider seeking materials that include a descriptive version. Netflix has started to include this feature on many of the films available through their platform. In addition, many DVDs also have this option on the main menu. Descriptive Movies provide additional narration to explain anything that occurs visually such as actions or gestures a character might do or an expression or emotion that is being given through visual cues such as crying.
If you use automated captions and transcripts for classes, check the text before making those captions/transcripts available to students. Automated text on popular sites and apps like YouTube, is not always reliable and mistakes could be quite confusing to deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
If you are giving an exam through Blackboard, there is an option to add extended time for students that require that accommodation.
There are two options for instructors to facilitate class sessions remotely:
Learn More: Synchronous vs. Asynchronous
The first option for shifting your classes temporarily online is:
This option works especially well for small discussion-based classes, though it’s also effective for large lectures, especially if you have a moderator.
Learn More: Classes Live via Blackboard
The second option for shifting your classes temporarily online is:
If you are not comfortable presenting live, another good option is to pre-record any lecture material and upload it to Blackboard. We recommend that you pre-record lectures using Blackboard Collaborate.
Learn More: Pre-recorded Lectures
The third option for shifting your classes temporarily online is:
Many online courses do not have a video component at all. If you are not sure you have the right equipment and are uncomfortable with the tech setup, this might be a good option, at least for the short-term.
Learn More: Skip the Video
Many instructors already use Blackboard regularly for tasks like sending announcements to their courses, sharing course materials, collecting assignments, and giving students grades and feedback.
Learn More: Identifying Key Tools
Info-graphic created by educational graphic designer Alison Yang about the do's and don'ts of asynchronous and synchronous learning.
A new Google Group has been created for Worcester State Faculty to help each other regarding teaching during disruptions. Anyone from Worcester State can join the group.
With the announcement that Worcester State will adopt a remote status, the Math Center will remain operational through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra beginning on March 30.
All students enrolled in a math course supported by the Math Center will be added into a new Math Center Tutoring Blackboard course. During a scheduled tutoring session, a student can log in to Blackboard and click on this Math Center Tutoring course. They can then click Blackboard Collaborate Ultra on the left hand panel and join the appropriate tutoring session with the tutor for their course.
Most tutors will continue to tutor at their regularly scheduled time, however a few tutors will not be tutoring during this remote time so please check the updated schedule posted on the math center website at https://www.worcester.edu/SP-Math-Center/.
Please make your students aware of this resource and have them email Elizabeth Gilbert at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
The Spanish Clinic will remain operational through Google Hangouts beginning on March 30.
Spanish tutors will work remotely during their regularly scheduled shifts (Monday through Thursday 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.). Tutoring will be offered on a drop-in basis, similar to regular operations.
Tutoring will be conducted through Google Hangouts with students' Worcester State email accounts. Tutors will be available at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can conduct a chat, video call, or voice call with a tutor through this platform. To initiate a session, students should log into their Worcester State email and send a message to the Spanish Clinic. From there, students and tutors can coordinate how the session will proceed.
Any questions should be sent to email@example.com.
The Writing Center will remain operational through the Google platform (Mail, Calendar, Hangouts, and Forms) beginning on March 30.
Writing Consultants will be working remotely during their regularly scheduled shifts (Monday through Thursday 9-6 p.m. and Friday 9-1 p.m.) to offer two online options:
The Worcester State Library and the Learning Resource Center building closed on Monday, March 16. In anticipation of when the Library is scheduled to reopen, hours will be posted to the Library’s Hours of Operation page.
While the physical Library is closed, many Library services continue to be available to remote users. Please note: given the uncertain and fluid circumstances associated with COVID-19, services are subject to change.
For information on remote library services including links to new and expanded offerings including: three video streaming services with 100,000+ videos, and two ebook collections with 300,000+ academic books please visit: https://libguides.worcester.edu/library_resources_services_during_COVID-19
Updated: March 20, 2020 3:00 p.m.
Faculty should not need additional software/hardware to continue teaching and learning besides access to the internet and basic software such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and/or Excel Sheets. Microsoft Office is available for free for students and faculty to download at: https://www.worcester.edu/Software/
Faculty who need to use SPSS should follow the remote access instructions above.
Faculty will need to be flexible and provide alternate arrangements for students who may not be able to access the internet or not have access to a computer or a specific software. Email or phone conversations may be the best way to make arrangements with these students.
Charter/Spectrum is providing 60 days of free internet to households with college students.
Worcester State has procedures in place to communicate to faculty members that students are sick or under quarantine. Please let your students know they should contact the Health Services department at 508-929-8875, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that no specific information is given, just notification of the absence for medical reasons.
Faculty should notify the Provost’s Office if a student has told them they are under quarantine or have tested positive.
Please contact Student Accessibility Services and we will find a solution to your concern. Please keep in mind that reasonable accommodations provide an equitable experience for a student with a disability, and anything that fundamentally alters your curriculum is not considered a reasonable accommodation.
Fran Manocchio, email@example.com or 508-929-8238
Sharon de Klerk, firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-929-8284
View a compendium of resources for learning more about remote teaching for a variety of disciplines.
Some content in this section adapted from: bit.ly/stanfordteachingdisruption and Clark University Academic Continuity
Thanks to everyone who helped compile this information.
Center for Teaching and Learning
Sullivan Academic Center