This page will highlight webinars, recorded presentations, white papers, and other resources that support teaching in online, hybrid, and face-to-face environments. This collaboration is called our "Commitment to Teaching" series.
From Panic to Pedagogy: Tips and Resources for Making Online Teaching More Active
Dr. Breanna Harris (TTU); Dr. Stephanie Shepherd (Auburn University); Dr. April Wright (Southeastern Louisiana University)
Last year, due to the COVID19 pandemic, we were abruptly thrown into online teaching. This transition was unplanned and was a tough hurdle to tackle, but it also provided opportunity. We challenge instructors to use this change in modality as a chance to make incremental changes in the way we teach. In this ~1-hr webinar we will share some resources and some suggested changes – some big, others small –for how to use this unprecedented upheaval of our traditional teaching modality to make our online courses more active and inclusive. We will share details from our recent (open access) publication, linked below, include information on how we have implanted some of our suggestions, and will leave time for participant Q&A. • Link to publication: Harris, B. N., McCarthy, P. C., Wright, A. M., Schutz, H., Boersma, K. S., Shepherd, S. L., Manning, L.A., Malisch, J.L., Ellington, R. M. (2020). From panic to pedagogy: Using online active learning to promote inclusive instruction in ecology and evolutionary biology courses and beyond. Ecology and evolution, 10(22), 12581-12612. Presenters: Dr. Breanna Harris (TTU); Dr. Stephanie Shepherd (Auburn University); Dr. April Wright (Southeastern Louisiana University) Co-Sponsored by the TTU Teaching Academy and the TLPDC
View the Recorded Session Here
Connections across the Classroom: Practicing Transparent Design and Phenomenological
Pedagogy in the Art Appreciation classroom (and beyond)
Kate Peaslee, Lecturer in Art Appreciation at the TTU School of Art
As a 2019 recipient of the TLPDC Lawrence Schovanec Teaching Development Scholarship, Kate Peaslee, Lecturer in Art Appreciation at the TTU School of Art, will share lessons learned in Higher Education Pedagogy, and how to apply them in an immediate and practical manner to the hybrid classroom. Further, the case will be made for empowering student voices in the large-enrollment classroom through phenomenological pedagogy. Participants will have the opportunity to practice employing transparent design strategies to their own course materials.
View the Recorded Session Here
Digital Humanities: Solving Historical Mysteries in the Classroom
Dr. Stacey Jocoy, Associate Professor of Musicology
Digital Humanities approaches offer many options to assist with problem-based learning projects in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Histories. Engage students with real-world mysteries across your fields, breaking complex learning exercises into manageable but flexible components for online or hybrid delivery. This process facilitates student-centered learning and helps to create excitement around the discovery process.
View the Recorded Session Here
Interculturality Across the Curriculum
Dr. Raychel Vasseur, Assistant Professor of Spanish in Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures
Part of our mission at TTU is to “[prepare] learners to be ethical leaders for a diverse and globally competitive workforce” and the most recent Quality Enhancement Plan focuses on Communicating in a Global Society. These are clearly important goals for the education of all students at TTU, regardless of major. But what are strategies and resources for faculty to include the building and assessment of interculturality regardless of field of study? In this session, Dr. Raychel Vasseur, Assistant Professor of Spanish in Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, will begin with an overview of key skills of interculturality, move to how to incorporate developing such skills in your students and where to find additional resources, regardless of discipline, and finally, how you might assess student progress.
View the Recorded Session Here
Digital content and virtual outreach for any discipline: Examples from the Vernacular
Music Center (VMC) and Chris Smith
Chris Smith, School of Music
How can we develop content for students, including those in rural and underserved populations, who may not have access to the same resources as others, raise the profiles of our programs for our current students and for recruiting, create unique content, and provide resources for secondary-school educators? In this demonstration and discussion with Chris Smith, we will consider the possibility of creating content that functions as both an outreach tool and as classroom content. Dr. Smith will showcase examples of podcasts highlighting individuals in five-minute “lightning” demos of their current research and teaching as well as collaborative podcasts with guests and thought–leaders describing their creative and research projects, creating class playlists, producing digital masterclasses, and building an ongoing, weekly podcast with the VMC. Join us in thinking about how these creative strategies might work for you and your department.
View the Recorded Session Here
Notes & Links from this session
Accessibility for Everyone
Leigh Kackley, Educational Psychology & Leadership
This session will focus on best practices for engaging all students in class activities. General strategies for utilizing Universal Design for Learning in an online learning environment will be discussed. Specific ideas on how to include students with hearing impairment, visual impairment, and autism in online course discussions will be addressed. An opportunity for sharing “what works for you” will be included.
View the Recorded Session Here
An Educational Psychologist's Experience Schooling and Learning at Home
Tara Stevens, Education EPL
Due to the pandemic, all parents had to spend at least some time educating their children at home, and most parents' beliefs about schooling were challenged by this experience in some way. Despite many students return to school, parents, especially those who teach at the university level, have been motivated to continue to explore what it means to educate their children. The purpose of this webinar is to share one faculty member's experience and introduce parents to the myriad education options available to today's K-12 students as we consider how these options fit into social, developmental, and learning models. The emphasis will be on sharing a critical review of online programs, platforms, and curriculum as well as sharing learning and social opportunities available in the Lubbock community.
View the Recorded Session Here
How to make a class of 250 feel like a class of 25
Dr. Jeffrey Harper, PhD. Assistant Professor of Practice from the Texas Tech University Rawls College of Business
In this session Dr. Jeffrey Harper, PhD. Assistant Professor of Practice from the Texas Tech University Rawls College of Business will discuss practical assignments and tools that he has used successfully over the years to help students feel that a large lecture class is not really that large at all. He has experience teaching 700+ students across 3 sections without TA support, and will share some unique insights into making an online classes have a high standard for learning and a community of learners feel from both the faculty and students' perspective.
View the Recorded Session Here
The Value of the Flipped Classroom in Times of Remote Teaching
Aaron Zimmerman, Education
Join us as Aaron Zimmerman discusses the flipped classroom model, including its design and its instructional goals. You will learn about ways to utilize the model to create resources for students that will allow additional time to engage with students' ideas interactively during synchronous online class sessions. Aaron will also highlight ways that creating and sharing lecture videos before class and then engaging students in conversations during weekly synchronous sessions increases both engagement with the content of the course as well as a sense of connection and community among learners.
A link will be added for this recorded session soon.
Teachers' Moral Obligation to Students
Dr. Angela Lumpkin, Department Chair of Kinesiology & Sport Management and Chair of the TTU Teaching Academy Executive Council
Teachers' Moral Obligation to Students Recorded Presentation
Outlined notes for this presentation
The Power Lead
Dr. Jon McNaughtan, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology & Leadership
In this video, Dr. Jon McNaughtan, as part of the Teaching Academy Commitment to Teaching Series, speaks on an instructional tip for how to increase engagement in your virtual class sessions. In addition to describing why it is helpful, he also provides four examples.
An Example Email & Blackboard Collaborate Instructions
Mitzi Ziegner, Human Development & Family Studies
What an extraordinarily challenging time! This is a copy of an email I sent to one of my face to face classes to help them prepare for the steps in our transition next week from face to face to online learning. I know many faculty will be reaching out to their students with plans this week if they have not already.
Please know I am here and happy to assist if I can be helpful in any way…we are ALL in this together!
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Guide_Ziegner
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Guide Presentations_Ziegner
online transition email example for face to face students_Ziegner
Communication with Students, Zoom Preparation and More…
Chris Smith, Musicology
A few items, accrued over about the past two weeks. These materials reflect responses & strategies I'm seeking to put in place in advance of March 30.
Here's a link to an online form, borrowed with permission from a hard-sciences prof at NYU, asking students themselves to describe both their resources and their concerns regarding working online. "https://forms.gle/43c5UvNCkBtr48zm7
Here is a collection of links to various docs gathered from around the web, specific to teaching performance arts online:
Musical Theater Teachers online: I think TLPDC has this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s0VMZhg_0pupi-7kQJlFJnIzpr3SKusS/edit#heading=h.gjdgxs
Document I wrote for my own students' receipt: https://drive.google.com/file/d/128U5rZVGGbijiHBLbATqsMT3HUg6SijC/view?usp=sharing
Online accessibility best-practices: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Qbuv8rpzeFLdFiHNbDAyZuxafB8WaJFWvSj8IlITads/edit?usp=sharing
Basic jump-start for working with Zoom host controls:
Solo practice session. The chat window in this recording has a bunch of notes. If you want another run-through on the various controls work, I'd suggest that you scroll through the chat window, and use the time-stamp on various notes to read up and/or view at those points. Again, there's not much but video-conferencing (landscape headshot) on the screen, but the chat functions as a reasonable jump-start to controls. https://zoom.us/rec/play/uJR-I-uqqzg3S4WQtASDAPUoW9Xrevmsg3NN-KINnUmyBXYHNFv1Y7MXZLPVeSpR33FuWX7IcOLfWPEe?continueMode=true
Results of first “Zoom salon”: https://youtu.be/WMmxukskOM4
In addition, at the invitation of both TLPDC and Cathy Duran in Student Affairs, VMC is assembling a short series of 5-7:00 minute videos, one on health & wellness from Movement Director Anne Wharton, and the other on meditation and contemplative practices, from Angela Mariani. These will be added here when produced.
Consistent Student Communication
I have decided to send a weekly email message to my graduate students enrolled in SPMT 5320 Sport Management and in KIN 7305 College and University Teaching in Exercise Physiology. My goal is to maintain consistent communication with all of my students while teaching online. You might want to consider doing this. In addition to teaching synchronously using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra, I will be using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Flipgrid to engage my students actively.
This week we will begin spending our class time together online rather than face-to-face. For some, you may never have taken an online course. For everyone, you have not had to resume a class in an entirely different delivery format. Together, we can work our way through this transition as smoothly as possible with the goal for each student to continue to learn as you successfully complete this course (and other courses) as a part of your M.S. in Sport Management with some students graduating in May.
Communication is essential. Starting today, I will send you a weekly message each Monday morning. This message will provide a reminder about any assignment deadline for Tuesday, a brief review of our previous class, and an overview of our class on Tuesday. I will be available for a virtual office hour on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra starting at 3 pm each Tuesday. To visit me during office hours, click on the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra sessions tab on the left and then click on course room to send me a message for my response. You also may send me an email message at any time, and I will always respond promptly, never later than 24 hours. Should you have any emergency need to contact me, you may call me at 806-500-6886. I encourage you to continue to communicate with classmates via social media. For example, when you are answering the questions of the assigned readings, feel free to “talk” with classmates prior to class.
March 31 by 4 pm—Book report with associated rubric: Within Blackboard, click on the Assignments tab on the left. Click on Book Report. Scroll down after the description of this assignment where it states “Assignment Submission.” Click on Browse My Computer to upload your book report. Then, click on Submit.
March 10—Ethical Leadership: Leadership is about relationships with followers expecting ethical leaders to serve as ethical role models. Ethical leaders live their values, adhere to a set of principles, which are their values translated into action, and place ethical boundaries on their actions and the behaviors they expect their followers to demonstrate, too. Transformational leaders, servant leaders, and situational leaders can (and should) be ethical leaders.
Overview of Next Class on March 31
- Complete discussion of Ethical Leadership with an emphasis on character, competence, and action and the ethical leadership continuum in intercollegiate athletics.
- Emotional Intelligence
- Salovey and Mayer defined EI as “the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions.”
- Learn about the scope and impact of IE as described by Daniel Goleman.
- Understand about and learn to apply Goleman's four components of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
- Discussion about Barbuto, Gottfredson, & Searle's “An Examination of Emotional Intelligence as an Antecedent of Servant Leadership.
- Discussion about Hess & Bacigalupo.'s “Enhancing Decisions and Decision-making Processes
through the Application of Emotional Intelligence Skills.”
- Strategic Leadership
- Learn what it is and why is it important.
- Understand the skills and abilities required to become a strategic leader.
- Discussion about Worden “The Role of Integrity as a Mediator in Strategic Leadership: A Recipe for Reputational Capital.”
- Discussion about Sheth & Babiak's “Beyond the Game: Perceptions and Practices of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Professional Sport Industry.”
- Assignment for next class: “Create your Own Story about Strategic Accomplishments.”
See everyone online at 4 pm via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra by clicking on the sessions
tab at the top left and then click on March 31 to join in the class.
Creative approach to music instruction
Blair Williams, Music Education
I am so incredibly inspired by our community of learners during this time as we have creatively worked to adapt and adopt in our current situations.
Over Spring Break, I was in communication with other music education professors, our state and national professional associations, and colleagues (elementary, secondary, and higher education) across the country to gather ideas and resources. I worked with friends to experiment with applicable apps (Zoom, Flipgrid, Marco Polo, Google Classroom, etc.) that may be helpful in my teaching. I observed activity plans and read articles. I most definitely became overwhelmed with all of this information and ultimately worked to coordinate the learning objectives I had in place for each course with a more approachable game plan.
Personally, I have been working to move to remote teaching in four areas:
- TTU courses – I teach a variety of courses: Low String Methods (learning to play and
teach the cello and double bass), Upper String Methods (learning to play and teach
the violin and viola), Orchestra Techniques (how to teach string instruments in the
classroom), Instrumental Conducting (building musical and expressive skills in score
preparation, ensemble conducting, and ensemble rehearsing), Instrumental Methods/Ensemble
for Choral Majors (co-taught, students just finished the winds, brass, percussion
unit and are now in the string unit), and Methods in Education and Music (co-taught,
practicum experience for music education majors prior to student teaching).
- In the courses where students are learning to play and teach a string instrument, we have made adjustments for them not having these instruments at home. There are resources from several textbook companies that include pre-recorded video links to strategies for skill development.
- We are also flipping the previous playing tests that they would have completed where I will model a typical student performance, and they will use error detection to identify the skill that is performed incorrectly and note a strategy that would help that student.
- For Conducting and Orchestra Techniques, we are able to adapt to remote by using additional audio recordings for the ensemble that the conductors would have conducted and videos of orchestra teaching that can be observed and analyzed.
- Especially in the methods classes and Orchestra Techniques – this has been a great time to learn from activities and posts on association websites and Facebook groups about how PreK-12 music teachers are adapting in this situation and to take their lead on adjusting our planned activities with their examples.
- In the practicum experience, we have created opportunities for the students to learn in a more global way – while before they were paired with local cooperating teachers for observations and teaching opportunities in elementary and secondary settings, now they can gather those observations from a more expansive space. We are encouraging students to observe in multiple types of settings but also in a variety of windows (videos of classroom teaching, but also collaboration with current teachers as they create remote learning activities and experiences for their current classes/students).
- For each of these classes, I am using a variety of Learning Management Systems – gearing from the systems that we already had in place for classes. Each provides a fluid way to make changes, communicate changes, and work with students to learn.
- The Texas Tech String Project – an outreach program that involves TTU faculty and students serving in the role of teachers of string instruments to area elementary and adult students. We have adapted a mixed asynchronous and synchronous approach. The university staff (faculty and students) work together to create instructional videos of instrument playing skills, exercises, and repertoire that are shared as unlisted YouTube videos for each class to work from throughout the week. Each student in the TTUSP also receives a certain number of private lessons/tutoring sessions per semester with their paid tuition. Those lessons are being taught remotely using Google Hangout, Zoom, FaceTime, or other video conferencing platforms that work best for the teachers and the students. We have also set up “check-in” times with our adult learners during their regular class times on Tuesdays and Thursdays for students to be able to connect with their teachers to ask specific questions and demonstrate and to gain verbal/visual feedback. Several teachers are also experimenting with apps such as “Marco Polo” and “Flipgrid” to have video performance sharing as well! It has been fun to see how our university faculty and students (TTUSP staff) have developed such creative ways continue their understanding of teaching and how to implement planning, teaching, and assessment in the remote setting! This coordination has also involved the administrators at our off-campus elementary school to connect with their technologies, resources, and schedules that are available for those students in the Violin Club. We are currently in week 1 – so I am eager to check in with our teachers in our staff meetings to see what they are seeing from the development of instructional videos and lessons.
- As a clinician and consultant for secondary orchestra programs – I continue to connect with orchestra programs across the state and the country. These interactions now are generally conversations with the teachers about resources, activities, strategies, and materials for teaching string orchestra remotely. Let me tell you that I am learning more and more from them! And serving as a connector from teachers with questions, to other teachers that I know are doing incredible work with that resource. I am then able to share these experiences with my TTU students in new ways!
- Personal private lesson instruction – I teach a handful of local students private viola lessons throughout the week. We began approaching those lessons remotely three weeks ago and we have found great success with both FaceTime and Google Hangouts video conferencing platforms. The platform depends on the device the student has. While there is some lag time in the playing back and forth, the students have negotiated using these online formats very well and teach me more each lesson as well!
In the end, I am trying to:
- Maintain a schedule
- Provide additional office hours through Zoom Meetings for students
- Balance asynchronous and synchronous expectations for students
- Be clear and detailed in revisions and expectations – leaving time for questions and concerns from students that I may have not even thought of yet!
- Be open and flexible as the situation remains fluid
- Remain thankful for the resources that we have, the incredible students we teach, the amazing community of educators, researchers, and servants that we teach alongside – globally – each day
Wishing everyone all the best and if I can help in any way, please contact me! email@example.com
Free Screen Recording Tool - Screencast-o-Matic
Courtney Meyers, Agricultural Education & Communications
Here is a quick video of Professor Meyers using Screencast-o-Matic to talk about how she is using Screencast-o-Matic to record lectures and tutorials for her class. This is a free tool for videos up to 15 minutes long. https://youtu.be/4QZLNlQvkn8
From the “whiteboard” to Zoom
Richard Watson, Computer Science
I am primarily a "whiteboard" teacher in the classroom. To adapt my teaching to online, I will be using Zoom to stream my lectures live (note: Zoom requires a license). My home desktop machine has a decent webcam and enough power to allow a "Virtual Background" so you don't see anything behind me except what I choose as the background, I also have a convertible tablet laptop that has a very good stylus. To use this as my "whiteboard", I create the Zoom session on the desktop and then connect to that session from the laptop (the laptop is using a zoom client, not logged on to my Zoom account). Furthermore, I use a blank, pre-made Word document with quite a few blank pages as my "whiteboard" rather than the whiteboard in Zoom - why? Because the Zoom whiteboard is a single board. By using Word I can scroll the board without having to erase. I can then save the document at the end of class and upload it on blackboard so students have access. To make the Word "whiteboard" viewable , on the laptop, I share that window to the Desktop session. Students see the shared whiteboard and a window with me speaking. If they have a microphone, they can ask questions verbally. If not, they can type a question. The result is very close to one of my in class lectures.
Game plan for a smooth transition
Carla Lacerda, Chemical Engineering
- Expectations for exam format. For engineering students this may be a significant change, so changing planned exams into shorter assessments, such as regular or participation quizzes, may be needed for Blackboard. Finally, expectations for the final comprehensive exam. Many colleagues are changing to an open book, open notes format, where students may need to upload their scratch work as a pdf. This may also include entering the final answers on Blackboard and have students monitored by Proctorio, so that they are only consulting their materials and not each other or other sources. Whatever format that is, make sure this is understood by the class.
- Expectations on communication with the instructor. During this difficult time, students may need all types of technical support and the instructor is where they will go first, so be available (more below).
- Plan a few catch up meetings (during office hours) with the entire group and/or small groups. These serve to verify communication, connection speeds, if all students have the necessary media for the class, etc. These may also serve to discuss groupwork and to test run small assessments. These are important so that nobody falls off the cracks. Call on students for participation – these meetings are more relaxed, so they may feel less pressure.
- During lecture, use the digital whiteboard and/or share screen using a document camera (Ipevo products are affordable). My personal preference is to start with skeleton notes and have students work on the missing parts of the problem as I write and talk to them. I also include many pauses after asking questions, so it is important to announce that there will be a few seconds of silence – it is not a connection issue…
- Implement short participation quizzes during lecture, to keep students engaged. These can be “what is today's lecture about” or these can also be any active learning example from the regular lecture, now moved into a quick true or false question. Provide instantaneous feedback on these
- Keep the morale high, particularly if teaching underclassmen. Only by maintaining a sense of community these students will persevere during these unconventional times. This is particularly important for international and non-traditional students.
- Record all content. You may release these videos later as needed.
How I'm adapting to coronavirus pandemic and teaching online
Breanna Harris, Biological Sciences
When we got the official word to move online I was fortunate that I had one more class period with my students before the transition (afternoon of 3/12/2020). I scraped the planned activity for that day and instead had my nearly 300 students work in groups to answer a survey about our transition. I asked students to read over concerns/questions I had about our transition and then list additional concerns they had that I had not thought about. I also asked them how they felt we should handle various assignments and course logistics as we took our class online.
I compiled the answers provided by the students and used this feedback to rework our syllabus. The students had some great suggestions. I realize that we are now into online teaching but sending a quick survey (either via Google forms, blackboard, or another method) might be a helpful exercise. I will likely do an online survey in a few weeks to get an idea of how our online scenario is working.
Below are some of the things that I've done to move online:
- Moved to asynchronous format due to equity issues. I, as well as students, had concerns
about the below issues, so we went asynchronous. We felt this would work best for
our large (300-student) course.
- Dependent care issues/schedules
- Altered work schedules – especially for those in jobs deemed essential
- Internet access in dorms or off campus; what about data plan limits
- Multiple people in a household/family needing to access remote options at the same tim
- Connectivity/Internet issues for all 300 people at one time (we have had WiFi issues in the classroom for Top Hat so this was a big concern
- What is a student or family member gets ill, how will synchronous work in that instance?
- Apartment complex limits on bandwidth issues
- What about students that don't have a laptop and only a phone? Can they do synchronous learning and assignments via a phone?
- I am recording my lectures using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and posting the link.
- I've download and use Blackboard Respondus 4.0 (different from the Respondus Lockdown browser). This tool allows for taking
a multiple-choice exam or quiz in word format and uploading the questions and answer
choices into Blackboard. This save a lot of time and helps prevent formatting headaches.
- Link for instructions to download:
- UPDATE: the password in the doc is expired, it should be:
- Link for instructions to download:
- In my updated syllabus and in my “welcome to online learning” video I acknowledged
and validated having multiple feelings about this situation.
- “I know you likely have a lot of emotions about this whole situation, that is okay. It is okay to be sad, anxious, stressed, frustrated, angry, etc. This is an unprecedented event in our lives and in your education. But I ask that after you process those feelings, we make the best of the situation. We can get through this together.”
- In my syllabus, I included some helpful resources. Links to those are below:
- Tips for moving online from U Michigan https://lsa.umich.edu/content/dam/rll-assets/rll-docs/Study%20Habits.pdf
- A Pause for Wellness by Dr. Kiel
- I also included a document that I created on rationale behind and importance of flattening
the curve, and a list of things to do while practicing social distancing.
- Internet accessibility and food security resources
- For myself, I used the below resources to help me plan my course and my interactions
- Please do a bad job of putting your courses online.
- A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus.https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/a-trauma-informed-approach-to-teaching-through-coronavirus
- Worried About a Friend? Use Your E.D.G.E.
- Confronting Racism and Supporting Asian American Communities in the Wake of COVID-19
- Seven tips to manage your mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Adjusted Syllabus by Brandon Bayne https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-6d_W8rdzE9mW2DvPi-dPvRxo4sekKlz3VqEpnu4Dwg/edit
- Coronavirus has upended our world. It is OK to grieve.
- Please do a bad job of putting your courses online.
- I am also a member of several pedagogical Facebook groups (listed below). These are
pretty good for discussions and ideas but can be all-consuming if you let them. Use
- Pandemic Pedagogy
- Higher Ed and the Coronavirus
- National Association of Biology Teaching – Leader in Life Science Education
- Social Media Professors Community Group
- Society for the Teaching of Psychology – STP
- Teaching Resources for Biological and Psychology and Neuroscience
- Flipgrid Educators
- Case Study Network
It's not all about the tools
Melinee Lesley, Education
It's Not All About the Tools: Focus on Principles of Good Teaching Remember as you transition into online teaching that digital tools are great, but what students most need are the same principles of good teaching as you would utilize in a face-to-face course.
In my tips below, I discuss three important principles of good teaching and how I handle them in online learning:
- course design (e.g., objectives and learning modules),
- engagement (e.g., dialogue and synchronous sessions), and
- peer-mediated learning (e.g., writer's workshop)
The key is to find tools that help you maintain student engagement and interaction with the course content and help you to be present in all aspects of the course. The two things students complain the most about with online instruction are classes that feel like an independent study where they learn nothing they wouldn't have learned from reading the textbook for the class on their own, and not having any feedback or communication from faculty. Students do not care about how snazzy the digital tools are. They want online classes that emulate the same tenets of effective teaching that are present in a face-to-face environment.
Good online instruction begins with the overall organization and design of the course. It is critical to set up a learning environment that guides the actions of students from perfunctory aspects such as reviewing a syllabus to more complex activities such as managing a writer's workshop online. One way I have found to design my online classes to be effective is through a weekly learning module that students work through independently. The learning module always has stated objectives and guiding questions at the beginning. I also provide a letter to students that doubles as a reading guide where I point out key ideas I want them to focus on within their readings and embedded activities. I include supplemental readings that extend the required readings as well as links to videos and websites as appropriate. Sometimes I include power points over content I want students to have more depth of information about. These weekly modules conclude with reflection questions that synthesize concepts for students to ponder. I have found that having a consistent, weekly module is critical in designing an online course.
In addition to weekly learning modules, I also hold scheduled synchronous class sessions through video conferencing tools such as Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Ultra, Skype, or Zoom. Video conferencing tools are designed to emulate face-to-face interaction. Video conferencing affords dialogue between you and students as well as among students. Engaging in small group activities is an important feature of video conferencing, too. I prefer to use Zoom. In the synchronous sessions, I always present new learning. Synchronous sessions should not be another re-hash of the learning module or assigned readings. Students need to see these sessions as vital to their learning in the course. Also, I include activities that I would implement in a face-to-face class such as practicing different writing methods or small group activities. All of these methods are designed to encourage student engagement through active participation.
Peer Mediated Learning Students need opportunities to learn from one another. To bring this about in an online learning environment, I utilize small group activities during synchronous sessions and writer's workshop in a discussion thread. I have moved away from general threaded discussions about class readings over the years because I have found them to be a lot of busy work for students that they are rarely engaged in. I do ask students to introduce themselves to the class at the beginning of the term through a threaded discussion. I also require students to participate in writer's workshop over writing assignments in the class through a threaded discussion. I divide students into groups at the beginning of the term for this purpose and assign them to their own small group thread. I also set deadlines for when to post a rough draft and provide peer-review questions for students to address about each others' work. I have found that organizing writer's workshop in this manner has been every effective and meaningful for students.
In summary, remember online instruction is ultimately not about the tools. It's about providing quality instruction--timely and detailed feedback, structure, expectations for student participation and performance, and engaging content.
Moving a lab-based, interactive physics class online
Beth Thacker, Physics
PHYS 1404-001 Interactive laboratory-based course, Socratic questioning pedagogy
We have moved a laboratory-based, completely interactive-engagement class (no lecture) online. We are meeting four days a week on our regular schedule, MTWR 9:30am-10:50am, online using Zoom. The students work in Breakout rooms and call an instructor (faculty member (me), grad and undergrad TAs) from the main room as needed for help or Checkpoints. They are using pHet lab simulations for the labs when available. When not available, we are using videos we make or online demo videos and sending them the data. It has been working fairly well (two days in). There was some overload on the TAs and me the first day and we still have some learning to do about breakout rooms and co-hosts, but we are catching on and getting used to Zoom. We are having to use all of the features of Zoom – breakout rooms, whiteboards, screenshare, etc.
Moving Tests & Discussions to a Digital Platform
Dom Casadonte, Chemistry & Biochemistry
I teach in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. My courses are all flipped, meaning that my students watch lectures on line and do homework before coming to class, where we have discussion and a deep dive into the material (I've included a book chapter I wrote a few years back to show that this approach works in many disciplines and works well). One of the advantages to the flipped classroom approach to teaching is that lectures and homework are already on line for asynchronous work. Moving to online for me, then, requires only a digital platform for discussions as well as a testing site. I've looked at a number of sites, and, more importantly, had some of my students tests sites with me. Blackboard Collaborate is good for classes with large numbers and where teaching is primarily through Power Point or PDF slides with little class interruption. We also looked at Zoom. It has a superior (in my opinion) student interface, a white board that can be partially erased (unlike Collaborate, where the entire board is erased at once (if someone knows how to change that, please let me know), and better audio and video characteristics. The disadvantage is that only (according to the website) 49 people can be engaged in a video format at any one time. This works well for me, since my classes are relatively small (25 students each). Regarding testing, I am switching my free response sections on my exams to all multiple choice. This I will handle through Proctorio, the Respondus Lockdown Browser (both on Blackboard, which I use a lot), or by e-mailing the exam and a fillable PDF which will be returned at the end of the exam period. I am lucky enough to be teaching Honors classes, and we have talked as a class a lot about the need for intellectual honesty, so I can probably get away with any of the three options.
Online Test Proctoring: Proctorio – Common Hiccups
Stephanie Lockwood, Biological Sciences
I've utilized Proctorio and other monitoring platforms for several online courses over the years, and they are wonderful in maintaining academic integrity. First, I will say following the “Proctorio Faculty FAQs” is quite handy. But there will still be some growing pains. There is one big student issue I see over and over each semester, and a few little things to consider.
The little things first: 1) Ensure you tell your students to wear clothes as they would a normal class. Yes, I've seen it and you don't want to. Do yourself a favor and put in a clothes policy ahead of time! 2) On the same note, perhaps consider a room requirement, i.e. not lying in bed for class. No, I haven't seen this one, but a friend suggested it. 3) Make sure to tell students to stay in frame of the camera and not to cover up the camera. Yes, I've seen this too. 4) Even though it is proctored please give students the benefit of the doubt when looking at the “flagged” results. No, I don't think a toddler or a dog is going to slip any conceptual or philosophical ideas, a cat perhaps. Watch the flagged video clips and watch what actually happened and don't just rely on the percentage it gives you. I have noticed in using different proctoring platforms Proctorio is more sensitive than others. I think students just knowing they are being observed keeps most students in line, granted I've observed the not so honest as well, but they are very few and far between.
Ok, the main thing I do observe every semester and not just on the first attempt at using Proctorio is the exam will ask students for a password. Even when I tell them there is no password, and to follow these steps, they will send you a screenshot showing you it's asking for a password. Nine out of ten times it is because they did not follow the steps thoroughly, and the add on is not engaged. On the “Proctorio Faculty FAQs” it states to make a link in your course for the “Secure Exam Proctor” tool. Put this link right above your exam in bold, red letters – Click Here First. Students must install the Proctorio google chrome add-on before they attempt to take the exam, but they must also click on that tool link to engage the add-on. If it is not engaged, the system with ask for a password. If it is not engaged, students will get the password error. Students will need to click on this tool before each exam. In every class on the first and second exam I spend time helping about 10% of the students with the same problem. Occasionally, a student might need to clear the cache in their browser. When 10% of the students are emailing you all at once it can be a bit overwhelming, but usually it can be easily managed.
Taking a Service Learning Course Online
Bob McDonald, Marketing
Please read the following PDF to see how Professor McDonald shifted an extremely active
service learning course for an online, remote teaching environment.
MKT 4350 Adjustments Teaching Academy
AddressUniversity Library Building, Room 136, Mail Stop 2044, Lubbock, TX 79409-2004