From Kate Bohan, Shala Mills, and the IT team:
- Choose the simplest format possible for your course delivery. Synchronous delivery is seldom the simplest form. It is almost always much easier to record in advance and post.
- Asynchronous gives you more control. In an asynchronous format, you can pre-record your content, post it, and test that it is working properly. If something goes wrong, you will likely have time to resolve the problem before your students access the content. For that reason, you may wish to rely more heavily on asynchronous content and limit the synchronous elements, perhaps by using synchronous sessions only once a week, or for short mini-lectures or Q & A sessions.
- Get appropriate training on technology that our campus supports. Synchronous technologies are not necessarily “hard” to use, but you do need to be familiar with them. If you plan to use synchronous tools, and you have not done so already, please get training. Check the OIT Events Page for upcoming events and the Campus Contingency Guide on the ITS knowledge base for documentation and recorded training sessions. Be sure to use technologies our campus supports. This will not only ensure that you can get the support that YOU need from OIT, but it will also reduce the number of platforms your students will have to learn and ensure that they have also access to campus support.
- Choice #1 for you is Bb Collaborate
- Choice #2 for you is WebEx
- Use your regularly scheduled class session. It is essential that you schedule your synchronous class for its regularly scheduled class session. Most students are enrolled in multiple courses. If faculty do not keep to their regular class schedule, then students may have rescheduled synchronous sessions that overlap or conflict with one another.
- Be prepared for the likelihood that you or your students may encounter technical difficulties that disrupt or prevent the synchronous delivery. The global move to online education is taxing broadband services. Your own or your students’ internet connections may falter. Some of your students may have limited internet access. You or your students may have trouble using new technologies with which you are not familiar.
- Test first. Consider scheduling one or more “test” class sessions with your students where you have no intention of delivering content, but, rather, are giving everyone a chance to become familiar with whatever system you are using for your synchronous course. Ask students for feedback on what challenges they experienced in the test sessions and then work to resolve those issues before holding a session involving the delivery of course content.
- Record for students who can’t access the synchronous session. It is very important that you record your synchronous session for students who are unable to join the session. Students may experience technical difficulties. Students, like faculty, may be working from remote locations that are less than ideal. Having a recording of the session will enable them to participate once their technical or other challenges have been resolved. Knowing that the session will be recorded may alleviate anxiety they may experience over this type of remote learning.
- Have a back-up plan and make sure that you and your students know what the back-up plan is if you experience technical challenges that require you to abandon your original plan.
- How will you communicate that you are moving to your back-up plan? Will you post an announcement in Bb or send an email?
- Will you move to a synchronous “chat” space where you and your students can type your communication?
- Will you record the intended content and post it later that day?
- Will you move to an alternate synchronous platform?
- Have an experienced colleague on stand-by to assist. If you are inexperienced with synchronous technologies, you may want to consider asking an experienced colleague to be available to you by cell phone during your first foray into this learning environment. That way you will have immediate access to someone who can help you troubleshoot any problems you or your students might be having.
- If you have problems:
- Check with the ITS Knowledge Base before sending in a ticket and use the search bar there to type your inquiry. Your question may already be answered there.
- Try to resolve your problem within your department before reaching out to OIT. Colleagues from your own discipline or from disciplines with similar pedagogical approaches are often well equipped to help you think about what works best with the sort of content you are delivering.
- OIT is training additional staff to assist with tickets, but OIT resources are heavily taxed right now. So please recognize that there may be some delay before OIT staff can respond to your ticket.
Small Teaching Online by Flower Darby and James Lang is available as a free Ebook via Sojourner Truth Library
Autumn Joy Florencio-Wain shared her Group Discussion/Project form
Free 20 minute videos
Resources for Remote Teaching:
“Quick Start Guide to Building Online Lessons” from Provost Lyman: https://newpaltz.teamdynamix.com/TDClient/1905/Portal/KB/ArticleDet?ID=100508
For support using various instructional platforms like Blackboard, including video help and training request forms, visit the “Campus Contingency Guide” at https://support.newpaltz.edu. And for help with virtual conferencing tools like Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Webex, follow this link:
The college will allow some flexibility on dates for withdrawals and incompletes, as well as a P/F grading option for students who don’t fare well online.
In his own words: “We need time to talk with colleagues and friends. It helps us to realize that we are not alone with our challenges in these times as well as an opportunity to learn and teach with others.”
Join us via Zoom at 11:00 am Central Time
Session in English: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Session in Spanish: Tuesday and Thursday
Please email your suggestions to (firstname.lastname@example.org)