The Instructional Preparedness Edition
This issue of the Teaching Hub is dedicated to preparing ourselves to deliver some of our teaching to students in an alternative format. The goal of this preparedness is to be ready to continue delivering our curriculum during a full or partial quarantine due to COVID-19’s impact on faculty, students, or others who are not able to attend classes the way originally planned. We will focus on Webex as a central tool that can fill many (but not all) of our needs, as we continue to do what we do in D2L. We have organized some opportunities for you and your students to get comfortable with Webex, should the need arise to use it.
Teaching Tips & More!
As we plan and prepare for instructional continuity, we are confident of one thing: we will see our faculty, students and staff shine as we work towards the end of the term. And we are not alone. There are many other institutions sharing their thoughts and plans, just like we are doing here. You’ll see a collection of these resources at the end of this post. But first, let’s turn to some advice from the Director of the Digital Pedagogy Lab, Sean Michael Morris, someone who has thought more than most about how to keep the human connection alive in teaching from a distance.
“Online doesn’t mean you need to change how you teach. You are still just as human, and so are the students on the other side of your screen. Email, text messages, phone calls—these are all ways to sustain a human connection.”
Using the technology without it using us.
“Look for simple solutions. Don’t complicate distant learning suddenly with unnecessary tools or expectations. Use reliable, familiar tools, so that teaching can remain the core of your work.”
This is great advice from Sean. As we mentioned above, we’d suggest that the most familiar and reliable tool that we all have to make much of this happen is Webex (and of course we continue doing what we already do in D2L and other tools).
Webex is a space that you can use to meet with your students and deliver some instruction at the same time, in the same (digital) space. It can be recorded for those who can’t join at the time. It can create captioning and transcripts. And best of all you don’t have to have a camera on you at all! We can discuss all this (and any other tools you may need to use) to keep connected and sharing when we get together in Webex over the next few weeks (see the schedule next)
Helping you navigate the inner workings of the college
Over the next few weeks, we’d like to offer an opportunity for you to get more familiar with these tools, and to make sure that you have what you need to succeed. We’re offering facilitated opportunities for you to learn about and practice with WebEx, Starting on Monday, March 16th at 10 a.m. See details here. If you need a webcam/mic, head down to your school office, The LDS hallway, or the IT Help Desk and grab one. And we’re always ready to chat with you in our own MS Team, the (Virtual) Teacher’s Lounge. Come on in, sit down and let’s chat. Here’s the invite link.
Stuff to tell your students!
We don’t want our students left to figure out their end of things on their own, either. To that end, we suggest that after you get comfortable in webex with us, schedule a time for your students to experience a WebEx room with you. The meeting need not have any curriculum attached, just a chance to make sure things work. This could be a nice test run to get everyone feeling ready to learn in a new setting. As another option, the library will offer a chance to experience a webex for students on Tuesday March 17th between 10 and 1 to let students know about the excellent remote help they have to offer. We will update this post with a link to that room as we can.
Keeping it Professional
Professional Learning Opportunities
If you want to dig in further, we’ve collected some fantastic resources from around the globe by people who want to help ease the transition:
- The entire thread from Sean Michael Morris that we referenced above
- Rapid Response plan from Victoria Commonwealth University ALT LAB
- An Emergency Guide (of sorts) to Getting This Week’s Class Online in About an Hour (or so) from Matt Crosslin
- Webex support resources
- Brightspace (D2L) video tutorials for Faculty
- The Online Learning Consortium’s “pop up webinar”, “Using Live, Online Sessions to Support Continuity of Instruction”
- Martin Weller, of the Open University and author of “25 Years of Ed-Tech”, blog post The COVID-19 Online Pivot
- Jim Luke – Learning in a Pandemic
- This Twitter list of digital learning shepherds to look up to and follow their lead through this.
- Teaching in the context of COVID-19 (shared collection of resources from other Higher Ed institutions)
We can do this! Remember, this is just about preparedness. Reach out to the Learning Design and Support Team if you want to chat! Phone 705-749-5530, Ext 1216 and email firstname.lastname@example.org. And we strongly encourage you to join our MS Team, The Virtual Teacher’s Lounge as a place where all of us can discuss this stuff and support each other.