Teaching Continuity During Exceptional Circumstances

Teaching Online During Exceptional Circumstances

Campus closures can happen for a variety of reasons. The steps included here are designed to assist you to keep teaching during events that prevent us from meeting face-to-face on campus and in classrooms. Keeping in mind that there are many ways to teach successfully at a distance, please consider this page as a place to begin (rather than end) the work of adapting one’s instruction for remote delivery. NOTE: This is not a replacement of the formal training to teach online and is not the same as designing an online course. 

Getting Started

When you realize you that you need to quickly convert your face-to-face course to an online environment, consider the following:

How will you continue to communicate with students? 
Communicate with your students as soon as possible. Inform them that changes are coming and what your expectations are for checking email or completing assignments on eClass (Moodle) — MSMC’s learning management system.

What are realistic goals for continuing instruction?
What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? How will keep students engaged with the reading and assignments –to add structure and accountability? Do you keep them engaged with the course content?

What tools and approaches are familiar to you and your students?
Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary. If a closure is caused by a local crisis, it may be already taxing everyone’s mental and emotional energy; introducing a lot of new tools and approaches may leave even less energy and attention for learning.

Refining Course Plans/Syllabi

Because of the change in modality of your course(s), it is likely that requirements, expectations, policies, and assignments may have to be re-imagined. As you continue to work out logistics, it is highly likely that your Syllabus and/or Course Calendar will also have to change.

When making updates to your Syllabus, use this checklist to make sure you are addressing any major changes to the course structure, methods of communication, expectations for participation, and outlining resources and methods of remote support. Remember, the more clarity and specific details you can give, the more comfortable and supported the students will feel.

Basic eClass (Moodle) Set-Up

Minimally, all online courses should be set up with the following elements:

  • An Announcements Forum to communicate with students and post weekly announcements;
  • An Instructor Block which contains a recent instructor image, MSMC email address, and virtual office hours;
  • Syllabus and Course Calendar based on the online syllabus standards adopted by MSMC for remote teaching and continuity;
  • A simple electronic Gradebook that lists major assignments.

In addition to the instructional videos below, our eClass (Moodle) Basics webpage is designed to assist MSMC instructors in navigating the basics of eClass (Moodle).

Finding Your Course(s)

This video gives instruction on locating your courses on eClass from the Portal

Viewing Time: 1 minute and 10 seconds

Adding an Instructor Block

This video gives instruction on adding a block with your instructor information to eClass

Viewing Time: 2 minutes and 51 seconds

Uploading a Syllabus

This video gives instructions on uploading a Syllabus and/or Course Calendar to eClass

Viewing Time: 1 minute and 33 seconds

Setting up a Basic Gradebook

This video gives instructions on creating a basic gradebook in eClass

Viewing Time: 2 minutes and 19 seconds

Making Course Shell and Gradebook Visible

This video gives instructions on uploading a syllabus to eClass

Viewing Time: 1 minute and 33 seconds

Using the Announcements Forum

This video gives instructions on communicating with students through eClass

Viewing Time: 2 minutes and 26 seconds

This webinar is designed for instructors new to online teaching. Each session is 1 hour and limited to 15 persons.

Teaching Continuity: Strategies and Considerations Webinar

Teaching in times of disruption can be challenging because you need to rethink how you teach on short notice while supporting student learning, but it also is an exciting opportunity to think creatively about your most essential course objectives and how you meet them. In this webinar, we will discuss some practical considerations for how you plan to modify your course, highlight some tools and strategies you can adopt, and share tips for ensuring your students feel supported throughout.

[Register Today!]

Facilitating online discussions with students
Discussion Forums are useful tools for facilitating student interaction and fostering a sense of community. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of creating a discussion forum in eClass (Moodle) and how you can create, review and assess student participation. (45 minutes)

Creating assignments, delivering tests and grading
eClass (Moodle) provides a variety of approaches for student assessment, including online testing and a range of assignment options. In this workshop, you will learn how to create electronic assignments, build online tests, and grade student submissions. (45 minutes)

Creating recorded presentations with VoiceThread and Poodll
There are many, many tools that you could use to record presentations. VoiceThread is a great option because it is integrated with eClass (Moodle). You can start with a PowerPoint presentation or other file (like Word documents, PDFs, or images) and record narration to accompany it. Don’t have a microphone? No problem! VoiceThread allows you to record audio via telephone. Poodll is another integrated audio tool; instructors can pose questions, short lectures, and provide narrative feedback. (45 minutes)

Remote Teaching Clinics
[Fridays in April, 12noon-1pm]

Drop-in! These live, drop-in, virtual Zoom sessions have been created to facilitate remote course preparation and delivery. Sessions will be staffed with instructional designers, faculty, and instructional technologists to assist with your questions. You can ask questions about: fostering collaboration and engagement, communicating with students, collecting assignments, grades and feedback, and fostering frequent and regular interaction.