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How Can I Keep My Class Momentum No Matter What?

There are still many uncertainties as we plan for the next academic year. What we do know is that as COVID-19 continues, we and our students will need to be flexible. It's no longer just about emergency remote teaching, and student expectations are increasing. But with proper planning, we can meet this challenge to be more responsive and innovative than ever. The Teaching and Learning Commons has worked closely with Information Technology Services and Libraries to identify our most reliable strategies and tools below.

Course Planning and Contingency Preparedness

We expect that instructional delivery this academic year will consist of a variety of in-person, online, and hybrid (or combination) activities. And this means that we all have to be prepared with a plan to pivot quickly should the situation change. One of the most critical steps is to establish a strong communication channel with your students.
  1. planning tipEngage and reassure your students as things evolve throughout the semester, and allow their concerns to help guide your instructional decisions.

For More InformationReference our page about Student Communication and Tools.

Depending on your selected instructional delivery modality, you may need to rethink your course content and activities, reassess how students will be able to meet your course learning objectives, and select the tools that will best fit your teaching style and Internet connectivity level, as well as the ones that suit the expectations you have from your students.

  1. planning tipReview your course learning objectives and activities, and determine what changes you'll be making to deliver instruction.
  2. planning tipSelect the curated tool(s) that will best fit with your selected delivery mode and teaching style.

For More Information Reference our pages about Instructional Continuity Strategies and Tools and Classrooms.

Students need to know the details of how class communication will work. How should they contact you with questions/concerns? How often will you be checking in and responding to messages? Set reasonable expectations.

  1. planning tipTell students how they can reach you, and set expectations for communication parameters (appropriate channels, frequency, turn-around times, etc.).

For More InformationReference our page about Student Communication and Tools.

eCampus and Google Drive

As always, eCampus should be the hub of online course activity, and is your secure location to provide instructional materials, learning assessments, and grades to students.

Every course at WVU is provided with an eCampus course shell automatically. However there are important limitations in the ways eCampus is currently being used. No large files or media content should be posted directly in eCampus! Please upload such files to Google Drive and link to them, to keep the storage load off eCampus. An exception to this would be student submissions into the assignments tool in eCampus. Simple file-type assignments SHOULD be turned in to eCampus through the Assignments tool, with the actual document attached.

Unlimited file storage in Google Drive is available as part of your university-issued MIX account and our G Suite for Education services. Every instructor at WVU has a MIX email address.

Articles, book chapters, books, and copyrighted videos should be directed to WVU Library's Course eReserves.

eCampus Template

If you have not started building your course yet, we have an eCampus template to assist you. This is meant for empty course shells and not for courses which already have content. Instructions available when you follow the link above.

  1. planning tipUse Google Drive (connected to your university-issued MIX account) and other cloud services to store your online instructional content.
  2. planning tipEstablish your eCampus shell as the hub with links to your cloud-hosted instructional materials, and use eCampus for your course assignments, assessments, and student grades.

For More InformationReference our page on eCampus and Google Drive.

For More InformationAdditionally, ITS has provided a specific help page for Teaching Remotely During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

How Might I Replicate Face-To-Face Class Meetings?

There are multiple ways you can replicate your face-to-face class meetings, but for this section we're focusing on two concepts: real-time content delivery and interaction, where interaction happens during your assigned class-time, or time-flexible content delivery and interaction, where interaction can happen on the student's schedule provided it is complete by the following assigned class-time.

Real-Time Interaction (Synchronous)

WVU is supporting two tools for real-time interaction: Collaborate (Ultra or Original) and Zoom. You may want to invest in a headset microphone and a webcam before using these services. Limited supplies are available for checkout from the WVU Library.

Any live meetings you have with your students via one of these options should be scheduled during regular class meeting times to avoid conflicts, and archived for students with poor connectivity.

Both Collaborate and Zoom are online meeting software for real-time interaction and engagement with students.

  1. planning tipArchive any real-time video conferencing and interactions for students who couldn't participate.

For More InformationReference our page about Collaborate.

For More InformationReference our page about Zoom.

Time-Flexible Interaction (Asynchronous)

There are there also two tools we are supporting to deliver time-flexible interaction to students, VoiceThread and Mediasite.

To be considerate of student internet connectivity concerns, we recommend making short videos of 10 minutes or less. One guideline to follow would be to only cover one topic per video.

For More InformationReference our page about VoiceThread.

For More InformationReference our page about Mediasite.

How Else Can I Communicate and Engage with Students?

Regular and substantive interaction with your students is required as part of moving your courses online, even if only temporarily.

The four tools above, Collaborate, Zoom, VoiceThread, and Mediasite, can provide communication and engagement with your students, but not all students will have an easy time accessing those services.

Other possible ways of communication and engagement include announcements, discussion boards, feedback on assignments, feedback on assessments, email, and telephone.

  1. planning tipProvide varied interactive opportunities for students who may have poor connectivity, including options that don't require them to be present in real-time.

For More InformationReference our page about Instructional Continuity Strategies and Tools.

For More InformationReference our page about Student Communication and Tools.

How Do I Assess Student Learning?

Assessment of student learning doesn't have to mean a big final exam. Think about each of your course objectives and how students may be able to demonstrate whether or not they've met each objective. Any of the tools listed above might be a vehicle for students to demonstrate their mastery.

  1. planning tipCapture whether students have met course goals through at least one substantive assessment.

For More InformationReference our page about Assessing Student Learning.

Finally...

As this situation evolves, we will be updating this website with new information.

  1. planning tipCheck this page regularly for updates.

This guide was last updated on May 17th, 2020.


Planning Tips Recap

In the sections above we enumerate important planning tips:

  1. Engage and reassure your students as things evolve throughout the semester, and allow their concerns to help guide your instructional decisions.
  2. Review your course learning objectives and activities, and determine what changes you'll be making.
  3. Select from the curated tools on this page the ones that will best fit with your teaching style.
  4. Tell students how they can reach you, and set expectations for communication turn-around times
  5. Use Google Drive (connected to your university-issued MIX account) and cloud services to store your instructional content.
  6. Establish your eCampus shell as the hub with links to your materials, and use eCampus for your course assignments, assessments, and student grades.
  7. If possible, archive any real-time video conferencing and interactions for students who cannot participate.
  8. Provide varied interactive opportunities for students who may have poor connectivity, including options that don't require them to be present in real-time.
  9. Capture whether students have met course goals through at least one substantive assessment.
  10. Check this page regularly for updates.

For More InformationHere's a downloadable 10 Tips infographic to help you along the way.


Is Your Course at WVU Health Sciences?

If you are at WVU Health Sciences Center and not using eCampus, visit SOLE Support's HSC Contingency Planning and Preparedness information.