Moving Content Online
The guidance provided below is intended to help faculty prepare a campus-based course for online delivery in the shortest amount of time to meet student needs during an emergency closing. Typical online course development takes between six months to a year and requires intentional instructional design. When time permits, work with Academic Technology Services to better develop your online class, and register for the full Online Faculty Training course.
Communication and Collaborative Work
Email is a powerful and direct way to communicate with your students, and you can log into Outlook from any browser or phone. D2L’s Classlist tool also enables you to easily email your entire class at once. Beyond direct email, use the D2L news tool to post messages to the course, and D2L Discussions to encourage student-to-student interaction. Consider using fully-synchronous web-conference meetings with Zoom to meet with students during the emergency closure. Keep in mind that both you and students will need adequate bandwidth for video conferencing.
Lecture and Content Delivery
Providing your students with lecture materials is often the biggest hurdle to cross when moving instruction into the online space. These materials could take many different forms. Some of the most popular ways to transmit this information are via text, audio recording with visual aids, or an instructional video. Regardless of the method you choose, it’s always a good practice to break the information into manageable chunks and to place activities throughout the instruction that prompt students to further engage with the materials. You can also incorporate videos from other, credible sources like TED, the ETSU Library, or professional associations as an alternative instructional method. Use caution when selecting and sharing YouTube videos with your class. Always confirm that the content within the video is appropriate and aligned with the course’s objectives.
If you plan to create instructional videos, consider being a part of that video. During times when instruction must move online, seeing your face and hearing your voice can keep students connected to the learning community you’ve cultivated in the classroom. This effort to invest in your instructor presence in the online classroom is essential to both teaching and learning.
Using ETSU services to help create video-based instructional content is easy! You can record your screen, your audio, and your webcam using ETSU’s Zoom Web Conferencing platform. You can enhance your instructional video using visual aids created with Office 365 and Adobe apps and programs. We recommend using a laptop or desktop computer with an external camera and microphone for the best quality recording. But, in a pinch, you can use your phone or mobile device to capture instruction, too.
Once you’ve created your instructional content, you must identify a way to share it with your students. At ETSU, we recommend using a streaming service to host your multimedia content. You’re able to share recordings you create using ETSU Zoom cloud sharing. Or, you can upload your instructional content directly to Youtube. Please note that we do not recommend uploading raw video files (MP4) directly into the D2L Brightspace platform.
Recording Best Practices:
- Plan Your Video. Outline the information your video should include. What kind of information do the students need in order to reach the lesson’s objectives successfully? What information would you share with your in-class students? This planning is tremendously helpful when you go to record and produce your videos. Always try to stay on topic. A script is also helpful here if time allows.
- Gather Materials. Gather all of the collateral you’ll need to produce your video. This collateral may include visual aids, presentations, video clips, images, data sets, etc.
- Video Length. We recommend short instructional videos 15 minutes in length or shorter. It is acceptable to have multiple 15-minute videos for content requiring additional instruction.
- Engage your students. Engagement is not lost in the online space, but as the instructor, you have to integrate these interactive components within your instruction mindfully. Using the Brighstpace Discussion Forums or Quiz tool, create and incorporate student activities throughout your instruction. These activities could include a brief quiz, a reflection activity, a response to a discussion question, or an opportunity to react to the content. Use the ETSU D2L Help Resources to create these learning activities.
- Share in a Compatible Format. If given a choice, save or export your video as an MP4 format to ensure the best compatibility with a variety of different devices and systems.
- A Note on Quality. Ideally, you’ll need to account for the audio and video quality of your instructional content. Here, always prioritize your audio content. Ensure that you’re recording in a space that is free of distraction or “noise.” These interruptions could include animal noise, construction noise, or other audible disruption. Locate your microphone and speak loudly, clearly, and slowly into it. For video quality, make sure that your recording device is in focus and that you are sitting no more than five feet away from the device. ETSU’s Zoom platform allows you to test both your audio and video before making a recording. Take advantage of this opportunity to test your recording devices.
- Screen Recording.
D2L is the ETSU learning management system and the appropriate place to collect and share content and house interaction. Uploading material or linking to other content on the web from D2L allows students a single place to find the information they need for your course.
The simplest way to deliver videos you’ve created would be to upload them to YouTube and link or embed them in D2L’s content area. To make sure your videos are not searchable by the general public, you can mark them as ‘unlisted’ (not ‘private’) when uploading them.
If you have physical papers you need to upload, and do not have a scanner, your mobile device can be used as a substitute. Microsoft’s OneDrive mobile app can take a photograph of a document and convert it into a PDF to upload it into D2L.
If material needs to be shared with colleagues or for administration purposes, and a D2L course site is not appropriate, documents can be shared directly from cloud services such as OneDrive or Google Drive, or attached to an email.
- Uploading Content to D2L
- Uploading to YouTube
- Scan Documents with OneDrive on your mobile device
- Sharing files via OneDrive
Assessment and Grading
Administering assessments using a new format during a difficult campus closure should probably be avoided if possible. Low-stakes assessments are recommended and can be delivered through the assessment tool in D2L. Follow these recommendations for the best results:
- Focus on low-stakes assessments and exams.
- Use time limits to test knowledge while allowing students to use resources such as textbooks or notes.
- Communicate with students to discover accommodation needs. D2L can allow for increased time or other exceptions within the tool.
- Quizzes can be created by pulling random questions from a larger bank. It is recommended to create the questions yourself but that may be impractical on short notice. Consider using a publisher’s question bank if possible. For multiple-choice questions, you can also randomize the sequence in which the possible choices are displayed to individual students.
- Grades can be assigned and shared with students using the D2L Gradebook. Make sure that any grade items you create match the point expectations you set in your syllabus. Grade items can be manually scored or connected to other activities in D2L such as dropbox folders, assessments, and discussions.
If you have concerns about academic integrity during online quizzing, and you cannot delay graded assessments until students return to campus, consider using Respondus tools. Respondus Lockdown Browser can lock down a student’s computer within D2L so they cannot open other websites, programs, or communicate with others. Respondus Monitor can record a student’s environment as they take their online test, making sure they do not use resources that are not allowed.
- Managing D2L Assessments / Quizzes
- Assignments with the ETSU Dropbox
- Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor
Lab activities often require specific equipment and supplies, and are therefore difficult to fully implement in an online space without significant preparation. However, there are some steps that may work for some labs.
- Arrange the lab activity into smaller segments, and determine which segments can be delivered online. For example, if a lab session begins with an orientation to certain procedures or equipment, a video recording could be used to deliver the same information.
- Investigate virtual labs such as those provided by ChemCollective. In some situations, a virtual lab activity might be suboptimal but adequate.
- If the primary learning outcome has to do with data analysis rather than data collection, consider providing the students with realistic data sets upon which to perform the required analysis.