You may find yourself wondering what would happen if the College of DuPage had to shut down for an extended period of time. While the shift might be disruptive, there are steps we can all take to ensure that we continue to provide exemplary teaching and learning opportunities to our students. Here are just a few:
- Be flexible. Be flexible with yourself and your students in the eventuality of a campus shut down. We are lucky to have excellent online resources through the COD Library and the tools to make them available to our students via Learning Technologies, but it may be that not everything in your curriculum translates to an online environment. Make adjustments as necessary and use your learning outcomes as a guide – how your students achieve their learning goals is less important than the achievement. Keep in mind, too, that many of our students rely on campus services for their success in your classes. COD may be the only place they can find a computer or the internet, a quiet space, or a supportive face. What options can you provide that allow all students to succeed regardless of their circumstances?
- Communicate. Reach out to your students and let them know what’s going on in your class. Clearly communicate your expectations and outline what will change and what will stay the same in terms of assignments, due dates, etc. Use Qwikly in Blackboard to simplify communication across multiple course sections.
- Get creative with office hours. You may already know that you can hold online office hours in Collaborate Ultra, but how about using email as a low-tech alternative? Carve an hour into your day when you’ll commit to answering emails as they come in and let your students know that this is an ideal time to reach you with time-bound questions or concerns.
- Use Blackboard. If you’re not already using Blackboard to share content, provide assessment, give feedback, or encourage student engagement, now’s the time to begin exploring the many options our LMS has to offer. While it’s not perfect (and no LMS is), Blackboard has numerous tools you can use to keep you, your course content, and your students connected. Don’t try to tackle everything at once. Instead, consider what you would most like to achieve while teaching remotely. If you want to ensure that your students are still learning, try Tests and Surveys for low-stakes assessment; if dialogue and conversation is at the top of your list, explore the Discussion Board.
- Go synchronous. Although the majority of our online classes at COD are asynchronous (students connect with the instructor, other students, and learning content without real-time interaction), Blackboard Collaborate Ultra provides us with the capability to teach online synchronously. Much like hosting a webinar, synchronous online teaching allows us to interact with our classes as immediately as our internet connections will allow. Collaborate includes features such as a virtual whiteboard, chat, breakout rooms and more. Visit Learning Technologies’ Knowledge Base for information on how to get started with Best Practices for Hosting Engaging Webinars with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Recording Narrated Presentations with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
- COD Library Online Resources – https://library.cod.edu/az.php
- Learning Technologies Knowledge Base – https://support.codlearningtech.org/hc/en-us
- Writing, Reading, Speech Assistance online coaching information [PDF]
- Resources for Online Meetings,Classes, and Events by Facilitators for Pandemic Response group and other collaborators (h/t Jacinta Yanders, English)
- A Brief Guide to Synchronous Remote Course Tools – Michael Ball, UC Berkeley
- Online Learning Consortium Continuity Planning and Emergency Preparedness – A collection of resources and initiatives to support your efforts in moving courses to an online format when emergency situations arise.
Do you have tips to share or resources that you’ve found especially helpful in teaching remotely? Share them in the comments below or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org