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2020 Fall Teaching Resources from the Remote 2.0 Committee: Start Here: Best Practices for Fall Courses

Curated resources for faculty reviewed by members of the Remote 2.0 subcommittee.

Overview

Students will want to know about the delivery method of the course you are teaching, and words like "multimodal," "hybrid," and "JayFlex" will not mean much to them. Explain up front how you will be teaching and where to find things so they know what will be happening.

As of 11 August 2020, general discussion and Q&A among faculty will take place on the Sakai site "Teaching Resources." 

Recordings, etc. from the summer forums are available here.

Recommendations from the Committee

Use Sakai as a common “gateway” for all class announcements (very important).

  • In the HEDS student survey from last spring, there were complaints from many students about not knowing where to find information. If we all use Sakai for posting (and also emailing) messages to our students, that problem will not exist.

Develop a flexible attendance and accountability policy.

  • We do not want sick students coming to class.
  • There will need to be ways to determine that students have done the online part of any contact time (weekly accountability or engagement activities would be a good idea: see the page on Getting Started with JayFlex for some suggestions).

Design flexible assessment methods that can be managed online. 

Distribute learning materials digitally.

  • You will not be wanting to pass out a paper syllabus on the first day of class: the remote students will need a copy (and no one will want to be within six feet of you to receive a paper copy, either).

Collect assessments and learning activities digitally.

  • Same issue as above, but in reverse—you will not want to collect paper quizzes or essays from your students in classrooms. If the remote students are submitting online, why not have everyone else do the same?

Keep things simple and do not shun the low-tech option.

  • Too many platforms or apps in play at one time will dilute a courses's focus and cause confusion for students.
  • Over-produced videos will engage students less than more homespun, "authentic" ones.

Online contact time with lower-tech/bandwidth requirements

Videoconferencing Alternatives: How Low-Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All, by Daniel Stanford (IDDblog.org). Good overview of engaging activities that will not strain computer resources.

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Contacting Students before the Semester Starts

As many questions as you have had about how the fall semester will work, its safe to assume your students have also had many of the same questions. In order to take away some of the fear of the unknown, we are recommending that you reach out to your students sooner rather than later and talk to them about the logistics of your fall course. Even if you don't have it all figured out, communication from their faculty member will be reassuring.

Consider covering any of these topics with your students:

  • The course's modality (face-to-face, JayFlex, remote)
    • The logistics of that modality. Will you be dividing the course into groups and meeting face to face with groups on certain days of the week? Will you be meeting online on certain days? Will some material be asynchronous?
  • How students can reach you if they have questions
  • Where you will post announcements and information for the course. We strongly recommend working through Sakai.
  • Tech requirements. Make them clear and offer to help those who need assistance meeting those requirements.
  • Cool, new, and interesting things you will be doing in the course as a result of this change in format. 

Express your excitement to see them again (online or in person) and plan to continue communicating expectations and changes with your students throughout the semester, perhaps even at the start of each week or unit.

Things will change, students may be ill, you may be ill, public health conditions might require additional adjustments to the way the college operates. Having clear and open communication established will help you through all of this.