Remote Teaching Tools and Resources

We are here to support you. CATL is on call Monday – Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm to answer questions and assist you with teaching strategies, Blackboard support, and educational technology questions.  Please email catl@loyalistcollege.com and one of our facilitators will set up a mutually convenient time and send you a link to connect virtually.

Teaching during disruption requires creative and flexible thinking about how we can implement student centred learning aligned to achieving course learning outcomes. This page offers ideas and resources for faculty to consider..

Here are some tips that will make your remote pedagogy easier and more interesting, and will help your coronavirus-stressed students successfully complete their courses.

  • Consider the context of your course and identify opportunities and obstacles that you and your students are likely to encounter.
  • Keep it simple and strategic when considering how to deliver your courses in an alternate way. Simplicity and accessibility for all course materials and tech tools will reduce the learning curve for your students, and make content conversion easier. Focus on the essential course learning outcomes and aligning your strategies and assessments so students can achieve success.
  • When possible, use technology tools and instructional approaches that are already familiar to you and your students. Use Blackboard to create quizzes and other required assignments that help students engage with the course content and demonstrate their learning.
  • Determine how you are going to share your content within Blackboard with your students – for example, via pre-recorded lectures or screencasts, narrated PowerPoint presentations, textbook readings or online readings, open content, and so on. For the most part, choose asynchronous tools over synchronous tools.
  • Develop a clear and well-planned course within Blackboard so your students can easily navigate the course.
  • Focus on sharing pre-created course content (e.g. documents, PowerPoint slides with detailed lecture notes, PDFs) rather than live content where possible.
  • Create a weekly schedule for your students, indicating what they need to learn and work on, including assessment submission dates, but build in flexibility. 
  • Foster a social presence. Strategies include regular (but not frequent) messages from you about course goings-on and asynchronous discussion forums in your Blackboard Discussion Board. Social presence includes the perceptible (visible/audible) actions of both the professor and the students.
  • Avoid live streaming video lectures. Video streaming uses considerable bandwidth and may affect performance. If you need to host live lectures/lessons, use Blackboard Collaborate, with only audio enabled. Break your lectures down into 5-10 minute self-standing mini-lectures. Recording your audio lessons so that students who cannot attend live can listen to your lesson afterwards.
  • Post static content for students to read and watch. Include high-quality readings and videos that you’ve selected from existing sources – online textbooks, articles, blogs, videos from credible news outlets, TED Talks etc. Or create your own content, including written-out lectures, narrated slide-show videos, or highlights and summaries of other course materials.

 

Navigational Simplicity

Create a consistent and clear structure in Blackboard to reduce the amount of time and effort students spend trying to find content and determine next steps, especially at the beginning of a course. Provide written direction and instructions in all course areas to help students work independently, especially if activities are asynchronous with students working at different times.

Consider including the following: 

  • Faculty Welcome Template – Give some general information about the course and what to expect, as well as what students should do next.
  • Getting Started Checklist Template – Adding a getting getting started checklist can provide students with clear instructions for preparing to learn remotely.
  • Sequence of Instructions Template – Providing a syllabus/sequence of instruction/course schedule gives students an overview of your course and what is expected week to week. This can also be used to help you organize your course content in Blackboard.
  • Faculty Bio Template – Adding a personalized biography about yourself under the instructor information link can humanize the course and reduce student anxiety.
  • Consistent course content structure – Using Loyalist’s standard template makes it easy for students to know where to go to access their lessons, activities and assessments.
  • Submitting Assignments in Blackboard – Include instructions in each course area for students, for example in the assessments area of your course provide instructions for completing tests or submitting files for grading.
  • Exemplars in the absence of face to face interaction, providing examples/exemplars can be an effective way to help students understand what you are asking them to do.

Carefully consider needs and the achievement of learning outcomes with the strategies involving the introduction of new technologies and/or procedures. Ensuring there is clear benefit aligned for use of the technology to learning outcomes will assist you in being strategic with where to focus your time and efforts.

Share course material and content, Create discussions and Journals, Create a test or quiz, Add assignment, Manage Grades Blackboard

Move lectures online, Host a guest speaker, Do group projects or presentations – Blackboard Collaborate

Office 365 training, Narration in PowerPoint, Accessible Word and PowerPoint documents – Office 365

Creating and editing video content, Closed captioning, Sharing video – TechSmith Relay

Test integrity within Blackboard – Online Test Integrity & Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor 

Upload paper-based tests into Blackboard – Respondus 4.0

Collaborate with colleagues, Set up one-on-one or team meetings, share content – Microsoft Teams

MyLoyalist portal resources for faculty/students, consider adding the following information to a “Getting Started” letter to prepare students to take your course remotely:

“Rule of 2’s: Keeping it Simple as You Go Remote for COVID19” by Dr. Robin DeRosa and Kyle Mackie is licensed by CC 4.0

Set clear expectations for communication with faculty and peers throughout the course. Encourage students to establish their own social presence and connect with others digitally.

Synchronous: Faculty and students gather at the same time and interact in “real time” with a very short or “near-real time” exchange between faculty and students.

Asynchronous: Faculty prepare course materials for students in advance of students’ access. Students may access the course materials at a time of their choosing and will interact with each other over a longer period of time.

Synchronous vs Asynchronous LearningFanshawe Open Learning Resource by S. Roch and A. Stracuzz is licensed CC by 4.0

Building Faculty Presence

Include the following asynchronous strategies:

  • Be proactive and send question and answer reply to all students/post in the discussion board for common questions to be efficient and establish presence.
  • Narrate your PowerPoint by adding audio files. It is ideal to include your talking points as notes in addition to the audio recordings.
  • Provide quality, timely feedback to establish your presence in the course.
  • Explore using video to post a video introduction, short announcements, recorded short online lectures and feedback for assignments. Consider that students may have limited internet connectivity, and keep videos short, ideally maximum chunks of 10 minutes. Enable closed captioning for accessibility.

 

Include the following synchronous strategies:

  • Enable your webcam/video so students can see you or modify settings to add your profile picture.

Building Community

Include the following asynchronous strategies:

  • Add Discussion Boards to allow students to participate on their own schedules. 
  • Create a sense of community by encouraging and guiding students to introduce themselves in the online discussion board.
  • Assigning grades to online discussions is the biggest predictor of their success. Your comments/feedback/input is critical for students to stay engaged.
  • To encourage critical thinking, ask students to post before seeing replies, which has students refine their own thoughts before seeing the discussion thread.
  • You can post discussion topic or task your students individually or in groups to add their own posts with thoughts or links on themes related to the course content.
  • To continue engagement in discussion boards consider assigning reflective statements where students detail their contributions and reflect on what they learned from the conversation.

 

Include the following synchronous strategies:

  • Schedule office hours via Blackboard Collaborate. Provide instructions for students for participating in a synchronous session.

Building Collaboration

Include the following asynchronous strategies:

  • Place students in learning groups in Blackboard. Focus student engagement using discussion questions, tasks, or resources to explore together.

 

Include the following synchronous strategies:

  • Place students in learning groups in Collaborate. Focus student engagement using discussion questions, tasks, or resources to explore together.

 

Active Learning

Include the following asynchronous strategies:

  • Have a guest speaker record a lecture or narrate a Powerpoint presentation, set up a discussion board for question and answers or add an assessment.
  • Make reading active by assigning an action:

Provide 3-5 themes or concepts for the students to look for in the text. Students can create columns for each theme/concept and write keywords, thoughts, phrases and evidence from the reading that connects with the theme/concept.

Identify different quotes from a reading and ask students to contextualize and/or analyze the quote, connecting to course concepts.

Ask your students to read the reading with two different perspectives:

“Believing” – Student reads the text empathetically and makes a conscious effort to understand and appreciate the author’s points, values, beliefs and perspective. The student makes a list of their own points, supporting the author’s perspective and writes an argument ‘for’.

“Doubting” – Student reads the same text looking for weaknesses, makes a list of points refuting the author’s points, values, beliefs and perspectives, and writes an argument ‘against’.

Have students draft questions to pose to their peers.

  • Create a Padlet to inspire curation and sharing of content.
  • Examples of active learning strategies.

 

Considerations for Lab Activities:

  • Take part of the lab online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre-or post-lab work), and save the physical practice parts of the labs until access is restored.
  • Research online resources and virtual tools available to help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations).
  • When your lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it is a strategy to keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience.

Include the following synchronous strategies:

  • Host a debate, divide the students into 2-3 groups (for, against and observers) providing the assignment in advance and then hosting the synchronous live debate.
  • Use live polls as an engaging activity (think word cloud).
  • Utilize think-pair-share, start by asking your students a question you feel will be challenging. Give them a few minutes to think about it by themselves (you can even introduce it at the start of class, or before class begins). Using Blackboard Collaborate, you can then create breakout rooms where students can be paired up to discuss the question at hand. After that, they can share their conclusions, either live by video or in the discussion board.

 

Instructional Strategies for Active Leaning in Remote Delivery – PowerPoint Presentation from CATL Spring 2020 Virtual Workshop 

Assessments 

Provide low-stakes, formative assessments so both you and your students can proactively address any concerns during the course. Introduce assessment instructions and inform students how it is connected to course learning outcomes. Interaction with students can be enhanced through robust and timely feedback.

Include the following asynchronous strategies:

  • Formative assessments, like tests, discussions, or journals can replace some of the planned in-class interaction and provide you with timely insights into how students are learning. Consider adding standard feedback to quizzes.
  • Add assignments in Blackboard with questions that prompt students to apply concepts to scenarios or ask them to identify the best of multiple correct answers.
  • Provide rubrics for assignments. Students will benefit from clear and detailed information about what to do and how it will be evaluated. Consider marking using the rubric which allows for individualized feedback.
  • Students record their presentation (audio or video) and upload to Blackboard. Consider the need for a final exam, for some alternate ways to assess other than a final exam,
  • Students record their entire individual performance using phones, tablets, or computers and upload to Blackboard.
  • Students upload their project as a final summative assessment. Examples include designing an experiment, final paper, grant application, or a poster.
  • If your course uses a publisher’s textbook, check to see whether the publisher has question banks that can be leveraged.
  • Consider the need for a final exam, for some alternate ways to assess other than a final exam. See below under final exam considerations.
  • An open book online test/exam can be built in Blackboard. You can build a test bank of questions and randomly choose a subset of questions per student.
  • For a closed book timed test/exam in Blackboard, enable Respondus Lockdown Browser.

Include the following synchronous strategies:

  • Use live polls with review questions to learn where students are at, as formative assessment.
  • Students deliver their individual or group presentation or project in real-time via Blackboard Collaborate.
  • If ultimately you need to host a synchronous closed book final exam, access resources on Respondus.

There are many factors to consider when moving your final assessment from a paper-based-exam to a digital assessment.

“So… you need to move your exam online” by Giulia Forsythe is licensed CC BY 4.0

Source: Brock University – Centre for Pedagogical Innovation, Exam Redesign

Reweighting 

If you feel confident your students have successfully demonstrated the course learning outcomes through previous assessments, you may consider reweighting previous assessments and eliminating your final assessment.

Considerations: 

  • Have students successfully demonstrated the course learning outcomes? 
  • Are many students at risk of failing without the opportunity to complete a final exam? 

Redesigning

If reweighting assignments is not an option, you may need to redesign your final exam. Redesigning allows you to create a new or revised assessment that focuses on outstanding learning outcomes. This assignment could take the form of an audio/video presentation, a cumulative written assignment, or a reflection assignment. You may also redesign your exam to be more suitable for a take-home, open-book format.  

Considerations: 

  • Which course learning outcomes are outstanding? 
  • What format(s) are most accessible to your students? 

Digitizing

In some cases, a final exam may be necessary to demonstrate the completion of the course learning outcomes. Generally, this applies to large survey-courses, or to courses which prepare students for fields that require the completion of an external accreditation exam.  

Considerations: 

  • Can some of your questions, such as those in short answer or essay format, be delivered as assignments outside of the exam environment? 
  • Is your digital exam accessible to all students? 
Student Accommodations

Shifting the format of your final assessment will impact each of your students. As you shift your exam format, be prepared to offer and provide individual accommodations for students. The following factors may impact your students’ ability to complete your exam in a new format.  

Accessibility: Your students may need new arrangements for accessibility accommodations in the new exam format. 

Bandwidth: Your students may not have a reliable home internet connection.  

Consent: Your students may not consent to having their personal data collected or recorded.  

Device: Your students may not have access to their own laptop or desktop computer. For example, they may use a tablet to complete their schoolwork, or have a shared computing device. 

Home Environment: Your students may not have an environment which allows them to complete an uninterrupted assessment. For example, they may now be responsible for all-day child-care, or be sharing their workspace with a partner, roommate, or parent working from home. 

Remote Proctoring

Remote proctoring is a digital solution to replicate the in-person, time-limited proctored exam environment. Remote proctoring tools provide identity verification and allow faculty to place limits on the digital environment of the test taker — such as which applications can be used during test taking. The tools also capture video and audio of the test-taker’s physical environment and flags any anomalies. Upon test completion, instructors can review all the data captured by the proctoring tool to determine the integrity of the exam.  

All publicly assisted institutions will be provided access to an automated Artificial Intelligence-assisted proctoring tool on an as-needed basis to enable the delivery of final exams. At Loyalist we use Respondus 4.O.

Source: “Assessments in Remote Environments” by Open Library is Licensed CC by 4.0

Additional Resources

“Final Assessment Decisions” by Humber College

“Flexible Teaching and Learning” by Brock University

“Designing Remote Final Exams” by Queen’s University

The following list of recommendations may maximize the ability for students with disabilities to fully and meaningfully participate in all aspects of the virtual learning environment and may also benefit other student populations.

Timed Tests: Consider making tests available for a longer duration than would typically be the case in a physical environment. This will help minimize the number of individual adjustments you will need to make for students with testing accommodations.

Online Lectures: If you are delivering live lectures using Blackboard Collaborate or Teams, record the session and make the recording available to view at a later time. This allows students extended access to the material and has the added benefit of allowing professional notetakers and sign-language interpreters the ability to support students’ access to the lecture in an accessible format.

Student Collaboration: If you are delivering lectures using Blackboard Collaborate or Teams, please allow for the sharing of notes between students to maximize access to course material.

Alternate Methods to Submit Work: For assignments that require students to draw, sketch, or otherwise use a writing instrument: Consider having them complete their work on paper, take a picture, and upload it to Blackboard, OneDrive or Email for submission.

Contact Info and Hours: Please make it clear to your students when and how you can be reached for a phone, email or teams appointment should they need further explanation of material or instruction. Best practice would be to include this in instructor information within your course in Blackboard.

Alternatives to Presentations: If a student has this accommodation, consider a video submission or connect with the student’s Accessibility Advisor to explore an appropriate alternative.

Source: Content adapted from Conestoga College’s Accessible Learning team, Universal Design for Learning for Remote Teaching; April 16, 2020

Standard Course Template for Remote Delivery

As we work through remote delivery options, it will be important to consider the student experience, particularly when it comes to course navigation. The optional Remote Delivery Standard Course Template has been devised by Instructional Designers and has an evidence-based design.

What is it?

Our standard course template

  • is a zipped file that faculty can upload to the Bb course shells
  • contains a standard, simple structure with straightforward navigation
  • includes a Home Page (Stay on Track) with folders and a menu with basic tools
  • includes design tips
  • is fully modifiable and not prescriptive in terms of teaching style
  • can weave in learning design considerations as suggested in Remote Teaching Tips 
  • can be customized so each program area has its own look or specific elements (connect with your Chair or Coordinator about program-specific templates).

Who benefits?

  • Students
    • helps ensure that students have a consistent experience in terms of navigating their courses
    • reduces exertion to figure out where to find materials and tools with each course they start
    • can support persistence and satisfaction (by enabling focus on learning tasks, reducing confusion)
  • Faculty
    • provides a quick-start environment  that eliminates the need to build a course structure from scratch 
    • contains tips for modifying elements, and carry out other actions based on their preference
  • Chairs/Deans
    • helps ensure consistency across courses within programs
    • can fast-track new faculty in learning Blackboard and course standards
  • Support services:
    • when a course has a standard structure, it is much easier for support areas (such as CATL, service desk, Accessibility) to provide more efficient support to faculty
    • helps reduce student requests for help in navigating disparate courses
  • Academic Community
    • a common course structure facilitates easier collaboration on shared course resources and exchange of course ideas
    • enables faculty to more easily give peer support when there are questions about adding content or tools

Download the template here

The Standard Course Template can be downloaded to the right. It is a .zip file that you can save to your local computer or storage device and then upload to your Blackboard course shells.

​See the instructions below for information on uploading it to your course shells.

Download FileClick the above link to download. Be sure to note where the file is downloaded so that you can select it when uploading into Blackboard. 

How to Upload the Template to Your Bb Course Shell

To see the basics on how to import the template into your course shells, follow these steps:

Step 1. Download the attached file

Step 2. Open up the course shell(s) that you want to copy the template into

Step 3. In the grey course administration menu on the left side, click ‘Packages and Utilities’

Step 4. A sub-menu will expand; select ‘Import Package/View Logs’

Step 5. In the screen that appears, click the ‘Import Package‘ button

Step 6. Click the ‘Browse my Computer’ button, then browse for the zip file that you downloaded

Step 7. Click the ‘Open’ button;

Step 8. Under the Course Materials section, click the ‘Select All’ button

Step 9. Click the ‘Submit’ button; the course will be copied promptly and you can then make any modifications you wish to your newly-templated course.

Information was adapted with permission from George Brown College

Click on the following link to access Spring 2020 Workshop Videos

You may be asked to log into Myloyalist before you can access the videos, depending on your internet they may take a few minutes to load.

Please note that the videos are currently being edited with closed captioning. Updates are happening regularly.