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Faculty Resources

Ready to take your teaching to the next level? This page will guide resources available to make that happen. Please bookmark this page and visit it often, as content is continuously updated.

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Accessibility in E-Learning

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a division of the US Department of Education, 19% of undergraduate and 12% of graduate students reported having a disability during the 2015-2016 academic year. This means that at VCU over 5,000 students could report having a disability. Making course content accessible levels the playing field so all students have an equal chance. 
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Closed Captions

For videos to be accessible to all audiences they must include the option for the audio to read through captions. Closed captions allow students the option to read what is said in the video, while others, who may find it distracting, can simply turn it off. Either way, it is important to consider our students needs in order provide appropriate measures to assist their learning.
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Online Collaboration

Getting students to collaborate and work with each other allows for them to construct new knowledge, an important concept in online education. We offer insights into best practices associated with collaborative work and how to integrate it alongside you online class.
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Course Development Resources

Thinking about developing an online course? Looking for some resources after completing our certificate program? This page features videos and downloadable resources to assist you in course development.
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Digital Teaching Tools

This page provides a list of recommended tools for teaching online or in the blended learning environment. Tools listed here are organized by ease of use as well as whether or not they are University supported tools.
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Giving Feedback Online

Giving student in an online environment helps to keep students engaged in the class and allows for the instructor to communicate with the student on their work in a non-judgmental manner. Learning how to efficiently offer feedback to student will allow for a stronger online environment and an overall better learning experience.
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Instructing In Rampages

Virginia Commonwealth University has created their own brand of WordPress which is titled Rampages, but what is WordPress, or really what is Rampages? More importantly, how can you utilize it functionalities in an online environment to teach dynamic online classes? This resource helps you explore Rampages capabilities and best practices associated with teaching in an online environment using any WordPress platform.
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Engagement via Social Media

Connecting with students through social media platforms can be a powerful way to encourage learning and community building in your classes. Blackboard allows you to connect to these social media platforms, and you can pull students further into your classroom by showcasing different Twitter and Instagram accounts for the purpose of perspective and insight into the world outside of your class.
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Managing the Discussion Board

Discussion in the online environment is a concrete manner through which your students co-construct new knowledge. In order for it to be engaging and not exhausting we have a few recommendations which will help you navigate the online discussion board.
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Not Everyone is a Tony Stark!

College can be an extremely stressful time for many students, and one major contributing factor of stress to college students lives revolves around the financing of their educations. This resource offers ways faculty and staff can assist in reducing some of the costs of college life, and help in reducing a little pressure associated with college life.
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“Old School” Distance Education

As more and more courses are transitioning to being taught virtually, either fully or partially, instructors need to consider ways to best reach students who may not have access to high speed internet all the time. This resource offers insight and practical suggestions on designing courses which can be taught when there is an issues with "low-bandwidth".
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Online Learning Guidelines

These guidelines introduce VCU faculty to the process of designing online courses in consultation with ALT Lab/VCU Online. It will help those of you who are new to online teaching and give you tips and processes that will guide the design of your course, as well as explain best practices and pitfalls to avoid.
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Online Presence

In a face-to-face classroom you do not need to worry about your presence in the classroom, as you physically see the students in the classroom and they get a sense for your personality and teaching style. However, in an online environment instructors need to work a little bit harder to establish a connection with the learner, which will lead to a better learning experience.
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Online Teaching Pedagogy

Research demonstrates that online teaching methodology varies drastically from face-to-face instruction. This page was created to provide you with information and support on best practices in online instruction as well as some information on learning theories in online education.
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Other University Resources

Need a little more help? Perhaps a person to chat with? This page offers links to the wide variety of resources that VCU has to offer faculty who teach in the online and blended environments.
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Preventing Plagiarism

Plagiarism is a real concern with any class, but there is a way to prevent cheating through SafeAssign. Utilizing Blackboard you can embed SafeAssign to help encourage students to only use original work.
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Synchronous Learning

Moving from a face-to-face classroom to one based on video conferencing software can be stressful for both instructor and student. This resources aims to relieve some of the tension by providing resources and insights to the world of synchronous learning through the video conferencing toll Zoom.
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Using Rubrics

In online environments communication between instructor and students is incredibly important, an effective way to maintain a level of transparency when it comes to grading is utilizing a rubric with course assignments. Rubrics can take some time to create and use, but once you have established your assignment expectations it allows for an ease of communication about it, which in the long run creates a less stressful learning experience. This resources offers different rubric methods and considerations when contemplating the creation of your rubric.
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VCU Course Evaluation

In order to improve online learning, and integrate new types of learning activities, it is important to evaluate previous courses design. This resource provides information on how to we at the ALT Lab/VCU Online evaluate online courses for quality.
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Welcome Videos

As an online educator, it is extremely important to make connections to your students. A simple and fun way to accomplish this is through the creation of a welcome video at the beginning of the course. A welcome video allows students to break down assumptions made about you as a professor and acknowledges you care about the learning relationship. This resource illustrates the power of welcome video and helps you prepare for the creation of your own.
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What is Flipgrid? How Do I Use It?

There are many great tools to help you facilitate a dynamic classroom which places the student at the center of the knowledge. One such tool is called Flipgrid; it allows students and professors to hold conversations through videos virtually, which is a great way to create an interactive online class.
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What is Voice Thread? How do I Use It?

VoiceThread is an impressive tool faculty members use to enhance student engagement and online presence. It takes time to master, but once you become proficient at knowing how to use this online tool you can create, share, and comment on images, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, videos, audio files, documents, and PDFs, using microphone, webcam, text, phone, and audio-file upload.

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