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Faculty Resources

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Digital Teaching Tools

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The following is a list of recommended tools for teaching online, or in the blended learning environment. Those tools that are University-supported link to VCU’s web pages and others link to the main website or help page for the tool.

What does it mean to be a University Supported Tool?

By electing to use a university supported tool, faculty have access to helpful information for getting started using the tool and resources for obtaining help and live technical support from university personnel.

What is the vetting process that VCU uses to determine if a tool can be University Supported?

Academic Technologies assesses a tool based on whether it meets standards for accessibility and privacy.

 

[View Image]DiscussionsVideoCollaborationSynchronous MeetingsSimulations/ Branching Scenarios
Novice Technology User 

Canvas Discussions*

VoiceThread*

Flip Grid

 

Kaltura*

Adobe Spark*

WeVideo

Google Suite**

Zoom*

Google Hangouts*

 

Storyboard

 

Intermediate Technology User 

Hypothes.is VideoAnt

 

YouTube Channel

Padlet Stormboard

n/a

Twine

Advanced Technology User 

Piazza 

 

 

Camtasia

 

n/an/a 

H5P

 

* These tools are University-supported. If you have further questions about University-supported tools, please contact Learning Systems at LSRequest@vcu.edu

**The Google Suite is supported by the Collaboration Services team, who can be contacted at drgee@vcu.edu

House Bill 1

“Virginia House Bill 1 (HB1), effective July 1 as Code of Virginia section 23.1-405(C), prohibits a university from disclosing a student’s email address, physical address or telephone number under the exception in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for directory information or the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) unless the student has affirmatively consented in writing to the disclosure,” according to the Office of the Provost. You can read more about how the University is working to be in compliance with HB1.

How to be in compliance with HB1:

Certain collaborative platforms, such as Google Docs, disclose students’ contact information. In some cases, this can violate recently enacted laws that protect student information from being shared with other students. Instructors must now obtain written consent before disclosing to student contact information, such as email addresses, to other students. Your department may already have created a form for your use so you may want to check with your department chair first. Finally, it is always good practice to have an alternate way for students to participate in a designated activity in the event a student does not grant consent.


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Hungry for more?

Please check out our website for more details about course and support services, or you can enroll in one of our professional development on our Canvas Course Catalogue. For any other questions please contact onlinepd@vcu.edu

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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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Canvas Course Navigation

Course navigation is crucial to instilling confidence in your students as they orient themselves in the new world of your course and curriculum. Your students should experience a navigation that is intuitive and free of clutter. This resource will offer suggestions that may help alleviate some of the "noise" found in canvas.
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Group Work

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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Concurrent Teaching v. HyFlex Instruction

There are many different ways to engage students using your video conferencing software, and this resources aims to assist you in understanding the differences between concurrent teaching and hyflex instruction.
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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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Live Session Lesson Plan

Teaching in a synchronous environment can be a daunting task for any instructor, this resource offers a template for a lesson plan which will aid in the preparation for teaching in a challenging environment. The live session lesson plan aims to engage the learners and take away some of the fear of having to lead a class using video conferencing technology.
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“Low Tech” Methods of Online Instruction

The digital divide is a real issue at educational institutions, and instructors should be prepared to offer different modalities to students so they be successful in the online classroom. This resource aims to introduce the digital divide and provide some examples how to alleviate strain on students.
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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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Teaching First Generation College Students

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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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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Turnitin

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

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 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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