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Faculty Resources

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“Low Tech” Methods of Online Instruction

Why Should Instructors Consider “Low Tech” Methods of Instruction?

Strategies for Reaching Students

  1. A quick and easy way to find out your students’ access to technology is to ask.
    • Start with a short survey to assess what they have. Keep the survey short.
    • Ask: What is their technology access status? (computer, smart phone, “dumb” phone, TV, Netflix, etc.?)
    • What extenuating circumstances do you need to know about?
    • Consider creating a contact list of emails for your class (don’t worry about HB1 – it was changed for educational purposes): https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/9310148?hl=en.
  2. For paper/essay assignments consider emailing them to students and then accepting them via email.
  3. Make sure you download any articles you want students to read and have them ready to attach to an email in case students lack the internet to get into the LMS but CAN get into email.
  4. Swap out required viewing that may have been shown in class or be required to be checked at the library for things that can be watched via Netflix/YouTube/Hulu/Kanopy. To find a best replacement, search what you were going to assign to be watched and then “streaming online” to first see if it is available streaming. If not, googling the title with the word “alternatives” usually leads to threads where faculty have already had to “If you like this, try that” sort of discussions about many documentaries.
  5. If you are using Canvas for instruction, you can allow students to download course content by activating ePub in settings. Check out this Canvas guide to see how to do so.

Consider the Following

Now is the time to really think in a UDL mindset. If that is new to you, watch this short video (if you have time):

If not it is basically this: We ALL learn differently, and have different needs, which are more complex than traditional labels. Ergo – to provide the best chance at differentiation and learning success gives students options. “Multiple means” is the key here. Give students objectives and what you want them to demonstrate and have them propose the project/final submission

Resources

  1. This infographic is a great resource, and summarizes the activities which can be utilized for high and low bandwidth
  2. The article Videoconferencing Alternatives: How Low-Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All by Daniel Stanford offers great insights into orientating your instruction for online learning

3. You may want to include Student Computer and Internet Access Support page in your class as it informs students the support they have access to through VCU


[View Image]Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

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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