Important COVID-19 Information

For all University updates and resources regarding COVID-19, please visit www.doane.edu/covid-19
COVID-19 Teaching Resources

COVID-19 Teaching Resources

For additional information, visit the Instructional Design Services Faculty Resources section.

Members of the Doane Community are stepping up to provide guidance as you set up your virtual classroom. View the up-to-date list of Virtual Classroom Super Users available to you. Super Users for Virtual Classroom Resources 

Doane University would like to thank the Board of Trustees of Indiana University for sharing this information with the public.

COVID-19 Teaching Guide
  • Identify plans early: Consider addressing emergencies and expectations up front in your syllabus, so students know what will happen if classes are canceled, including procedures you will implement. Consider doing this each semester, so you are ready in case of an emergency.
  • Get details about the closure or event: Campus closures or emergencies will be reported here, so those are good places to look for information, including estimates of how long you may need to teach your course online. You can check the main Doane webpage or contact Tiger Tech for information about the current availability of IT services.
  • Check with your department: Your department may issue more details about the situation and guidelines about their expectations for classes. Administrators may want to have many of the department's classes handled in similar ways, so check with departmental leaders before doing too much planning.
  • Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don't have a plan in place yet, communicate with students as soon as possible. Informing them that changes are coming and what your expectations are for checking email or Blackboard so that you can get them more details soon.
  • Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction: What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you hope students will keep up with the reading with some assignments to add structure and accountability? Do you just want to keep them engaged with the course content somehow?
  • Review your course schedule to determine priorities: Identify your preferences during the disruption&, providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself a little flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than you think.
  • Review your syllabus for points that must change: What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)? Since students will also be thrown off by the changes, they will appreciate details whenever you can provide them.
  • Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students: Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary. If a local crisis causes closure, it may be already taxing everyone's mental and emotional energy; introducing a lot of new tools and approaches may leave even less energy and attention for learning.
  • Identify your new expectations for students: You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' the ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
  • Create a more detailed communications plan: Once you have more details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with more information about how they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). A useful communication plan also lets students know how soon they can expect a reply. They will have many questions, so try to figure out how you want to manage that.
CETL Teaching Resources

The following list of online resources may help with the transition to online instruction. This list may be updated by the CETL and Instructional Design with additional resources in the coming days/weeks.  

Zoom

You can choose to host class synchronously using Zoom by logging into doane.zoom.us and creating a meeting on a specific time and date. You ask your students to attend virtually, screen- share any presentation and record the class to share at a later date. Alternatively, you could use Zoom as an asynchronous platform, recording your lecture (and screen sharing any information) to be sent out later to students. 

Zoom Meeting Demo
 

Flipgrid

This free asynchronous resource allows instructors to pose questions to their students and collect video responses. Students are able to respond to a prompt and/or continue the conversation by responding to other students’ posts. You can choose the response limit time (up to a 5-minute max). 

Nearpod

This synchronous online platform allows the instructor to share out a lesson using Google slides where after entering a unique lesson code generated by the instructors, students can follow along while the instructor is the one who ‘drives’ the lesson. The basic version is free to instructors after setting up an account. 

Screencastify

This free Google Chrome ad-on allows instructors to record, edit and share videos. Instructors may choose to record full lessons or shorter videos, as well as explain assignments or answer questions. However, the free version limits videos to five minutes. For longer lessons or lessons, Zoom might be the way to go.

Fishbole Video

This Google Suite ad-on allows you to make videos for a flipped classroom and can be integrated with Google Slides. You can record a presentation with the Google Slides using screen share and then share out the URL. There is a free version that provides the following per their website: public space to create a classroom/portfolio, unlimited public videos, viewer analytics. The pro version is $16/month which includes everything the free version does but makes the videos private.

Some features include (directly from website):

  • Add a school logo
  • Embed on school website
  • Laser pointer lets you point out key items on slide -
  • Edit Google slides directly in App
  • Set visibility/expiration dates for your videos

Google Hangout

An alternative to Zoom, Google Hangout allows up to 25 people to join a video call. The video call can be recorded. 

Otter

This free audio transcription service allows you to record a lecture and have the audio transcribed to text. This can be synched to Zoom so that the Zoom recording is then transcribed for any student who might prefer to have the text. The free version provides up to 600 minutes of transcription per month. 

Socrative

This online platform (basic version is free) allows instructors to informally assess students, posing quick questions, short answer, true/false, quizzes and exit tickets, making online learning more active. 

Screencast-O-Matic

The free version of this online program allows instructors to record, edit and share screen capture videos that allow for audio or video narration. Instructors may choose to record up to 15-minute videos to share course content, short tutorials, and assignments, for example. Once videos are recorded, they can be uploaded to YouTube or downloaded to a local computer of Google Drive. 

Screencast-O-Matic Demo
 

Keep Teaching Strategies

Communicate with Students

Keeping in touch with students is vital during any changes to your class(es). Whether a planned absence on your part or because of a crisis impacting all or part of campus. You'll want to let students know about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety and save you from dealing with individual questions.

Keep these principles in mind:

  • Communicate early and often: Let students know about changes or disruptions as early as possible, even if all the details aren't in place yet, and let them know when they can expect more specific information. Don't swamp them with email, but consider matching the frequency of your messages with that of changes in-class activities and/or updates to the broader crisis at hand (for example, the campus closure is extended for two more days; what will students need to know related to your course?).
  • Set expectations: Let students know how you plan to communicate with them, and how often. Tell students both how often you expect them to check their email and how quickly they can expect your response. Let them know, too, if you are using the Blackboard Inbox tool, since they may need to update their notification preferences.
  • Manage your communications load: You will likely receive some individual requests for information that could be useful to all your students, so consider keeping track of frequently asked questions and sending those replies out to everyone. This way, students know they might get a group reply in a day versus a personal reply within an hour. Also, consider creating an information page in Blackboard, and then encourage students to check there first for answers before emailing you.
Accessibility

 

The following is a video that explains the civil rights issues for all students with disabilities. 

 

ADA Compliant Guidelines

ADA Compliant Guidelines Checklist

Font

When choosing a font for online course content, consider the following.

  • Fonts should be sans serif having squared edges without having decorative elements such as hooks. 
  • Try to keep the font size between 12-18pt. Font styles should not be italic, oblique, highly decorative, or in any unusual form.
  • Several accessible fonts are:
    • Times New Roman
    • Verdana
    • Arial
    • Tahoma
    • Helvetica
    • Calibri
    • AvantGarde
  • Whenever possible, text on a website should be kept as text. Do not include essential text within a picture or a graphic.
  • To ensure text is legible to all people regardless of ability, make sure there is a high level of contrast with the background of pages. We recommend black text color against a white background.
  • Hyperlinks should appear as blue. Hyperlinks should be the only underlined text.
  • Avoid using font appearance as a way to convey messages. Bold and italicized texts do not register with all screen readers, and as a result and implied messages could be lost. Instead, use headers (styles like H1, H2) to organize content.

For more information, please visit www.boia.org/blog/best-fonts-to-use-for-website-accessibility.

Images

If using any images within your course design, please consider the following.

  • Images used to relay content and information (like graphs) should include a text alternative (alt-text.) Text alternatives/descriptions should be below the image. At a minimum, images should have a short description conveying the essential information presented in the picture.
  • Please avoid using unnecessary or decorative, blinking, flashing, images, or distracting features.
  • Avoid images with text overlay (text is on the picture) if possible. If they are necessary, a description must be below the image detailing precisely what the text overlay says.

For more information, please visit www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/images.

Videos and Other Multimedia

If using videos in your courses, please consider the following:

  • All videos must have closed-captioning that has been checked for accuracy.
  • Closed-captioning should be synchronized with the video images and audio track of the video. Click here for a zoom tutorial.
  • Minimize blinking, flashing, or other distracting features in videos.
    • If videos have blinking, flashing, or other distracting features, the ability to pause the video is a necessity.
  • Consider attempting a document containing a transcript of any videos.
  • Avoid using autoplay features that start videos as soon as a webpage opens.
  • For synchronized zoom session: Record your session, enable transcribing, and share your recording with the transcript after the meeting. Visit Zooms' how to Transcribe Your Session Automatically.

For more information, please visit:
https://www.ada.gov/pcatoolkit/chap5toolkit.htm
https://www.boia.org/blog/checklist-for-creating-accessible-videos

Attached Documents and Files

  • All fonts and images within attachments should follow the previously mentioned guidelines.
  • Searchable ODF files are the best file format for text files. Searchable PDF makes it easier for screen readers to function.
  • If you are converting a Microsoft Word document to a PDF format, ensure the material is accessible. Please visit how to convert office products to PDF format to ensure accessibility. 
Distribute Course Materials and Readings

You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift more instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving.

Considerations when posting new course materials:

  • Make sure students know when new material is posted: If you post new materials on Blackboard, be sure to let students know what you posted and where. You might even ask that they change their Blackboard notification preferences to alert them when new materials are posted.
  • Keep things phone friendly: In a crisis, many students may only have a phone available, so make sure you are using mobile-friendly formats, PDFs being the most common. Consider saving other files (for example, PowerPoint presentations) to PDFs, which are easier to read on phones and tablets, and keep the file size small. It is fairly easy to reduce the size of PDF files using Adobe Acrobat, and there are online tools that do the same thing (for example, search Google for "PDF file size"). Videos take lots of bandwidth, so only require them if you are confident students will have access to them during a crisis.
Deliver Lectures

Depending on your course, you may need to deliver some lectures to keep the course moving along. Be aware, though, that a 45-minute live lecture sprinkled with questions and activities can become grueling when delivered online without intellectual breaks.

Here are a few suggestions to improve online lectures:

  • Record in small chunks: Even the best online speakers keep it brief; think of the brevity of TED talks. We learn better with breaks to process and apply new information. To aid student learning, record any lectures in shorter (5-10 minute) chunks, and intersperse them with small activities that give students opportunities to process the new knowledge, make connections to other concepts, apply an idea, or make some notes in response to prompts. Smaller chunks also lead to smaller files, especially when using voiced-over PowerPoint presentations.
  • Be flexible with live video: Lecturing live with Zoom is certainly possible, and it best approximates a classroom setting, since students can ask questions. However, a crisis might mean some students won't have access to fast internet connections, and others may have their schedules disrupted. So, record any live classroom session, and be flexible about how students can attend and participate.
  • It's not just about content: If a crisis is disrupting classes, lectures can mean more than just providing course content; they also establish a sense of normalcy and a personal connection. In online courses, we talk about the importance of "instructor presence", and that's just as true during short-term online stints. So, consider ways that you can use lectures to make students feel connected and cared about: acknowledgment of current challenges, praise for good work, and reminders about the class being a community. This effective work can help their learning during a difficult time.
Run Lab Activities

One of the biggest challenges of teaching during a building or campus closure is sustaining the lab components of classes. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space.

Considerations as you plan to address lab activities:

  • Take part in the lab online: Many lab activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures, and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider if there are other parts of the lab experience you could take 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. The semester might get disjointed by splitting up lab experiences, but it might get you through a short campus closure.
  • Investigate virtual labs: Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations). These vary widely by discipline but check with your textbook publisher or sites such as Merlot for materials that might help replace parts of your lab during an emergency.
  • Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the 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 might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during the closure.
  • Explore alternate software access: Some labs require access to specialized software that students cannot install on their own computers. Depending on the nature of the closure (for example, a building versus the entire campus), IT and Instructional Design might be able to identify alterntive software or access location to meet your students need.
  • Increase interaction in other ways: Sometimes labs are more about having time for direct student interaction, so consider other ways to replicate that level of contact if it is only your lab that is out of commission.
Foster Communication and Collaboration Among Students

Fostering communication among students is important because it allows you to reproduce any collaboration you build into your course and maintains a sense of community that can help keep students motivated to participate and learn. It helps if you already had some sort of student-to-student online activity (for example, Blackboard Discussions) since students will be used to both the process and the tool.

Consider these suggestions when planning activities:

  • Use asynchronous tools when possible: Having students participate in live Zoom conversations can be useful, but scheduling can be a problem, and only a few students will actively participate (just like in your classroom). In such cases, using asynchronous tools like Blackboard Discussions allows students to participate on their own schedules. In addition, bandwidth requirements for discussion boards are far lower than for live video tools.
  • Link to clear goals and outcomes: Make sure there are clear purposes and outcomes for any student-to-student interaction. How does this activity help them meet course outcomes or prepare for other assignments?
  • Build-in simple accountability: Find ways to make sure students are accountable for the work they do in any online discussions or collaborations. Assigning points for online discussion posts can be tedious, so some instructors ask for reflective statements where students detail their contributions and reflect on what they learned from the conversation.
  • Balance newness and need: As with any changed activities, you will need to balance the needs and benefits of online collaboration with the additional effort such collaboration will require on everyone else's part. Learning new technologies and procedures might be counterproductive, particularly in the short term, unless there is a clear benefit.
Collect Assignments

Collecting assignments during a campus closure is fairly straightforward since many instructors already collect work electronically. The main challenge during a campus disruption is whether students have access to computers, as anyone needing a campus computer lab may be unable to access necessary technologies.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Require only common software: Students may not have access to specialty software located in on-campus computer labs. Some of that software may be available via IT, but unless the students have permission to load software onto a computer they can access, they may be unable to use these tools. Be ready with a backup plan for such students.
  • Avoid emailed attachments: It may be easy to collect assignments in small classes via email, but larger classes might swamp your email inbox. Consider using the tools below instead. Balance what is simplest for students with what is easiest for you to manage.
  • State expectations, but be ready to allow extensions: In the case of a campus closure or other crisis, some students will undoubtedly have difficulties meeting deadlines. Make expectations clear, but be ready to provide more flexibility than you normally would in your class.
  • Require specific filenames: It may sound trivial, but anyone who collects papers electronically knows the pain of getting 20 files named Essay1.docx. Give your students a simple file naming convention, for example, FirstnameLastname-Essay1.docx.
Assess Student Learning

It is fairly easy to give small quizzes to hold students accountable or do spot-checks on their learning, and this might be ideal to keep students on track during class disruptions. Providing high-stakes tests online can be challenging, however; they place extra stress on students, and test integrity is difficult to ensure. If you know there is a date for resuming on-campus classes, consider delaying exams until you return. Work with CETL, Instructional Design, your Dean, Department Chair, Program Director to determine alternative assessments that work for your course. IDS is investigating proctored online testing tools for fully online courses but this will take time and community conversations.

General tips for assessing student learning during class disruption:

  • Embrace short quizzes: Short quizzes can be a great way to keep students engaged with course concepts, particularly if they are interspersed with small chunks of video lectures. Consider using very-low-stakes quizzes to give students practice at applying concepts—just enough points to hold them accountable, but not so many that the activity becomes all about points.
  • Move beyond simple facts: It is good to reinforce concepts through practice on a quiz, but generally it is best to move beyond factual answers that students can quickly lookup. Instead, write questions that prompt students to apply concepts to new scenarios, or ask them to identify the best of multiple correct answers.
  • Check for publishers' test banks: Look to see if your textbook publisher has question banks that can be loaded into Blackboard. Even if you don't use these questions for your exams, they can be useful for simple quizzes. Some textbooks also have their own online quizzing tools that can help keep students engaged with the material.
  • Update expectations for projects: Campus disruptions may limit students' access to resources they need to complete papers or other projects, and team projects may be harmed by a team's inability to meet. Be ready to change assignment expectations based on the limitations a crisis may impose. Possible options include allowing individual rather than group projects, having groups record presentations with Zoom, or adjusting the types of resources needed for research papers.
  • Consider alternate exams: Delivering a secure exam online can be difficult without a good deal of preparation and support, so consider giving open-book exams or other types of exams. They can be harder to grade, but you have fewer worries about test security.