Teaching Remotely at UIS

During the COVID-19 pandemic, COLRS is sending a daily Teaching Remotely tip.  Visit the Online Teaching & Technology blog for an archive of the daily tips.

In the event that you are required to temporarily teach your class remotely due to a campus closure, the following process may be of help.

Step 1: Quickly communicate with your students

Every course at UIS has a Blackboard course site.  Through the Blackboard course site, you can send e-mails and post announcements to your students. Inform your students of the change of plans and that you will provide them with more details soon.  Let them know how you intend to communicate with them, how they should communicate with you, and how quickly they should get a response from you. The Quality Matters Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist provides a list of additional considerations as you move from an on-ground course to a course delivered in an alternative format.

If you need to improve your familiarity with Blackboard, the COLRS Online Teaching & Technology Blog can help.  It is a searchable tool for you to use to get assistance with many Blackboard-related topics.  Blackboard also provides a Help for Instructors online tool.

Step 2: Review your course schedule and syllabus

By reflecting on your original course schedule, you can begin to identify your priorities in teaching remotely.

  • Can your syllabus continue as planned by using technologies to deliver your lessons and facilitate activities in real-time?
  • What lessons and activities, if any, need to be shifted to adjust to a short-term closure?
  • What will you do if the closure is longer than anticipated?
  • Do you need to adjust any due dates or other policies in your syllabus?

Discipline-Specific Online Content Resources

As COLRS discovers discipline-specific online content resources that may be useful, we will add them to our Online Teaching & Technology blog post on Discipline-Specific Resources for Teaching Remotely.

Step 3: Decide how you would like to deliver content to your students

You should decide whether you want to move forward in a synchronous or asynchronous manner with your students.

By teaching synchronously, you can continue the sense of community that you developed with your students in the classroom.  However, some students connecting remotely may not have the technological capabilities,  connectivity speeds, or home environment that will allow them to collaborate in real-time.  Skype for Business does provide telephone numbers to call to connect with a Skype session.

By teaching asynchronously, your students will be able to access the content on their own time and at their own pace.  However, your students will not have the opportunity to ask questions in real-time.

Content Delivery Options Available Technologies Where to Find Help
Synchronously Zoom or Skype for Business Synchronous tools like Zoom or Skype for Business can be useful for meeting students in real-time or holding virtual office hours and extra-help sessions with your students. Zoom is integrated with Blackboard. Faculty can create, schedule, and launch Zoom sessions from within Blackboard, and students can easily join those sessions. Here is a quick video showing how to add the Zoom integration into your Blackboard courses.

Best practices for organizing a synchronous virtual class session is available on the COLRS Online Teaching & Technology Blog.

Asynchronously via video Kaltura Personal Capture You can use Kaltura Personal Capture to pre-record video content for your students.  Once the video is created and hosted on Kalture Media, you can add the video to your course’s Blackboard site for students to access.
Asynchronously using an annotated Word document or PowerPoint file Course Materials Content Area in Blackboard or Box You can upload files to the Course Materials content area of Blackboard.  Alternatively, you can upload files to Box and share the link to the files with your students via e-mail or course announcement.

Step 4: Identify additional technologies that will support your instructional goals

UIS has many technologies that can help facilitate various course activities virtually. In addition, there is a growing, curated list of free (or nearly free) tech products that can be used to teach remotely. An article on Educause shares several ideas for creating a student-centered remote teaching environment.

Instructional Activity Available Technologies Where to Find Help
Facilitating discussions Discussion Board in Blackboard You can use the Blackboard Discussion Board to create online discussions with your students.  You should clearly articulate with your students your expectations for engagement, including the number of postings and the frequency of postings.

Engaging discussions benefit from having well-written discussion prompts that evoke meaningful responses.  For ideas on creating discussion prompts, see the resources provided by the University of Wisconsin OshKosh and CUNY.

Examples of discussion board grading rubrics are available on the Online Teaching & Technology blog.

Collecting assignments and providing feedback Assignment tool in Blackboard You can use the Blackboard Assignment tool to collect assignment files from your students.  Feedback can also be provided to students on the collected assignments through the Blackboard Grade Center.
Administering exams remotely (unproctored) Tests tool in Blackboard COLRS has instructions on creating a test in Blackboard. Once you have created the test in Blackboard, follow the instructions provided to post and deploy the test.
Administering exams remotely (recorded but unproctored) Respondus Monitor with LockDown Browser Using the student’s webcam, Respondus Monitor records the exam session.  Suspicious behavior is flagged automatically.  To use Respondus Monitor, follow the directions for using Respondus LockDown Browser. After selecting Respondus LockDown Browser, select the Respondus Monitor option.
Administering exams remotely (human proctored) Examity Online Video Proctoring **All human-proctored exams through Examity have been cancelled through April 15, due to a COVID-19 shutdown of the proctoring facility.**

Through the student’s webcam, Examity uses live proctors to observe and record the exam session. To use Examity, you must e-mail COLRS to let us know the course that will have a proctored exam. COLRS has instructions on setting up an exam for use with Examity Online Proctoring Service.  Please note that students will be charged to use Examity, but the pricing is comparable to in-person proctoring charges.

Accommodating students with special needs COLRS Accessibility Resources & Blog If you have a student who has a documented disability with the Office of Disability Services, please consider their unique learning needs as you adapt to a virtual classroom.  Even if you do not have a student who has a documented disability in your course, a virtual classroom environment may create learning challenges for students who may not have those challenges in a face-to-face environment.  COLRS has accessibility resources and a searchable accessibility blog that provides guidance on improving the accessibility of digital content.  For additional assistance in improving the accessibility of your virtual classroom, please contact the COLRS Campus Accessibility Specialist.

Step 5: Execute and share your plan with your students

As you finalize and execute your plan for teaching your course virtually, share those plans with your students.  Remind them how you intend to communicate with them, how they should communicate with you, and how quickly they should get a response from you. Let them know how you will share content with them.

Step 6: Seek additional help as needed

If you need additional assistance teaching your course virtually, please reach out!

Teaching Remotely Faculty Champions

The following faculty members have experience teaching online and have agreed to serve as a resource for colleagues as they move to teaching remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Kristi Barnwell, Associate Professor
History
kbarn2@uis.edu

Denise Bockmier-Sommers, Associate Professor
Human Services
dsomm2@uis.edu

Beverly Bunch, Professor
Public Administration
bbunc1@uis.edu

Sharon Graf, Associate Professor
Sociology/Anthropology
sgraf1@uis.edu

Stephanie Hedge, Assistant Professor
English and Modern Languages
shedg2@uis.edu

Tena Helton, Associate Professor
English and Modern Languages
thelt2@uis.edu

Meghan Kessler, Assistant Professor
Teacher Education
makessl2@uis.edu

Jennifer Martin, Assistant Professor
Teacher Education
jmart315@uis.edu

Sean McCandless, Assistant Professor
Public Administration
smcca8@uis.edu

Carolee Rigsbee, Assistant Professor
Management
crigs2@uis.edu

Pamela Salela, Associate Professor
Brookens Library
psale2@uis.edu

Tiffani Saunders, Lecturer
Sociology/Anthropology
tsaun2@uis.edu

Donna Rogers Skowronski, Instructor
Management
droge1@uis.edu

Karen Swan, Professor
Education Leadership
kswan4@uis.edu