Instructional Continuity

Instructional Continuity Using Digital Learning Tools

This document is intended to be a resource for faculty to continue instruction using digital learning tools in the event of a University-wide emergency closing. The document will outline tools for effectively delivering synchronous (specified time) and asynchronous (no specified time or date) lectures, leading discussions, assigning tasks, and administering exams.

If you plan on using these tools and methods for instructional continuity in case of an emergency, it is crucial that you communicate with your students, clearly defining what is expected of them as soon as possible. The instructional staff is also available to help you review the tools, find the best usage in the context of your course, and assist in the successful implementation of your instructional continuity plan.

Lectures
Asynchronous lectures

Tool(s) Recommended:

Use case:

  • TechSmith Relay will enable you to record what is happening on your screen. This is ideal if your students need to follow along as you go through a presentation, webpage, document, work out an equation (using a tablet or drawing tablet), or write out a piece of code.

Best practices:

  • If you are unsure of whether your students will have internet access at a specific time, an asynchronous lecture recording is ideal because they can consume it any time.
  • Create “micro” lectures: examine what you need to cover and break it down into subtopics. Record each individual subtopic as an independent video. Ideally, each video you create should not exceed 10 minutes.
  • This is ideal for complex concepts and assignments as students can go back and review the videos until they understand the material presented.
  • Post what you’ve created in Moodle by adding a URL Resource.
    • When adding this, you can choose to “Embed” it so it appears directly within Moodle.
  • Include an assessment (which can be an assignment, discussion forum, or quiz/exam; see below for notes) to see if students have watched and understood the key concepts outlined during this lecture.
  • Add activity competition to the assessment so that it only unlocks once the student has looked at the lecture URL.

Synchronous lectures

Tool(s) Recommended:

Use case:

  • WebEx is a video conferencing tool that allows your students to participate and collaborate with you in a live synchronous session. In WebEx, you can share your screen (which may have a presentation, document, application, or etc) or write on a whiteboard (for working out equations or drawing out diagrams) with your students. Additionally, you can enable your webcam and microphone so that students can see and hear you as you lecture.

Best practices:

  • Start a Doodle with your students to see what time suits most of them for a live synchronous session
  • Communicate with your students through Moodle to find the best time for availability
  • Once a time is decided, send out clear instructions on when the session will take place and how students can access it (providing a link), as well as providing them with the tutorial for participating in a session
    • If you want them to speak using their mic to ask your questions, or expect them to participate during the lecture, it is important to clearly define that when you send out instructions; this way, if a student does not have a microphone or webcam, they can let you know ahead of time
  • Record the lecture so that it can be made available for students for later review (or made available to those who could not come during the specific time)

Discussions (text based)

Asynchronous discussions

Tool(s) Recommended:

Use case:

  • Moodle Forums is an ideal tool if you have a complex set of questions to present to your students and want them to problem solve with their peers using the discussion threads

Best practices:

  • Present questions that are dynamic and can have multiple answers or pathways to achieving an answer
  • Outline when students must have an individual post completed by
  • Identify when students must reply to peers by
  • Specify what they need to do in order to create what you would consider a good individual post and peer reply
  • Ask students to pose questions to one another

Assignments and Activities

Tool(s) Recommended:

Use case:

  • Moodle Assignments are ideal if you want your students to follow a set of directions and upload or type in something to represent that they have executed the task. This can be anything from writing a paper, handwriting a solution to a problem and uploading a picture of the document, recording a video on TechSmith Relay to a presentation and uploading a link to that presentation, and etc.
  • TurnItIn Assignments is a tool made specifically to detect plagiarism; therefore, this tool is ideal for assigning an assignment that requires students to write a research paper or do creative writing as the tool would help you (and the student, depending on the settings selected) recognize where plagiarism is present.
  • Google Drive is a collaborative cloud space for students to interact with you and their peers. This tool can be used for individual work, but is a great tool for student group assignments; students can create documents or presentations together using Drive, all on the cloud, so everything they contribute will appear live to their peers; therefore, this tool can be used as a synchronous and asynchronous collaboration tool. It also enables you to review the history of contributions and changes made by each individual student.

Best practices:

  • Be specific and clear in the assignment directions
    • For example, if you are uploading a few articles for the students to read and analyze, explain what concepts they should explain in their analysis and define what is sufficient
  • Create (and provide students with) a rubric outlining how students will be evaluated
  • For Google Drive: create a folder and share the folder with your students to edit (by adding their emails); copy the link to the folder and add it to Moodle so students can easily access it
  • Give students specific directions for the presentation or document they have to create; you can create a document in the shared folder with the directions for the assignment

Exams and quizzes

Tool(s) Recommended:

Use case:

  • Moodle Quizzes allow you to create question banks and populate your quiz with items from the question banks you created

Best practices:

  • Choose the setting to shuffle the order of the questions
  • Set time and attempt limits, if appropriate:
    • If you simply want students to investigate the questions by looking through resources provided, and answer them as they study, you may not want to set a time or attempt limit as this would not be a high-stakes quiz or exam; this is ideal if you are creating a review or open-book quiz or exam
    • If this will be a significant portion of student grades and it is important that students are not looking at other materials while taking this quiz or exam, it is ideal to set a tight time-limit and only allow one attempt
  • Create large question banks so that each student gets a different set of questions
  • Use this to assess whether students grasps the concepts presented in lecture materials or assigned readings
Last Updated: June 29, 2017