Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Author: mgribbin

UPCEA Resources

UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. With our institutional membership to UPCEA, you have access to several resources that may be of interest to you including:

For questions on how to use your UPCEA membership, please contact COLRS.

Student Workload Estimator

Rice University has developed a nice workload estimator that you might consider using for your course. It is available at https://cte.rice.edu/workload.  

From the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice:  Somewhat surprisingly, there is very little research about the amount of time it takes the average college student to complete common academic tasks. We have self-reported estimates of how much total time they spend on academic work outside of class (12-15 hours), but we don’t know much about the quality and quantity of the work that is produced in that time frame (let alone how the time is allocated to different tasks). We also know quite a bit about how students tackle common academic tasks, but those studies rarely ask students to report on how long it takes them to complete the task (whether reading a book, writing a paper, or studying for an exam). The testing literature provides some clues (because valid instrument design depends on data about the average speed of test takers), but it’s tough to generalize from the experience of taking high-stakes, timed tests to the experience of working on an assignment in the comfort of your dorm. And while there is a sizable literature on reading, the nature and purpose of the reading tasks in these experiments are also quite different from what students typically encounter in college.

Examity Quick-Guide for Faculty

Download the UIS Examity Quick Guide for Faculty.

If you wish to use Examity as a proctoring choice in your class, please contact COLRS at colrs@uis.edu and provide your course department, number, and section. We will contact Examity and have them add your course. Your course must be published for it to be added to Examity.

1. Using Examity® with Canvas

You will access Examity® through Canvas. All of the data relevant to your exams will be imported automatically daily into Examity®, and Examity® will not change anything about the way you currently use Canvas.

Add Examity Link to Course

To use Examity in your class, you must first link to the Examity tool in your Canvas Modules page.

  1. Go to Modules.
  2. Click on the + (Add) button for a Module.
  3. In the “Add” drop down list, select “External Tool.”
  4. Click on “Examity Sign In” from the list of tools, and then check the box for “Load in new tab.”
  5. Click on “Add item” to add the Examity Sign In tool to your module.
Canvas External Tool

Access Canvas Dashboard

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To get to your Examity® Dashboard, click on the “Examity® Sign In” link. You will see a screen that says “click here to login”—by clicking that button, you log into Examity® with your Blackboard user infor­mation.

Once you click it, you will be taken directly to your Examity® Instructor Dashboard. You may be prompted to login as an Exam Instructor or Student.  Select Exam Instructor.

Please note: there may be a one-day delay in seeing your dashboard after enabling the Examity tool for your class, as the data link between Blackboard and Examity refreshes once per day.

2. Viewing the Examity® Dashboard

You can get to all four areas of Examity® from your dashboard by clicking on either the links at the top of the navigation bar or the icons you see when you log in.

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Clicking on the EXAM STATUS button will enable you to see the status of your students’ exams (scheduled, pending at auditor, approved/rejected by auditor, or cancelled/incomplete). This is the button to click if you want to review videos once they have been approved by our auditing team.

Clicking on STUDENT enables you to search for individual students.  If a student needs special accommodations for an exam, such as double time for the exam, that information may be entered here.

Clicking on the REPORTS button displays all the exams that are associated with you. You can filter by class, or student name, and download Excel and PDF versions of these reports to help you keep track of your students.

Clicking on COURSES/EXAMS takes you to a list of all your classes. You can edit courses here.

Please Note: The first time you visit Examity, you will need to set up your profile.  It is important for you to set up your correct time zone so that Examity knows from what time zone you are teaching.

3. Setting Up an Exam & Adding Customized Rules

The first step in setting up an exam with Examity is to make sure the exam is published in Canvas. The exam should also have a password. Exams that are published will be directly imported into our system.

Once an exam has been imported, you can enter the Examity dashboard and edit the settings of each course and exam by clicking the pencil icon under the “Action” tab. Click the arrow left of the course name to find and edit each exam for that course.

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The first part of the box asks you to fill in several items:

  • Exam Name: Midterm, Quiz 1, etc.
  • FairExam Level: this is the desired level of proctoring service required. Examity offers four levels of service.  As the instructor, you can select which level of service you want for your exam.
    • Level 0 – authenticate & record all tests
    • Level 1 – authenticate & record all tests, review a random sample of tests
    • Level 2 – authenticate & record all tests, review all tests
    • Level 3 – authenticate & record all tests, live proctor monitors & reviews all tests
  • Duration of the Exam: the length of time students get to complete the exam (1 hour)
  • Link to Access the Exam: In most cases, this will be bb.uis.edu
  • Exam Start Date: the first day in which the student can take the exam
  • Exam End Date: the last day in which the student can take the exam
  • Upload a File: If you need to provide your students with a document for their exam, such as a supplemental case study or a formula sheet, you may upload it here
  • Exam Password: If your Blackboard exam has a password, you may share the password with the proctor here.  He/she will enter the password for the student on Blackboard.
  • Extended Time/Special Accommodations: If you have a student who needs special accommodations for the exam, select Yes.  Please note: after setting up your exam, you will need to select the student(s) who needs special accommodations in the Student section of the Dashboard and enter the details of the student’s accommodation.
  • Student Upload File: If your students need to upload a file when they finish their exam, select yes.

The second part of the box establishes the rules for the exam environment. You can add special instructions here.

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Examity provides standard rules, as listed above.  To insert customized rules, such as the test is open book or that students are permitted to use a calculator, you may add them here by clicking the checkbox. Additional rules and special instructions may be inserted in the text box (click save after entering).  Click Save Exam to finalize the exam’s arrangements with Examity.

Once you have added an exam, you can see the arrangements and make changes by clicking on the arrow next to the course in your Courses/Exam section of your Examity Dashboard.

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Once an exam has been arranged with Examity, students may begin scheduling their exams directly with Examity.  A sample letter for faculty to send to students about the scheduling their exam with Examity can be found on the COLRS’ website at go.uis.edu/examityemail .

**Please note: Exams will be pulled in automatically within 24 hours once the “Make the Link Available” link in Blackboard is marked to yes.  To prevent students from seeing the exam before the exam date, set the Display After and Display Until dates for the testing period.

4. Tracking Exam Status

The Exam Status section of the Examity Dashboard allows instructors to view whether students have scheduled their exams and when those exams will take place.  If a student has completed an exam, the status of the exam will indicate what stage the exam is currently in (in progress, pending at auditor, approved by auditor).

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If the exam has been approved by the auditor, you will see at least two alert flags.

  • Green flags indicate no violations.  If a student is authenticated and completes the exam with no violations, he/she will have two green alert flags.
  • Yellow flags indicate possible violations.  These suggest that a violation of the rules has occurred, but the student was likely not cheating.  For example, if the students’ young child runs into the room during the exam session, the auditor will flag the violation with a yellow flag.
  • Red flags indicate violation. A violation of the exam rules has occurred. When a student receives a red flag violation, the instructor will also receive an e-mail about the incident.

Instructors can view details of the alerts and watch the exam video by clicking on the View link next to the students’ flag alerts.  Videos will remain available for 30 days, after which it is deleted from the Examity system.

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5. Reaching Examity Support

Support is available 24 hours a day.

Call: 1-(855)-392-6489 or 1-(855)-EXAMITY

Email: support@examity.com

Live Chat: Click the tab on the bottom of your screen

Group Norms: A Tool for Decreasing Online Group Conflict

Each member of an online group will have his or her own expectations of how the project should be completed and how it develops.  Students might find it worthwhile for their group to establish a set of norms, or common expectations, early in the group work so that each group member has a similar understanding of issues.  Some considerations include:

  • How will the group function?  Will someone serve as the group leader or will everyone be responsible for keeping the group moving forward?
  • When will the group meet?  Will the group meet asynchronously, synchronously or a combination?
  • What technology will the group use to support the decision making process of the group (e.g., E-mail, Canvas Group Tools, Zoom, Telephone Conference Calls)?
  • What technology will the group use to support the resource-sharing process of the group (e.g., using a collaboration tool like GoogleDocs, e-mailing resources as attachments, posting resources as attachments to the Canvas Group space, posting resources to a wiki)?
  • What technology will the group use to support the creation of the group paper (e.g., e-mailing versions of the paper as attachments, posting versions of the paper as attachments to the Canvas Group space, hosting the paper online using GoogleDocs)?
  • When will tasks be completed? Will the group stagger the completion of the various tasks or will it all be completed at once?
  • Who will complete various tasks?  Will individuals be assigned to different tasks or will the group work collectively on all tasks?

Instructors can encourage groups to develop these norms early in the group project by making it a required activity after the groups are formed.

Collaborative tools could be used for the members to collectively develop the norms.

Student Resources for Group Effectiveness

The following resources may be worth sharing with your students as they prepare to work as a member of an online group.  Please share others that you use as a comment.

Reducing Social Loafing in Group Work

One common problem groups experience among team members is the  “free-rider” or social-loafing team member.  Wikibooks identifies several causes of social loafing.  Some things faculty can do to reduce social loafing from occurring within a group include:

  • Create appropriate group sizes for the project.
  • Make individual contributions meaningful; create task interdependence among group members.
  • Promote the use of tools that capture individual contributions to make each student’s contributions more visible (e.g., Google Docs)
  • Encourage groups to have a progress-checker, to hold members accountable for contributions and to remind them of deadlines and expectations. 

Unfortunately, group conflicts sometimes aren’t revealed to the instructor until the end of the project. Encouraging or requiring progress reports or feedback from students at specific intervals may help you to identify trouble spots.

For semester-long projects, a mid-semester feedback form is useful. In “Online Groups and Social Loafing: Understanding Student-Group Interactions,” Piezon and Donaldson suggest including multiple evaluation points so that “group members are aware that their contributions are salient and being observed by others. Members who are performing poorly are given several opportunities to increase their performance.”

Another strategy is to prevent conflicts by keeping the groups on track and on task by requiring small deliverables for the project throughout the semester.

How to Contact Your Students Before the Semester Begins

With all the uncertainty that we all have for this Fall, our students definitely feel these stresses. One way that we can reduce this uncertainty is by contacting our students early to let them know what we are planning for our Fall classes. This includes whether or not there will be face-to-face sessions planned and/or synchronous online sessions via Zoom and dates/times if you have them already.

Even though our Canvas courses aren’t populated yet, you can get a list of student emails from Enterprise following the instructions below and contact them before they are added to your Canvas course. Students will be populated into Canvas on August 17. After this you can message them directly through Canvas. (More on this topic can be found in the COLRS Teaching Blog)

Instructions to access students enrolled in courses using Self-service (Enterprise): 

  1. Go to the Enterprise Self-Service system. (https://apps.uillinois.edu/selfservice/ )
  2. Click on UIS.
  3. Login with your UIS NetID and Password. 
  4. Click on the Faculty & Advisor Services tab across the top of the page.
  5. Click on the Faculty Services link.
  6. Click on Class List – Summary to view your class roster in a condensed format. 
  7. Click “Display E-mail Addresses” at the bottom of the page.

Using Messages within Canvas

By Layne Morsch, FDRO Faculty Associate

While email is one of the main modes of communication for most of us faculty, many of our students don’t regularly check their email no matter how much it is recommended. Canvas has a good solution with the Canvas Inbox. There are several reasons the Canvas Inbox is superior to regular email:

  • Students are used to having to check Canvas (LMS) for class information.
  • Students using the Canvas app get a notice when they have a new message.
  • Students can add a mobile number to receive text notifications.
  • Students can send emails to other students in class without having to share personal email addresses.
  • Faculty using the Canvas app get a notice when they have a new message.
  • It organizes all communications for each course and keeps them out of your email inbox (though you can choose to get an email each time you get a message in Canvas, or daily, weekly or no notifications).
  • Canvas Inbox is FERPA compliant.

View this post to learn how to send messages using the Canvas Inbox.

Measuring Student Learning Outcomes

Lucinda Parmer from Southeastern Oklahoma State University has provided Alternatives to the Traditional Exam as Measures of Student Learning Outcomes​.  The article proposes many alternative means of assessing students including:

  • Collaborative testing
  • Student Portfolios
  • Performance Tests
  • Summaries
  • Briefing Reports
  • Presentations
  • Reflective Papers
  • Student-Proposed Projects
  • Experiential-Learning Activities
  • Poster Sessions
  • Fact Sheets
  • Gamification and Game-Based Learning
  • Service-Learning


Blended Learning Resources

Blended Learning Toolkit from UCF

Blended Content and Assignments

Blended Interactions

Blended Course Implementation Checklist

Evaluation Framework for Blended Learning Courses

Implementation of a Blended Course

Evaluating Blended Learning: Bringing the Elements Together

EdX: Syllabus and Class Structure Guide for Blended Learning

Blended Learning Innovations: 10 Major Trends

iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework

HyFlex Model Resources

HyFlex Option for Instruction if Campuses Open This Fall

7 Things You Should Know About the HyFlex Course Model

Development Opportunities for Online, Blended & Remote Teaching

As you take a moment to reflect on your experiences teaching during the Spring 2020 semester, COLRS encourages faculty to discuss your teaching experiences and further develop your skills in teaching in an online or blended environment. Upcoming opportunities include: 

COLRS Workshops

Throughout the summer, COLRS will be offering workshops on Technology Tools for Remote Delivery, Blended Learning Best Practices, and HyFlex Teaching. Check the COLRS Workshop calendar for dates and Zoom connection links. These workshops are free and available to all UIS faculty and staff (full or part-time). 

Self-Paced Options

COLRS Building Digital Community Course on CanvasThis self-paced faculty development course meets the requirements of the Higher Learning Commission for required faculty training in online instruction​.  It consists of six modules: Foundations of Online Learning, Accessibility, Instructional Design, Learning Theories, Facilitating Online Learning, Putting it Together. This course is free and available to all UIS faculty and staff (full or part-time). COLRS Canvas Migration Resources on CanvasThis Canvas site is a central location for support, materials, and resources to help you migrate your course to Canvas.​ These resources are publicly available.

Illinois Online Network (ION) Course Options

ION offers several non-credit courses including Overview of Online Courses, Blended Learning Design & Instruction, Instructional Design, Student Assessment, and many more. See the ION schedule​ for all upcoming course offerings. These courses are free for UIS faculty and staff (use code DV412 during registration). 

For-Credit Course Offerings

UIS offers relevant for-credit courses.​ Please contact Human Resources for tuition reimbursement possibilities. 

EDL 515 – Online Teaching and Learning. ​This course will introduce students to online and blended teaching and learning. Major concepts and issues, research in the field, and emerging technologies are covered, as well as practical strategies for designing and teaching online, which students actually get to practice in the course.

EDL 555 – Foundation for Technology in the Curriculum​Basic technology skills and knowledge necessary for today’s education professionals. Computer operation, electronic communication, and computer applications with emphasis on the tools most applicable to the classroom setting. 

Accessibility Remediation Service

As we near the end of this semester, we are getting closer to moving our classes from Blackboard to Canvas.  From an accessibility standpoint this is a GREAT time to do several things.  The first is to clean up and remove any files from Blackboard that you don’t use anymore.  The second is to take the opportunity to make sure the files you are using are accessible.  To help with this, the digital accessibility remediation team of student workers will be working over the summer.  If you would like them to help make your files accessible please contact COLRS

Final Exam Preparation & Proctoring Options

If you rely on a paper-based final exam for your face-to-face courses, Blackboard can be used to administer your exam remotely. The COLRS blog has instructions on creating exams and posting exams in Blackboard. If your exam currently existing in Word or another software program, you’ll need to convert it into a Blackboard exam. Depending on the length of your exam, the simplest and fastest approach to convert your exam to Blackboard may be to copy and paste your questions from Word into a Blackboard test. Respondus can be used to convert more lengthy exams for Blackboard. Formatting an exam for Respondus can take time, so you’ll want to consider whether its use is worth the time to download and use it.  COLRS can help you determine which approach may be easier for your course.

As Provost Papini mentioned in his e-mail to faculty yesterday, UIS recommends two proctoring solutions for remote courses. The first solution is Respondus Monitor with LockDown Browser . Respondus Monitor is a fully- automated tool that uses a student’s webcam to record the exam session.  Suspicious testing behavior is automatically flagged by the software, and instructors are alerted to preview the alert flags. Respondus Monitor is free for faculty and students to use and it is integrated with Blackboard.  LockDown Browser must be used to use Respondus Monitor.  To use Respondus Monitor, follow the directions for preparing a test for LockDown browser.  After selecting Respondus LockDown browser,  also select the Respondus Monitor option. Students will be required to download and use LockDown browser for the exam. 

The second proctoring solution is Examity Online Proctoring. Through the student’s webcam, Examity uses live proctors to observe and record the exam session. There is a fee for students to use Examity. Unfortunately, Examity’s proctoring facility has been shutdown because of COVID-19. Presently, they expect to be closed for a couple more weeks. If you hope to use Examity, you must e-mail COLRS to let us know the course that will have a proctored exam. Examity provides us with weekly updates on when they expect live, online proctoring to resume. We are hoping they will be resuming live, online proctoring by finals week, but there is a chance that might not be the case.  In the event that live, online proctoring will not be available in time, COLRS will work with you to move to Respondus Monitor.

Reducing “Zoom Exhaustion”

As our classes and meetings turn to synchronous, online options, you may be finding yourself more exhausted than normal. We have heard from both faculty and staff that online, synchronous video conversations are more tiring than their face-to-face equivalents.  Dr. Steven Hickman, UC San Diego Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine & Public Health, provides these tips for managing Zoom exhaustion:

  • ​Before starting a Zoom session, take a few moments to settle and ground your attention. 
  • After starting the session, greet each new participant with your full attention.
  • Select Speaker View to focus on whoever is speaking at the time.
  • Reduce multitasking during the session.

Dr. Suzanne Degges-White, NIU Professor of Counseling and Higher Education, provides additional tips in reducing Zoom fatigue:

  • ​​​​Rather than always using your computer, occasionally use your phone to call into some Zoom sessions​
  • During Zoom sessions, consider taking notes on paper instead of on a computer
  • Schedule breaks between sessions

Despite the downside of Zoom exhaustion, COLRS staff appreciate having the ability to see and connect with UIS faculty and staff using Zoom during the last few weeks.  Although it does not replace the face-to-face connections that we miss, we hope that you are finding Zoom useful in connecting with your students and colleagues.

Online Learning Q&A Universal Design Part 1 b

Online Learning Q&A Universal Design Part II b

Q&A Universal Design Part III b

Reach Out to Your Students

Now that we have completed two weeks of remote teaching, it is the ideal time to have a “how’s it going” conversation with your students.  This personal outreach can be beneficial in seeing how each one of your students is adapting to their new learning environment and if they are experiencing any new personal, family, or work-related changes that may be impacting their learning.  While some students who are struggling will reach out to you on their own, others may not share any challenges they are experiencing until they are asked. 

Some faculty have found value in having a phone call or Zoom session with each student.  Others have reached out using a personalized e-mail to each student. No matter what your preference may be, you may consider asking your students questions such as:

  • How can I help you?
  • How are you adapting to the changes in your life? 
  • How are you adapting to the changes in our class?
  • Is my communication with the class working for you?
  • Have the videos or presentations I created been helpful?
  • Are you able to understand assignment instructions and due dates?
  • ​Is there something else I should know that is making learning hard for you at this time?

When reconnecting with your students, they may express issues or concerns that expand beyond your course. The Keep Learning – Guide to Remote Learning at UIS may direct you to campus resources that may be of assistance in helping them. ​​The Counseling Center can provide ​remote sessions for students. TeleHealth appointments can be requested from Health Services​. Other Student Affairs Offices and Centers can be reached via e-mail or via voice message.  

The Teacher-Scholar: Interdisciplinary Research on Remote Teaching

​​As emphasized as a value in the UIS Strategic Compass, the UIS community seeks to understand the world around us through the pursuit of scholarship that is challenging and significant.  In the past couple of weeks, COLRS has been approached by UIS faculty who would like to discuss research possibilities relating to the campus-wide transition to remote teaching. If you are interested in participating in an initial discussion ab​out potential project ideas, please e-mail colrs@uis.edu. In your e-mail, please share any immediate areas of interest that you would like to raise in the discussion. COLRS will coordinate the scheduling of a Zoom session in the upcoming weeks for those who show an interest.

Basic Accessibility Tips

If you already have a student with a documented disability with the Office of Disability Services, please consider their unique learning needs as you adapt to a virtual classroom.  However, twenty-five percent of the population has some form of physical, learning, or cognitive disability so you may have a student with a need and you are unaware of it.  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.

As you prepare your course for teaching remotely, here are some basic accessibility tips

  • If you have the choice between sharing a Word document and a PDF, choose Word.
  • If you have the choice between sharing a PowerPoint and a PDF, choose PowerPoint.
  • If you are creating new Word or PowerPoint files open the accessibility checker.  You can then see if there are any issues, see directions on how to correct the issues, and correct them as you go.
  • If you are creating a video, speak slowly and keep the video short.  Speaking slowly can improve the accuracy of the auto captioning in Kaltura.  Directions on how to correct Kaltura captions

For additional assistance in improving the accessibility of your virtual classroom, please contact the COLRS Campus Accessibility SpecialistThe Digital Accessibility Remediation Team is able to help you make your digital content accessible remotely.

Finally, UIS employees and students are able to download and use JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion for free on their home computer through June 30.  These products provide screen reading, screen magnification, and/or visual enhancement capabilities.​

Prevent Zoombombing in Your Classes

What is Zoombombing?

Zoombombing is a new form of Internet trolling in which a participant uses Zoom’s screensharing features to interrupt and disrupt meetings and classes.​  Many Zoom sessions, including several universities classes, have experienced Zoombombers this week.

How Can You Prevent Zoombombing in Your Classes?

You can use your meeting and host settings to prevent students from distracting other students in your class session, as well as preventing unwanted participants from joining your class session. Some suggestions include:

  • Schedule your Class Session through Blackboard – ​Faculty can create, schedule, and launch Zoom sessions from within Blackboard, and students can easily join those sessions without the link URL being shared.
  • Do​n’t Use Your Personal Meeting ID for Class Sessions – Your Personal Meeting ID is one continuous meeting that can be used by anyone who has access to it.  Scheduling your class session through Blackboard​ is more secure. 
  • Use a Password – You can require your students to enter a password to enter the meeting. 
  • ​Use the Zoom Waiting Room – The Waiting Room feature allows you to control when a participant joins the meeting. 
  • Remove Unwanted Participants – If an unwanted participant joins your Zoom session, you can remove them from the session by hovering over their name in Participants menu.  
  • Lock Your Meeting – Once your class is in session using Zoom, you can lock your meeting.  By locking your meeting, no additional participants are able to enter your class. (Keep in mind that this can be a disservice for students who experience connectivity challenges or other disruptions that prevented them from joining on time.)
  • Disable a Participant’s Video – ​Zoom hosts can disable unwanted or distracting videos of students.
  • Mute Participants – Zoom hosts can block unwanted, distracting, or inappropriate noises by muting individual or all students. You can also enable Mute Upon Entry in your Zoom settings.
  • Manage Screen Sharing – You can prevent students from screen sharing during a class session by using the host controls at the bottom of the meeting window.  Click the arrow next to Share Screen, then click Advanced Sharing Options. Choose Host Only under the Who can share? setting.
  • Disable Chat – Zoom has in-meeting chat, which allows students to message the entire class or specific individuals within the class privately. You can restrict students’ ability to chat with other individuals while your class is going on.  Keep in mind that preventing students from chatting with the entire class will prevent them from asking questions without using their microphone.​
  • Disable File Transfer – File transfer allows people to share files through the in-meeting chat​. If File Transfer is not needed for your class session, you can disable the File Transfer option in the Meeting tab. 
  • Disable Annotation – With Zoom’s annotation feature, students can mark up content during screen share. You can disable the annotation feature in your Zoom settings to prevent people from writing all over the screens.

Despite the possible challenges associated with Zoombombers, Zoom continues to be a valuable learning tool that allows your students to maintain a sense of connectivity with you and their classmates.  You don’t need to use all of these preventive measures.  Choose one or two that allows you to use the Zoom to meet the needs of your class.  If you need help talking about which feature might be the best in your particular class, please contact COLRS at colrs@uis.edu


UIS Zoom Resources:

ITS Zoom Support Page at UIS
Consideration for Using Zoom as a Remote Classroom​

COVID 19 Online Learning & Accessibility Concerns Q&A Part II

COVID 19 Online Learning & Accessibility Concerns Q&A, Part I

The Importance of Communication

As your students adjust to the many changes that are impacting their lives and education, lessening any uncertainty through your interactions and communications with them becomes ever important.  If you haven’t already reached out to your students, it is critical that you do so within the next few days.  These initial communications should orient your students to their new learning environment and any tools that will be used.  If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with where to start, the Quality Matters Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist​ provides useful tips and actionable strategies for adapting to these changes.  Some highlights from the checklist include:

  • ​​Provide explicit directions clearly identifying where students can find course components.
    • Ideas: compare the structure of the online version with the face-to-face version, identify where to go to get started
  • ​​Directly identify any relevant changes to any course and institutional policies.
    • Ideas: share changes to course schedule, due dates, and structure of assignments
  • Address communication and interaction expectations.
    • Ideas: share how should students contact you, how often students should log-on, guidelines for communicating with classmates, what technologies/tools they will need, and days when students should log-on for synchronous activities during your scheduled class time (if applicable)
  • Tell learners what to expect from you and when to expect it.
    • Ideas: share how quickly you will respond to emailed questions, how quickly students should expect assignment grades to be provided
  • ​Provide instructions on how learners can access their grades.
    • ​Ideas: share how students can view grades and feedback, share rubrics that you might use
  • Remind students of academic and student services support available to them.

COLRS continues to be available when you need us.  Don’t forget that the Teaching Remotely Faculty Champions are also willing to help with questions you may have.  And when ​you need a short break, check out the “I Will Survive, Coronavirus version for teachers going online.”

Remote Teaching Tip – Test Integrity Solutions

We understand that test integrity is critical.  We offer these suggestions for considering testing options. 

1. Instead of a test, you might consider alternative assessments such as a project, paper, or other type of assessment.  Vanderbilt University has a nice website on Classroom Assessment Techniques that you might find helpful as you think through your curriculum.  COLRS staff is also available to assist in thinking about alternative assessments for your courses.

2. Respondus Monitor is a good solution for low-stakes tests.  UIS has a contract with Respondus that includes both Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor, a fully-automated proctoring solution for online tests that builds on Respondus LockDown Browser.  This option does not cost the student any additional fees.  When possible, please use this option to improve affordability for our students.  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 and then select the Respondus Monitor option.

3. Examity is the preferred solution for all high-stakes tests.  Remember that students pay an extra fee based on the level of proctoring that you, the faculty member, choose.  This may cause hardships for students who may be effected significantly through loss of work or dealing with healthcare issues because of COVID-19.  You should always share the cost of Examity which ranges from $10 – $17 per hour with your students so that they are never surprised by being asked to provide a credit or debit card for a test proctoringRespondus Monitor is free to use for students. 

As we move forward in responding to this difficult and challenging time, please remember that COLRS staff will do everything we can to assist you in the important and very difficult work that you are all undertaking to finish this semester.  

Continuation of Brookens Library Services

Our friends at the Brookens Library, share the following message with UIS faculty.

In these unprecedented times and in an ever-evolving situation, faculty and staff of Brookens Library are available to provide remote services for you and your students. Library Faculty are available to assist you in finding materials that can be accessed online at no cost to your students.

  • Open Educational Resources (OER) are being recommended as a resource for your classes as access to these materials are free to use, or adapt and customize. Consult our OER guide or contact library faculty for assistance. Scholarly EBook collections that we have purchased or subscribe to that are research and discipline related, are accessible online and can be used  for classes and coursework. Leisure books for relaxing or entertainment can be searched and read through the Cloud Library Collection.
  • A new streaming media guide with links to our video resources that we currently subscribe to, as well as materials that vendors are providing free at this time.
  • If you currently have materials checked out from our library or any of the I-Share libraries, IGNORE DUE DATES! If you can no longer renew materials online, keep them anyway. The CARLI consortia libraries are working together to serve our patrons across Illinois. Many I-Share libraries that are usually open to patrons from I-Share member libraries are closed due to spring breaks or in response to the virus so please check their web sites or call ahead before visiting any libraries.
  • A new COVID-19 guide has been created to keep all pertinent Library information together in one place to best serve faculty and patrons.
  • Instant messaging chat services are being offered as many library faculty will be working remotely and not in their offices. You can also email library staff as needed for assistance. Contact the Library’s Main Desk at 217.206.6605

Discipline-Specific Resources for Teaching Remotely

In response to COVID-19, the larger educational community has been active in curating virtual resources for educators needing to quickly convert on-ground courses to alternative formats. As COLRS discovers resources that may be useful, we will share them here in this blog post.

Humanities

Digital Humanities from MLA

Multiple Disciplines

Merlot Materials (can be filtered by discipline)

Math

Interactive Simulations for Science and Math

Sciences

A spreadsheet of online resources organized by science subject (curated at large)

Merlot Collection of Virtual Labs

A link to a document of online animations, videos, simulations, & demos (curated by Chemistry Professor at the University of Miami Ohio)

LabXchange Foundational Concepts and Techniques in Biotechnology

Interactive Simulations for Science and Math

Online Lab Toolkit (Office of Digital Learning at Penn State University)

Theatre

Digital Theatre+ Access Resources for Remote Learning

Teaching Theatre Online: A Shift in Pedagogy Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak

L.A. Theatre Works Offering 25 Audio Recordings of Stage Plays for Educators

Respondus Monitor

Respondus Monitor is a new tool available to faculty at UIS who want to enhance the integrity of low-stakes exams in online classes.  While Examity remains the recommended option for high-stakes exams like midterms and final exams because of its ability to provide live, real-time proctoring, Respondus Monitor is a good option for faculty members who want to improve the integrity of low-stakes exams like weekly quizzes.

It uses a student’s webcam to record the testing environment.  Suspicious testing behavior is automatically flagged by the software, and instructors are alerted to preview the alert flags.  Respondus Monitor is free for faculty and students to use and it is integrated with Blackboard.  Respondus LockDown Browser must be used to use Respondus Monitor.  To use Respondus Monitor, follow the directions for using Respondus LockDown browser.  After selecting Respondus LockDown browser,  also select the Respondus Monitor option.

To learn more about how to protect the integrity of low-stakes online exams, please visit Respondus Monitor’s Instructor Resources website.

 

Teaching Tips from UIS Faculty

Experienced UIS Faculty shared their teaching experiences as part of the 2017 Faculty Teaching & Learning Academy at UIS.  This program was administered by the Provost’s Office at UIS.

 

Tips to Reduce & Detect Violations of Academic Integrity

Design with Integrity in Mind

  • Include academic integrity statement in course syllabus
  • Alternate assessments from term to term or class to class
  • Set up discussion board to prevent viewing of classmates’ posts before posting
  • Write test questions and activities for unique responses
  • Test settings (randomize, question pools, time limits, display questions one at a time, limit question feedback)
  • Create scaffolded assignments
  • Require presentations as part of an assignment

Plagiarism: Not citing sources, not using quotation marks

  • Turnitin can be used 
  • Use is not limited to papers – Can be used for discussion boards, essay exam questions, etc.

Reusing: Submitting the same work for more than one course

  • As more faculty at UIS use Turnitin, this can be more easily detected
  • Turnitin identifies course and semester, access to paper can be requested by original instructor

Cheating During Remote Exams

  • Respondus LockDown Browser can help, but can be easily circumvented!
  • Proctoring centers can be used, but are all of your online students getting equal testing environments?
    • Not all proctors treat proctoring equally!
  • Examity can be used to strengthen test integrity

Authenticity: Having another student take your exam for you

  • How are we ensuring that the student is the one completing the exam?
  • How are we authenticating our online students?
  • Examity can be used to provide two-factor authentication
  • Ask students to agree to an academic integrity statement before beginning a test or submitting an assignment:

“I verify I am the only one taking the exam and that no one is helping me physically or electronically. I won’t copy the exam in whole or in part. I will refrain from discussing this exam with anyone until after the due date. I will adhere to the academic integrity policy.”

Academic Integrity at UIS

Using JAWS Screen Reader with Canvas

Canvas is designed to be accessible. Learn more about Canvas and  accessibility, including for screen reader users.

Canvas officially supports the following screen reader and browser combinations:

  • Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari)
  • PC: JAWS (latest version for Firefox)
  • PC: NVDA (latest version for Firefox)
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome

Canvas Navigation with a Screen Reader

Canvas makes extensive use of ARIA landmark regions. Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) defines ways to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. Therefore, the best way to get around in Canvas is to navigate via regions. Within regions, Canvas uses HTML headings, so navigating between headings can be helpful.

When using a screen reader, the Canvas page navigation menu is as follows:

  1. Main navigation
  2. Context navigation
  3. Breadcrumbs navigation
  4. Main region
  5. Complimentary information
  6. Content information

If you are a JAWS user and need additional assistance, please contact the UIS Office of Disability Services.

UIS Disability Statement for Syllabus

As of Fall 2015, the following disability statement should be used on UIS syllabi:

If you are a student with a documented temporary or ongoing disability in need of academic accommodations, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 217-206-6666.

Disabilities may include, but are not limited to: Psychological, Health, Learning, Sensory, Mobility, ADHD, TBI and Asperger’s syndrome.  In some cases, accommodations are also available for shorter term disabling conditions such as severe medical situations.  Accommodations are based upon underlying medical and cognitive conditions and may include, but are not limited to: extended time for tests and quizzes, distraction free environment for tests and quizzes, a note taker, interpreter and FM devices.

Students who have made a request for an academic accommodation that has been reviewed and approved by the ODS will receive an accommodation letter which should be provided by the student to the instructor as soon as possible, preferably in the first week of class.

For assistance in seeking academic accommodations, please contact the UIS Office of Disability Services (ODS) in the Human Resources Building, Room 80, phone number 217-206-6666.

File Storage Options at UIS

Where’s the best place to store your class files, research projects, and other important documents?  You have many file storage options, including Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Kaltura.  ITS has created a useful matrix comparing the benefits and limits of each data storage service available at UIS.

Additional information can be found on their website.

 

2014 Innovating Pedagogy Report

The annual Innovating Pedagogy report explores new forms of teaching, learning and assessment for an interactive world, to guide teachers and policy makers in productive innovation.

Produced by the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, the report identifies ten educational terms, theories and practices that have the potential to provoke major shifts in educational practice in the near future.

Featured in 2014’s annual report:

  1. Massive open social learning
  2. Learning design informed by analytics
  3. Flipped classrooms
  4. Bring your own devices
  5. Learning to learn
  6. Dynamic assessment
  7. Event-based learning
  8. Learning through storytelling
  9. Threshold concepts
  10. Bricolage

The report can be downloaded at: http://www.openuniversity.edu/sites/www.openuniversity.edu/files/The_Open_University_Innovating_Pedagogy_2014_0.pdf

Examity Online Video Proctoring – Quick Guide for Students

Download the UIS Examity Quick Guide for Students.

1. Accessing Examity

You can access Examity® through your course on Canvas. Click on the Examity link within the course.

Click to login to Examity.

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This will take you to your Examity dashboard.

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From here you can edit your profile, schedule exams, and make changes if you need to cancel or change a test time. Most importantly, this is where you’ll go to start your exams.

2. Getting Started

Setting Up Your Profile: To get started, update your Examity® profile by clicking in the My Profile section of the Dashboard. You will need to upload a picture of your UIS Student ID or a government issued photo ID, select your time zone, and set your security questions.

Please note the importance of selecting the correct time zone.  This will be used in scheduling your test with the proctoring center.  You can confirm your selected time zone by looking at the time in the upper right hand corner.

Once you have set up your profile, you can bypass this step for future exams.

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Scheduling Your Exam: When you are ready to schedule an exam, click “Schedule Exam” on your dashboard or on the top navigation bar.

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You will see a calendar. If you are scheduling your test more than 24 hours in advance, you can just select the date and time you want. If you are scheduling it less than 24 hours in advance, make sure the on-demand scheduling option is enabled in the top right-hand side of the screen.

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Paying for Exam Proctoring:  You will pay for your exam proctoring session at the time you schedule the exam.  Rates for the proctoring session vary based on the length of the exam and the level of proctoring service selected by the instructor.  Additional fees apply if you use on-demand scheduling (exam occurs within 24 hours). 

Rescheduling or Canceling Your Exam: If you need to change or cancel your test appointment, click Reschedule/Cancel, and select the exam you want to change from the menu that appears.

3. Taking Your Exam

To take your exam, make sure you have your webcam and microphone set-up on your computer.  Sign into Canvas, then your class.  Return to the Examity® Dashboard by clicking on the Examity sign-on link within your class.

Click to login to Examity.

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This will take you to your Examity dashboard.

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Once on the Examity dashboard, click “Begin Scheduled Exam”, and select your exam. You will then be connected to your proctor. Note: MAKE SURE YOUR POP-UP BLOCKER IS DISABLED otherwise you will not be able to connect with your proctor!

Your proctor will walk you through the test authentication process, which will include verifying your identity, going over the exam rules, scanning your work area and desk, answering your security questions, and agreeing to the User Agreement.

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examity8

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Once you have finished the authentication process, you will see a screen that says “Begin Exam”, and your exam will open. If your test is password protected, your proctor will tell you the password when the prompt to enter it appears.

4.  Reaching Examity Support. 

Support is available 24 hours a day.

  • Call: 1 (855) EXAMITY or 1 (855) 392-6489
  • Email: support@examity.com
  • Live Chat: Click the tab on the bottom of your screen

Mobile Learning

SlideShare Presentation: Online and on the move 

BLACKBOARD

MOBILE POLLING SITES

TWITTER IN THE CLASSROOM

ELECTRONIC TEXTBOOKS

INFOGRAPHICS
LECTURE CAPTURING
EMBEDDING DOCUMENTS
SYNCHRONOUS COLLABORATION

Strategies for Increasing Course Evaluation Response Rates

The Timing – A barrier for course evaluation completion is timing the evaluation close to finals (Cottreau & Hatfield 2001).  At UIS, course evaluations become available three weeks prior to the end of the semester.  Thus, begin asking for feedback earlier in the semester!

You might be concerned that that timing may be too early to get accurate feedback from students, as not all activities and assignments have yet been completed.  Research has shown, however, that the results of course evaluations completed earlier in a course are highly correlated with results of course evaluations completed finals week or after (McNulty et al. 2010).  Not only do you increase the likelihood of having a higher response rate, students completing evaluations earlier provided more qualitative feedback than students completing evaluations later (McNulty et al. 2010).  At UIS, these additional (write-in) comments are provided only to the instructor and are not added to the instructor’s faculty file.

The Frequency – For online course evaluations, post announcements as many times and in as many places as you can:

  • Post the link in your syllabus.
  • Create a specific announcement about the evaluation.

Sample Announcement – Course evaluations are open online. These are very important in improving the quality of classes at UIS. They also are an important instrument used in the promotion and tenure process for faculty members. Please take a few moments to fill out the evaluations for this class and any others you may be taking that have online evaluations: https://uisapp-s.uis.edu/courseevals/login.aspx. These evaluations are available only through Saturday, May 4.Faculty members do not see the results of course evaluations until after final grades are submitted for the term. Thanks for taking the time to fill them out!

  • Include the link to the evaluation in emails and announcements until the end date (And remember the course evaluation is available at x until x date).
  • Add as an item to the course calendar

Tell Students Why It’s Important – Remind students why course evalutions are important at UIS and remind them that you cannot see the feedback until after final grades are due and that it will not impact their grade in any way.  Students are more likely to respond if they knew how their evaluations will be used and what decisions their responses will influence (Kidd & Latif 2003, Anderson et al. 2005; Cottreau & Hatfield 2001; Hatfield & Coyle 2013).  The largest factor for not completing evaluations is that students believe the evaluations will not result in change or would not benefit them (Hatfield & Coyle 2013).

The Method – For on-campus classes at UIS, faculty have the choice of having online or in-class evaluations.  Research is mixed on whether online or paper evaluations result in higher response rate, as shown below:  

  • Compared with paper surveys, online evaluations have been associated with increased response rates (Barnett & Matthews 2009; Anderson et al. 2005; Thorpe 2002; Hatfield & Coyle 2013).  
  • Online ratings produce a lower response rate than in-class ratings (Avery, Bryant, Mathios, Kang, & Bell, 2006; Benton, Webster, Gross, & Pallett, 2010 ; IDEA, 2011; Nulti, 2008).

Your class’s typical attendance rate should be considered when deciding whether the in-class or online evaluation will be more effective. 

Why are Course Evaluations Important at UIS?

Goal #1 of the UIS Strategic Plan states that “UIS will achieve academic excellence through excellence in teaching and learning and excellence in scholarship.”  Action Step #4 of the UIS Strategic Plan states that UIS will “Improve the assessment of learning outcomes and of teaching; use aggregated information from course evaluations to inform faculty development programming:  a) Establish and fund a program to support improvements in the assessment of learning outcomes and program review.  b) Adopt a new course evaluation instrument.  c) Implement a multidimensional approach to teaching evaluation.  d) Use the data from the improved teaching evaluation approach as the basis for issues addressed in faculty development programs.”

Presently, course evaluations are used for retention and promotion decisions and for course improvement.  Completion of student course evaluations is imperative in evaluating curricular trends and teaching effectiveness, particularly if no other assessment methods are performed (Hatfield & Coyle 2013).

Research suggestions that student ratings of courses and faculty are a reliable and useful method of evaluating teaching and course effectiveness (Kidd & Latif 2003).  In fact, student evaluations are as reliable as peer evaluations, provided that response rates are good (Paulsen 2002).  However, course evaluations should be used in conjunction with other evaluation tools, such as the peer evaluation and a teaching portfolio, when evaluating the effectiveness of an instructor.  Research has found that faculty members receiving the best evaluations are not always the most effective teachers according to students (Surratt & Desselle 2007).  The Dr. Fox Effect, as seen in the following video, suggests that a highly expressive presenter can earn high evaluations even when the content presented is nonsensical.

Accessing Moodle at UIS

UIS maintains an instance of Moodle for faculty and staff use at https://uistraining1.uis.edu/login/index.php

If you have a UIS NetID, you may access the Moodle site by click on the “Continue” button on the right side of the Moodle home page.

If you are a guest user of the Moodle system, your UIS contact will send you instructions for accessing the site.

What is Respondus LockDown Browser?

Respondus LockDown Browser is a customized browser that increases the security and integrity of online testing in Canvas.  Learn more  about Respondus LockDown Browser.

Horizon Report

Each year the New Media Consortium (NMC) and Educause Learning Initiative (ELI) publish the Horizon Report, a look ahead at technologies that will impact education in the next one, three, and five years.

The report “charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning and creative expression” based on interactions with “technology professionals, campus technologists, faculty leaders from colleges and universities, and representatives of leading corporations” (from Horizon Project).

More Information

Best Practices for Synchronous Sessions

Carefully Organize Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure to create an outline for your session.
  • What topics do you want to cover?
  • What materials will you need to share?
  • What questions will you ask?

Connecting to Your Synchronous Session

  • Make sure you are using a high speed Internet connection. Audio and video sharing requires a stable, higher-bandwidth connection that some wireless networks aren’t capable of supplying.
  • Join the live session before the scheduled start time.
  • Conduct an audio check.

Synchronous Session Best Practices

  • Offer Students Options – Consider making the synchronous sessions optional or offering several sessions from which your students may choose.  Requiring synchronous sessions reduces the flexibility that appeals to, and is often necessary for the schedules of, many online students. They will appreciate your extra efforts in schedule accommodations.
  • Inform Your Students – Send an email or post information in Blackboard for your students explaining the technology and how they will use it.
  • Schedule a Trial Run – Test your web conferencing tool first, if possible, with someone who can log in from a different location as a “test audience.”  Then you can run through your materials early, checking that everything loads properly.
  • Use the Moderator Override Functions – Learn how to use moderator override functions, such as turning students’ mics down.
  • Mention Student Names – Use students’ names as frequently as possible. It grabs their attention and makes the online environment feel more personal.
  • Use Emoticons – Learn to use emoticons to substitute for facial expressions, and learn to interpret your students’ virtual facial expressions.
  • Get Comfortable with Instant Messaging – Learn to monitor the instant messaging feature while you, a guest speaker, or other students are using microphones. This ensures participants without microphones can fully participate.
  • Record Sessions – Recording your sessions allows students who could not attend to listen to the recorded session presentation.
  • Solicit Feedback – Ask for feedback from your students to help you improve content and delivery for your next course by using the polling feature

What is Synchronous Learning?

Synchronous learning employs a software that provides a way for a groups to meet online, at the same time, and verbally communicate with each other. It allows for real-time learning and collaboration. Not only can participants communicate with each other, but they can also push content to the rest of the audience, such as a presentation or a web page. Additionally, class meetings should be recorded for students unable to attend the meeting or for future use.

Ideas

  • Group Discussions
  • Debates
  • Instructor Lectures
  • Faculty and Student Presentations
  • Virtual Advising
  • Guest Speakers

Synchronous Learning Tools @ UIS

Microsoft Lync

Google+ Hangouts through the UIS Google Apps for Education

Copying Content from Another Instructor’s Course Site

If you are a new instructor and need to have materials copied from another instructor’s course site, you will need to have instructor permissions in both sites. Please contact your department chair and/or the previous instructor for permissions. Once you have instructor-level access to the course site, you may copy the materials into your empty Blackboard course site.

Canvas Course Sites for Tutorials, Projects, & Other Needs

Canvas course sites are not automatically created for tutorials or graduate projects. If you would like a Canvas course site for one-on-one work with a student, please contact COLRS.  If applicable, please provide the course name and course number.

Canvas course sites can also be created for department uses, campus committees, and campus organizations.  UIS faculty or staff members can contact COLRS to make a request.

Gold Courses

A Gold Course is special type of course site that is named “GOLD – Name of your course” and is identified with a “999” prefix.  A Gold Course is never deleted and is backed up daily.

How do I use a Gold Course?

  • Gold Courses can be used to develop and update your course content.  Editing your content in a Gold Course rather than a teaching course site preserves your student’s work in case of grade challenges.
  • Gold Courses are ‘clean’ versions of your courses.  Students are never enrolled and you will never teach within a Gold Course.
  • Gold Courses can be copied into the empty Blackboard course sites that are created for your course sections each semester.
  • Hint: Make your content unavailable (hidden from students) in your Gold Course. When you copy to your course shells (empty Blackboard site for the semester), you simply have to release it.

How do I get a Gold course?

Contact COLRS to request the creation of a Gold Course. We will need to know the name, department, course number of the course (CHE 301 or ART 441).  Also, if you would like an existing course copied into your Gold Course’s shell, please let us know the semester and section of the originating course.

One Gold Course may be requested for each course format you teach: 8-week, 16-week, online, blended, and on-ground.

Voicethread

Voicethread is a Web 2.0 tool for conversations around media — images, documents/powerpoint slides, and videos. Students and faculty can make comments using video (from a web cam), audio (upload audio file or phone in comments), or text (typing).

Ideas for Use

  • Icebreakers
  • Interactive lectures
  • Student presentations with authentic peer assessment
  • Group and personal reflections

How to Access

VoiceThread is free for K-12 educators, but not for higher education. Pricing is based on who needs to create and how often.  COLRS purchased a small number of licenses for Voicethread to explore the technology. If you are interested in trying this technology in your class, please experiment with a free account which allows you to create three Voicethreads for free. If you find you use Voicethread heavily, please contact us for a full license.

Helpful Hints

More Information

Turnitin Plagiarism Detection

The Internet has perpetuated the age old problem of plagiarism. Turnitin can assist faculty in detecting and preventing plagiarism. It is also an excellent assignment collection, grading, and feedback tool, and can be used as an online collaborative learning tool where students can get feedback from their classmates.

View a video overview of Turnitin.

The Turnitin database includes:

  • Over 10 Billion Web Pages Crawled & Archived
  • Over 70 Million Student Papers
  • Over 10,000 Major Newspapers, Magazines & Scholarly Journals
  • Thousands Of Books Including Literary Classics
  • Printable Reports
  • Side-By-Side Comparison

Turnitin provides the ability for faculty to:

  • Quickly and conveniently identify how much material in a student’s paper is available on the Internet.
  • Deter students who may otherwise be tempted to use sources inappropriately.
  • Address the issue of proper citation of sources in a paper.
  • Pick up tips for writing assignments that discourage plagiarism and encourage independent thought.
  • Find handouts for students on plagiarism, proper citation, and writing and research skills

Ideas for Using Turnitin

  • Peer-to-Peer Paper Review’s
  • Electronic Writing Portfolio’s
  • Online Commenting
  • Multiple Rubric Grading

How to Access

Turnitin is an available tool within Blackboard.  The ‘Turnitin Assignments’ link can be found under the Course Tools section of the Control Panel.  If that link is not there, you will need to add the Turnitin tool to your course by clicking on ‘Tool Availability’ under the Customization section of the Control Panel.

Turnitin Resources

Other Resources

A Template for Feedback

A publication by Virginia Commonwealth University provides 7 Steps for Providing Constructive Online Discussion Feedback Successfully.  Their suggested template for feedback includes:
  1. Start with something positive – “You did very well in this week’s discussion.”
  2. State the grade and reason right away – “This week you earned 20/25 points.”
  3. State the correction as a reminder or recommendation – “Remember, five postings are needed for full participation points.”
  4. Provide an example or tip to reach the goal – “Here’s an example of a solution that earned full points.”
  5. State your expectation – “In the upcoming weeks, I will be looking for….”
  6. Remind them of available help – “Your success is important to me, so please email me when you have questions.”
  7. End with something motivational – “This was a tough assignment, but you did well overall.”
The complete article can be found here.

Students’ Expectations Regarding Feedback

Journal of Educators Online study of online graduate students looking at what should be included in effective feedback and how should effective feedback be provided to students found five themes of effective instructor feedback:

Themes of Effective Instructor Feedback

Theme

Summary

Student Involvement and Individuation Effective feedback is a mutual process involving both student and instructor.

  • Feedback should include personalized messages & examples that reflect the student’s contributions
  • Feedback should be private
Being Positively Constructive Effective feedback provides constructive guidance that builds confidence.

  • Feedback should be positive, encouraging & friendly
  • Feedback should provide suggestions for improvement
Gentle Guidance Effective feedback guides through explicit expectations and ongoing coaching.

  • Feedback should create structure & guidance
  • Feedback should provide clear ground rules & state expectations
Timeliness Timelines for effective feedback are mutually established and met.

  • Feedback should be prompt
  • Instructor should set expectations on time frame for feedback & announce if time frame will not be met
Future Orientation Effective feedback is applicable to future situations.

  • Feedback should guide students on how to improve for future class activities

Advantages of Online Group Work

Online group work provides several advantages to students.  Two major advantages include:

1.  Increased socialization and connectivity with classmates.  Some activities that could help groups become more connected include posting pictures, sharing details about themselves (e.g., work experiences, hobbies), and starting a discussion board to discuss non-classroom topics (e.g., current events, items of interest).

2.  An opportunity to develop and practice group and team skills, including problem-solving, project management, and asynchronous and synchronous communication.

What other advantages does online group work provide your students?