Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Category: Emergency Remote Teaching

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 Vance Martin vmart02s@uis.edu

Authentic Assessment

Remote Teaching Tip: Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessments require students to apply concepts they have learned to real world situations by having them complete meaningful task-based assessments. This type of assessment engages a variety of skills, and measures higher levels of learning than traditional assessments. Authentic assessment helps students practice creative thinking and problem-solving, and allows for multiple paths to demonstrate knowledge.

Most authentic assessments involve complex questions and tasks that do not have straightforward solutions; students must research, brainstorm, practice, draft, and refine solutions in order to complete the assignment.

Examples of authentic assessments you can use in online learning environment include:

  • Peer Review
  • Self-Assessment
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Online Journaling
  • Interpretation of charts/graphs
  • Have students design assessments
  • Require answer justification (why is the answer correct?)
  • Peer evaluation of reflections/essays
  • Experimental interpretation- analysis of research based findings

For more reading on authentic assessment:

Inside Higher Ed: Q&A Toward Better Assessments in Online Courses

Authentic Assessment in the Online Classroom

IU Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning: Authentic Assessment

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.

Discussion Board Best Practices

For the next couple of weeks, COLRS will be sending out a Teaching Remotely Tip of the Day that comes from the most frequently asked questions by faculty.  All Remote Teaching Tips are archived on the COLRS blog. The Teaching Remotely at UIS website is another starting point for faculty who are converting their courses to alternative formats.  This week, open Office Hours will be hosted by COLRS staff daily at 10 am for faculty to ask pedagogy-related questions.  In addition, you may call COLRS at 217-206-7317 or e-mail colrs@uis.edu to schedule a one-to-one meeting with any COLRS staff member.  

In online courses, and now with “remote delivery” of previously face-to-face courses, discussion forums provide a place for student-to-student and instructor-to-student interaction. Within discussion forums, students share thoughts and review the ideas of others modeled through collegial, dialogic exchanges. Research shows the benefits of discussions for student engagement and learning.

To help alleviate discussion board burn-out, here are some recommendations and resources that will help us keep our discussions fresh and prevent excessive workload:

  1. Post the rules of netiquette and behavior expectations at the start of class.
  2. Encourage students to introduce themselves and meet one another to form a learning community where they will feel safe to share and discuss.
  3. Develop discussion questions that allow the student to critically reflect on the material and synthesize it with their own experiences.
  4. Encourage students to participate early and often.
  5. Create their presence in the classroom but not interfere with the flow of the discussion.
  6. Intervene when the discussion is veering off in the wrong direction and help move the discussion back on track.
  7. Ensure that the discussion forum is a safe learning environment.
  8. Promote further thinking and reflection by posing more thoughtful and engaging questions within any given discussion.

Additional resources:

Successful Strategies for Creating Online Discussion Prompts.  

CREST+ Model: Writing Effective Online Discussion Questions by Lynn Akin and Diane Neal.

Peer Assessment. A Module Lesson .

Student Peer Assessment by Louise Lutze-Mann

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​

The Citrix Virtual Desktop

The Citrix Virtual Desktop allows students, faculty, and staff (whether on or off campus) to access a virtual computer that runs all software for which UIS has licensing. To access Citrix, visit https://uiscitrix.uis.edu and log in with your NetID and password. You can then use a Windows desktop with course-related software installed and ready to use.

Do Use Citrix For…

  • Access to software that you cannot install on your personal computer at home. ITS maintains a list of software available through Citrix.
  • Access to university systems that normally cannot be accessed from off-campus, such as mapped network drives or TEM. (Please note: mapped drives will need to be re-mapped every time you join a Citrix session.)

Don’t Use Citrix For…

  • Casual web browsing. Instead, use the browser on your personal device.
  • Access to Microsoft Office apps such as Word, Powerpoint, or Excel. Instead, download these apps for free through Office 365 or use the online versions.
  • Access to Adobe products, including photo and video editing tools. Instead, these are available for free to faculty, staff, and students through the UIS Webstore.
  • Saving files. Instead, upload your files to Box.

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

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

Scheduling a Recurring Meeting in Zoom

Recurring meetings in Zoom

Zoom allows you to schedule meetings with multiple occurrences, so that each occurrence uses the same meeting ID and settings. You can schedule these meetings in daily, weekly, and monthly increments. You can also set a recurring meeting to be used at any time. Meeting IDs for recurring meetings expire 365 days after the meeting was last started.

check "recurring meeting" box in Zoom scheduler
  • Edit the recurrence
edit the recurrence of the meeting
  • If registration is required and the meeting is recurring, specify one of the following options
check box if registration is required
  • Click Save and Add to Calendar
add recurring meeting to calendar
  • Finish selecting the meeting options and click Schedule

For more tips on using Zoom, check out these Zoom Task Cards.

Sending Announcements in Blackboard

Blackboard Announcements are an ideal way to post time-sensitive information critical to student success. Add announcements to your Blackboard for these types of course activities:

  • Due dates for assignments and projects
  • Changes to your syllabus
  • Corrections/clarifications of materials
  • Exam schedules
  • Links to Zoom sessions

You can also use your announcements to offer encouragement and reassurance for navigating these challenging times.

Announcements can be sent immediately to students via email. When creating your announcement in Blackboard, simply check “send copy of this announcement immediately” and each student will receive a copy in email right away. They will also see the announcement when they log into Blackboard.

For more information about creating and sending announcements in Blackboard, please check out the COLRS blog.

Perfection is Not Necessary, Part II

While we are scrambling to transition face-to-face courses to remote teaching, we’d like to remind everyone that perfection isn’t necessary.

In the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, we offer the following ideas regarding assessments for your consideration.

  • Consider one consistent day and time each week when work is due. Make an updated course calendar for students.
  • Be creative about assessment. Think about assessing in ways that are appropriate for what you want students to learn. Do you assessments match your higher-level learning objectives?
  • Instead of a big exam with 100 question, consider breaking assessments into smaller chunks – quizzes or more focused activities. Many smaller assessments are less stressful for students.
  • When you do give exams, provide longer windows during which students can take the exam, rather than just during your normal class time. For example, allow students 2 days to choose an hour to take a test. Allowing a cushion of time for connectivity issues will make your life easier.
  • One of the principles of universal design for learning is that what is good for one student is good for all. Captioning, sharing lecture notes and presentations, and creating videos are good practices that help your students with documented disabilities as well as everyone else in your class.
  • Rely on those with experience and expertise – the Remote Teaching Faculty Champions and COLRS/ITS staff are here to support your transition. Have conversations and learn some strategies and tools to keep learning going this semester.

Resources:

Everybody Ready for the Big Migration to Online College? Actually, No by Kevin Carey, NYT TheUpshot

Keep Calm and Keep Teaching by Jody Greene

Please do a bad job of putting your course online by Rebecca Barrett-Fox

Perfection is not necessary, Part I

While we are scrambling to transition face-to-face courses to remote teaching, we’d like to remind everyone that perfection isn’t necessary.

Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in. Anthem by Leonard Cohen

In the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, we offer the following ideas for your consideration.

  • Flexibility is vital right now. You didn’t sign up for a mid-semester move to remote teaching. Your students didn’t register for an online class. Students are looking to you for guidance and support. Are you treating you students as you would want to be treated in this situation?
  • Students likely do not have great internet connections. A large number are doing remote learning on cell phones. Students may be experiencing loss of income, ill family members, and stress about the uncertainty of this situation.
  • Let go of teaching your class as you always have. Take a step back and think about your learning objectives. How can you accomplish your learning objectives in this new situation?
  • Make the tools you have work to your advantage. Elaborate isn’t necessary.
  • Expecting all students to log into Zoom at a particular time is a challenging requirement, at best. Record any live sessions (save recordings to your computer, rather than the cloud; it gives you faster access to the recordings). Upload recordings to Kaltura or YouTube and provide the links to the recordings for students who could not attend. UIS has asked that all synchronous sessions to take place at normal class times to avoid conflicts among classes for students.
  • Asynchronous learning has some advantages in fluid, crisis situations. It allows students to work on their classes when their new schedule allows. Consider providing students material to read and then summarize, create an info graphic, find current events articles related to the subject, etc. Engagement sometimes looks different in an online environment, and it can be meaningful and rich. Check out this video from a theater instructor for why asynchronous learning might be your best bet.
  • Reconsider creating narrated PowerPoint or talking head videos for three hours a week. Long videos take a lot of bandwidth. Consider short videos (5 minutes or less). Post content in Word or PowerPoint files, too. Reserve synchronous Zoom sessions for discussion and student questions.

Remember, perfection is not necessary. Communicate with students. Simplify where possible. Ask for help when you need it.

Resources:

Everybody Ready for the Big Migration to Online College? Actually, No by Kevin Carey, NYT TheUpshot

Keep Calm and Keep Teaching by Jody Greene

Please do a bad job of putting your course online by Rebecca Barrett-Fox

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.”

Dealing with Slow Internet

As millions of people around the world shift to working from home, the unprecedented transformation of our behavior has put a large strain on internet infrastructure which can lead to slow internet speeds.

Here are some ideas to help us address this challenge:

The following companies are offering free or low-cost internet service during the crisis:

  1. Comcast, Charter, Cox, Google Fiber, Spring, Verizon, and T-Mobile will not disconnect anyone for the next 60 days. They participated in the “Keep Americans Connected” Pledge.
  2. Comcast is offering an Internet Essentials package for free for 60 days during the coronavirus outbreak.
  3. Charter Communication announced it will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a subscription. 

Those using Zoom web conferencing to connect with students, may find that Zoom uses significant bandwidth, especially for video calls. To address this concern:

  1. You and your students can connect to a Zoom meeting via telephone.
  2. You may choose to mute audio when not speaking and ask your students to do the same.
  3. You may choose to turn off your webcam unless necessary.
  4. Zoom has offered a set of instructions for those experiencing WIFI connection issues.
  5. Upload your Zoom recordings and other lectures to Kaltura or YouTube, rather than Box, for ease of streaming over slower connections.

Considerations for Using Zoom as a Remote Classroom

From discussion boards in Blackboard to group work, journaling, web conferences, and collaborative group projects, we have many strategies to engage our students and keep our classroom communities connected.

As announced on Monday, March 16, 2020, ITS has secured a UIS site license for Zoom, which means that all faculty, staff, and students will have access to this web conferencing platform. Zoom is a robust web conferencing platform for instructors and staff to engage with students and one another.

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.

Synchronous class meetings for remote teaching should be held during normal on campus meeting times.

Zoom as a Classroom Tool

Zoom can be an excellent platform for delivering lectures, holding class discussions, supporting group work and class debates, and enabling student presentations.

Zoom Usability for Students with Slow or Intermittent Internet Access

Zoom is designed to work on multiple platforms (Mac and Windows, plus mobile devices). Zoom also compresses audio and video feeds to make them work on slower internet connections. Below are some strategies for providing support for students with slow, unreliable, or intermittent internet access, or other circumstances that prevent joining a synchronous session held during normal class meeting times. Being flexible and forgiving will be key to helping all our students continuing their learning.

  1. Remind students that they can call in to listen and participate.
    If they don’t have internet access, they are not excluded from class. Each Zoom meeting will have a phone number and meeting ID that allows participants to call in.
  2. Upload all PowerPoint slides, shared resources, and websites to Blackboard.
    This can be helpful for students who are calling in. They can download and/or print resources before the synchronous meeting time.
  3. Record the session and post it to Kaltura or YouTube.
    When the recording is uploaded, post it to your Blackboard course to provide alternative viewing modes for students who cannot meet at the normal, scheduled class time. Learn about Zoom recordings and uploading to Kaltura.
  4. Provide a “muddiest point” discussion forum for the synchronous session.
    The Muddiest Point is a simple classroom assessment technique to help assess where students are having difficulties. Ask each student to post a quick response to the question: “What was the muddiest point in [synchronous meeting, lecture, discussion, assignment, etc.]?” You might replace “muddiest” with “most unclear” or “most confusing.” This technique also allows students who view the recording later to participate with the rest of the class. Learn more about Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs).

Zoom Accessibility Considerations

If you have a student with accommodations in your course, the UIS Office of Disability Services will continue working with the student and all their instructors. Zoom can support live captioning, if required.

Links in this post:

All COLRS Remote Teaching Tips: http://blogs.uis.edu/colrs/category/emergency-remote-teaching/

Zoom at UIS: https://www.uis.edu/informationtechnologyservices/connect/zoom/

Zoom Live captioning: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/207279736-Getting-started-with-closed-captioning

Classroom Assessment Techniques: http://blogs.uis.edu/colrs/files/2015/10/50CATS.pdf

Uploading media files to Kaltura: https://blogs.uis.edu/colrs/2014/07/01/kaltura-media-overview/

Create Discussion Forums in Blackboard: https://help.blackboard.com/Learn/Instructor/Interact/Discussions/Create_Discussions/Create_Forums

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

Tips for Connecting to Campus

If you’re traveling out of town, or just need to connect to campus from home, we have some tips for keeping connected with ease. 

  1. Download and install the UIS VPN client from vpn.uis.edu.
    The university Virtual Private Network (VPN) is free for anyone with a NetID and enables individuals to secure their Internet connection back to the university while using public Wi-Fi such as coffee shops or at conferences. By using the VPN, you are securing yourself from misconfigurations on these public networks and malicious behavior by others on that same wireless network.
  2. Once you install VPN, be sure to set up your on-campus computer for remote access, too!
  3. Move the files you’re working on to Box for easy access from any location. Download Box Sync to make the process quick and easy. 

For additional help with the VPN client, remote desktop access, or Box, contact ITS.