Preparing for Remote Instruction
In light of planned or unplanned events that may require STLCC to shut down face-to-face instruction at one or more of its locations, offering online instruction may be a viable way to ensure academic continuity. STLCC’s learning management system and companion resources provide opportunities for instructors to engage with students both synchronously and asynchronously.
Teaching in the online environment includes disseminating information/content, providing student activities/assignments, offering communication channels for instructors and students, and administering assessments; all of which may be completed virtually. Creating a robust online environment takes careful planning, dedicated resources, and time; however, it is possible to thoughtfully move face-to-face instruction online for brief periods of time when planned or unplanned shutdowns occur and still maintain academic integrity and rigor.
To access tutorials on Blackboard features that are mentioned throughout the rest of this document, be sure that you have self-enrolled in Blackboard Essentials and Blackboard II Advanced by selecting the faculty tab in Blackboard, Training and Certification for Online, and selecting the links under the Becoming Certified to Teach Online or Hybrid Courses Module. Also please remember that each course has a link to Blackboard Help in the control panel which will provide useful just-in-time assistance.
Preparing to Teach
Every course entered in Banner and given a CRN has a corresponding shell within Blackboard, the College’s learning management system. The course shell within Blackboard does not initially contain content, but does provide a standard course template with menu driven features that make it intuitive for instructors and students to navigate.
Finding Your Courses
To find your course shell in Blackboard, use your STLCC credentials to log into the system at https://blackboard.stlcc.edu/. (Please go ahead and log into Blackboard as many of the links in this tutorial guide will require you to be logged into Blackboard to navigate to the appropriate tab/space.) Once you have gained access you will see the “My Courses” module on the left-hand side of the screen that will list all the courses for which you are assigned as instructor in Banner. Each course name is a link that when selected will take you into the course shell. (If you are on the Faculty tab, select the HOME tab to return to the main screen where the My Courses module is located.)
Allowing Student Access
Courses must be published or “made available” for students to gain access. This is a simple process and may be completed within Blackboard using the Qwickly tool. For information on how to use Qwickly, view the 4 minute 9 second, How to Use Qwickly video also found within Blackboard under the Faculty tab – Teaching With Blackboard. This tool also allows you to post announcements, content, links, and assignments to multiple courses at once, saving you time.
In order to ensure that the overall course objectives continue to be met during this instructional period, each course should at a minimum provide the course syllabus and any revised expectations, multiple communication channels, and online learning options for lectures and/or activities.
Upload your course syllabus to the Syllabus and Schedule area of your course. It should include an addendum which includes your strategy for academic continuity (including any temporary changes to your attendance policies, deadline dates, etc.).
Communication in the online course is integral to student success. As an instructor, you may facilitate communication through multiple means including announcements, email, discussion forums, and real-time meetings via Collaborate.
Announcements provide a highly visible means of communication for students immediately upon logging into the course. Use announcements for posting the day’s learning objective, directing students to the appropriate assignment/activity, or reminding students of upcoming real-time meetings. You can also send announcements to your students’ email accounts. For information on how to create announcements in Blackboard, review Module 03 Creating Course Announcements in the Blackboard Essentials course or refer to the information found on Blackboard’s help page.
Blackboard Email Tool
You can use the Blackboard Email tool to communicate with your students individually or through group messages. For more information on sending email through Blackboard, review the 08 Sending Email through Blackboard module in the Blackboard Essentials course.
Discussion forums provide an asynchronous tool for text-based conversations. This area can be a great place for students to connect, share ideas and answer each other’s questions. This tool also allows you as the instructor to easily share answers to a single student’s question with the entire class. A best practice is to create a discussion forum for general class questions or concerns. For information on how to create/monitor discussion forums in Blackboard, review Module 06 Creating a Discussion Forum in the Blackboard Essentials course or refer to the information found in the Create Forums Blackboard help area (scroll down the page for the video tutorial).
Real-Time Meetings (Collaborate)
This resource will allow you to connect real-time with your students, share documents, utilize whiteboard features, and lecture. Collaborate is also a great way to connect with your student for office hours and for one-on-one conversations/additional instruction when needed.
Collaborate has an easy to use interface and you can use as many or as few of the features as you wish to conduct your live sessions. For more information on Collaborate, review the resource links below
- Overview of Collaborate Interface (web page with video, 2 minutes, 14 seconds)
- Sharing Content in Collaborate (web page)
- Checking Attendance (webpage)
- Recording Collaborate Sessions (web page)
- Polling in Collaborate – (web page with video, 1 minute, 15 seconds)
- Selected Sections previous webinars covering basic features (33 minutes 14 seconds)
Instructional & Student Activities & Assessments
Your course objectives will dictate the amount of content that you will need to create/upload into the online class environment. In addition to the above communication channels, you need to consider what content needs to be uploaded, what activities need to be created, and what needs to be graded during the shutdown period. To learn more about the options for content and how to create and upload assignments and activities into your course shell review the information below.
Blackboard allows you to build content from within the course by uploading documents and creating content. For more information on this feature of Blackboard refer to the module 05 Building Course Content within the Blackboard Essentials course.
You can post information about your assignments and collect student work using Blackboard’s Assignments tool. Rather than keeping track of several student emails with attached assignments, the Assignments tool provides a location where all students can submit their work, while also providing a built-in grading tool for the submissions. For information on how to create and manage assignments, review the Assignments module in the Blackboard II Advanced course.
Creating Quizzes & Tests
You can administer simple quizzes and tests using the Blackboard Tests tool. Question types such as multiple choice, true & false, short answer, and essay may be used. For information on how to create and deploy tests, review the Tests module in the Blackboard II Advanced course.
You may also consider using Microsoft OneDrive, which is freely available to all faculty and students and provides a collaborative environment for sharing and editing documents. For more information on this software visit STLCC’s OneDrive site and be sure to check out Microsoft’s tutorial on how to share your files for collaboration. (IT has provided some information for students on Office 365 and available apps on its website).
When you collect assignments within Blackboard you are able to use the Grade Center feature. Review the information in the Grade Center module in Blackboard II Advanced course for basic grading information. For more detailed help, contact a Learning Experience Consultant.
Accessibility & Accommodations Resources
Many of our students may require varying types of accommodations, and moving to an online environment can be intimidating and a bit frightening. Regular communication with all students during a sudden transition to online class delivery will help ease fears. As you create or upload content to your online course shell, please consider the following available resources.
Blackboard Ally - Instructor Quick Start Guide
Blackboard Ally is a tool that automates the process of identifying course materials that might create potential barriers to students with disabilities. This tool is available in every Blackboard course shell. Ally Quick Start Guide
Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker - available for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
Running the accessibility checker on a Word document works very well in combination with using the feedback provided by the Blackboard Ally tool if you upload your documents to Blackboard. Accessibility Video Training from Microsoft
Microsoft PowerPoint Slide Notes
If you generally use PowerPoint when you present class information, add your lecture narrative to each slide in the Notes panel. This is a simple and effective way to share the same information you would during an in-person class session.
Open a PowerPoint presentation and select Notes underneath each slide to open and close the speaker notes panel.
For additional assistance with providing accommodations, please contact a Learning Experience Consultant or a member of STLCC’s Accessibility Team.
Once your course materials and communication channels have been added you are ready to continue teaching your course. Remember that in the online environment you will need to work to ensure that your students do not feel isolated or overwhelmed. You will want to be extremely clear when you provide written instructions or information, provide multiple opportunities for questions/answers, and be responsive to posts in discussion forums and emails.
STLCC’s Academic Success & Tutoring is available for online tutoring in math, writing, and select other subjects. Students seeking math or writing tutoring can access Online Tutoring via the website link: STLCC Archer Online Tutoring For tutoring availability in other content areas, email the Academic Success & Tutoring manager from your campus. Managers are listed at the bottom of the Academic Success & Tutoring web page.
Additionally, library personnel remain available to assist your students through the website, live chats, email, and scheduled appointments. Be sure to refer your students to STLCC’s “Ask A Librarian” website.
Resuming Normal Instruction
Once the shutdown has ended, you will want to be sure that you help your students adjust back to “normal” by once again amending your syllabus as needed to adjust due dates and class expectations back to standard practice. You will also want to ensure your students retain access to Blackboard course work and grades, and don’t forget that you will need to ensure that you factor in online student work/activities as you process final grades.