Get Your Course Online Quickly!

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Overview - Start Here to Get Online Quickly!

In the event of a scenario that prevents instructors and students from meeting face to face, Cedar Crest College instructors and students are advised to adopt an online teaching approach. The purpose of this page is to help instructors quickly learn and apply the fundamentals of online teaching and learning.

For the most up-to-date information on Cedar Crest's COVID-19 news and information, reference the Cedar Crest College COVID-19 Information and Updates page.  It is best practice that instructors be as prepared to move their courses online to Canvas (Cedar Crest Online throughout the rest of this document) should that need arise.  This page is designed to help everyone do that as quickly, easily and confidently as possible should that direction be given.

Step 1: Check Your Course

Every course offered at Cedar Crest College has a course shell in Cedar Crest Online.  The Cedar Crest Online platform will be the primary location for instructors to communicate, deliver content, enable interaction, assess, and keep their grade book.  Instructors may choose to link to and utilize other third-party tools and sites as they would normally do, however the Cedar Crest Online course site should be the central location for all things that are course related for students.  Think of the Cedar Crest Online platform as more than a way to visually communicate, but also as a way to organize, deliver and assess throughout the duration of your course.  All synchronous activities (these are activities that require you and your students to be online at the same time) should be held during normal course meeting times via this platform, unless the entire class has agreed to a change.

How to Check Your Course

  1. Navigate to Cedar Crest Online via FalconLink -- from Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (do not use Apple Safari).
  2. Login using your FalconNet userrname (the first part of your email address) and your FalconNet password. (What is my FalconNet username and password?)
  3. Once logged into FalconLink, click on Cedar Crest Online - it will automatically log you in.  If this is your first time in FalconLink, it will make you install the Classlink Browser Extension, please follow the instructions.
  4. On your Dashboard, you should see all the courses that you are currently teaching.  If you do not, click here to report a missing course.
  5. Click into each of your courses to become familiar with what they look like to begin thinking about how you will organize your course.
  6. Finally, click on COURSES and select the Welcome to Canvas course.  This will help you get your course organized and moving forward quickly.

Step 2: Communicate with Students

Consistent, clear, reliable communication from instructors is a crucial element of successful online teaching, especially in an emergency scenario. Good communication builds course community, creates a sense of presence, and helps students understand that this is a real course with expectations that are fundamentally not much different from your face-to-face course. Bear in mind that online learning will be new for most of your students, too, so they will rely on you to communicate expectations, explain course logistics, and provide updates in a regular, predictable way.

Always use the Announcement feature in Course Site as your primary tool for course-wide communications. When you post an Announcement, all students enrolled in the class will receive it as an email, after a short delay.

Why use Announcements? Doing so ensures that all students know where to go for information, assignments, and updates, while also making it easy for instructors and students to access a record of past announcements. If you use email instead, you will likely find yourself sending the same email multiple times if students delete or lose track of the emails they have received.

Information on how to use Announcements can be found in the "Welcome to Canvas Course" in your course listing, or via Canvas' help at this link.

Step 3: Post Course Materials

In the Cedar Crest Online platform, instructors have multiple ways of sharing course materials with students but the simplest approach is to upload documents or create links within course modules.  To do this, it is most efficient to utilize the Modules in Canvas.  You can add a text description, upload files -- post your syllabus and more through the Modules.

The Office of Information Technology suggests staging files that might be needed for courses on your OneDrive, not your personal laptop or your H drive.  It is not advisable to store Cedar Crest-related files, data or documents on your personal computer or device.  OneDrive is fully FERPA compliant, while your personal computer/device is not.  You can find information on how to use OneDrive here and here.  And while you can access your H drive from home, your OneDrive is easier to access from any device at any time.

Click here for help on how to use Modules (or attend one of our live sessions on 03/12 or 03/13)

Step 4: Deliver Course Lectures

Now that you have prepared your course material, it is time to create and deliver lectures.  Instructors can choose to deliver these live or pre-recorded and can mix both synchronous and asynchronous content to enhance the online experience.  There are several ways to accomplish this.

  1. Use Microsoft Teams
    Microsoft Teams is capable of allowing you to meet live in a group or one-on-one with students.  You can share documents or assignments back and forth, as well as allowing the students to interact with one another.  You can also use record live sessions in Teams, and post that information to Canvas at a later time.  For help with this, we suggest attending the live Teams for Online Classes session on 03/12, viewing the Tech Talk article (with video) on Teams by clicking here or click here for Microsoft's wealth of information on using Teams.
  2. Use GoToMeeting
    If you are comfortable with GoToMeeting you can also use that to hold live classes, record the sessions and post them later.  Our Tech Talk information on using GoToMeeting (including a video) is here.
  3. Use MediaShareIQ
    If you are currently using MediaShareIQ you can also utilize that for holding live, interactive courses and posting videos to your course.  For more information on MediaShareIQ please contact Matt Kile directly.

Tips for recorded lectures:

  • Keep recorded lectures brief (ideally 15-25 minutes). If your typical lecture is longer than that, break it into smaller sections of this length. These approaches will help keep students’ attention and will make it easier if, later, you or your students wish to find and reference specific course content. Alternatively, you can ask students to pause the video every 15-20 minutes to complete some task that applies or extends the content of what you just lectured about. Done well, this approach will reinforce learning, increase retention, and create connections between lecture and the homework, essays, projects, etc. you ask students to do later.
  • Separate content-heavy lectures from more personalized or semester-specific communications. That is, create one video that explains a difficult concept, and create a separate video to give feedback to students, provide instructions on an assignment, offer reflections on current events, etc. This approach will make it easier for you to reuse content-specific lecture videos and will also make it easier for students to know where they need to go for which material.
  • Use headphones or earbuds with a microphone to minimize surrounding noise and maximize your voice.

Delivering Course Lectures: Selecting the Best Approach:

So, should you use lecture documents, pre-recorded videos, or live (Teams or GoToMeeting sessions? There is no right answer.

Some instructors prefer to have everyone online together at the same time and find value in lecturing “live” while simultaneously interacting with students, posing questions, soliciting responses from students, engaging in Socratic dialogue, etc. If that’s you, using Teams is the best answer, with GoToMeeting coming in a close second.

Other instructors prefer having time to write out or record their lectures in advance rather than lecture live, especially if they find it challenging to lecture while also facilitating a live session. Writing or Pre-recording lectures also has the advantage of creating documents or videos you can repurpose in future classes. If that’s you, go with Lecture documents or pre-recording your session with the tool of your choice (Teams, GoToMeeting, ScreenCastOMatic or similar software).

You can also combine the three approaches. For example, you could create some lecture documents, supplement them with pre-recorded lectures and class activities to be completed within a certain timeframe, and then hold discussion sessions or office hours synchronously using Teams. This combination approach has the advantage of letting you carefully construct re-usable lectures material while also creating opportunities for the spontaneity and interactivity of a live online discussion.

Step 5: Interacting with Students Through Course Activities

In addition to sharing course material and delivering lectures, instructors also need to provide feedback to students and create opportunities for instructor-student and student-student interaction. The most effective online activities require students to intellectually engage with the course content and to receive formative feedback from their instructors.  Live Teams/GoToMeeting sessions can help facilitate this, but here are some ideas.

  • Discussions work best when instructors post open-ended prompts that direct students to engage with the course material, producing work that the instructor can review.  For help with discussions, click here.
  • Encourage students to respond to one another. One method to do this is to require each student to post one response to the prompt and at least one post in response to another student.  
  • If you want students to post their own response before seeing other students’ responses, select the option that hides posts until a post has been made.
  • Give students feedback by responding to their posts in the forum during this process, responding to the summary, or by responding to a separate writing assignment that builds on the online discussion.  Instructors do not need to respond to every student post, but should be aware of and involved in the discussion.

Step 6: Assignments and Assessments in Cedar Crest Online

When students cannot take a quiz or an exam in a traditional physical classroom, instructors will need to create online assessments.  This can be accomplished in Cedar Crest Online through the use of "Assignments" within modules.  When creating an assignment, Canvas also creates a grade book entry for the assignment and allows you to customize how you want the assignment to look, when it is due and how it is assessed.  For more information on using assignments attend one of the live sessions, or click here.


Interactive Assistance via Microsoft Teams
In the event that we cannot be in-person for support, the Office of Information Technology has set up a “Tech Talk” Microsoft Team.  Everyone at the College has access to this Team.  This team contains direct access to Tech Talk videos, Tech Talk Live schedule, public chat channel, and in the case of a campus closure – direct chat links to the Help Desk and the IT staff who are on duty during these times.

Access the Tech Talk Team Here

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Article ID: 100450
Tue 3/10/20 9:01 AM
Wed 1/11/23 2:29 PM