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Office of the Provost

Teaching Strategies, Tools and Resources

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  • Campus closures and class cancellations during emergencies will be reported through the Carolina Alert system and the university homepage.
  • Changes in instruction and course delivery plans due to continued disruptions will be announced by campus leadership and on the university homepage.
  • Check with departmental leaders for more details about their expectations for classes as administrators may want to have many of the department’s classes handled in similar ways.

Communicating with students is imperative and key to keeping students on track. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety.

  • Communicate with your students before the start of the term through email and Blackboard. Your communication can help clarify a number of areas that will help students succeed in your class:
    • Course delivery. Let students know whether the course will be taught face-to-face, online, or in some combination. For online delivery, let them know whether they will participate synchronously or asynchronously.
    • Instructor contact information. Provide a few options for how students can communicate with you, if possible. Let students know how you will communicate with them and how quickly they can expect you to respond to their questions and concerns.
    • Check-in process. Let students know how often you will expect them to check their email or Blackboard
    • Technology needs. Identify the specific technology students will need to complete coursework (e.g., computer, internet, webcam, mic, speakers, smartphone, etc.). If using Blackboard, suggest that students download the Blackboard App to their smartphone, if possible.
    • Attendance expectations and attendance requirements. Make sure your expectations match university attendance policies. If circumstances require changes in your course or delivery method, follow university guidelines as they are announced.
    • Students’ Communication Needs. Encourage students to share their needs with you. Knowing how students are accessing the course materials may help your communication and course delivery efforts.
  • Communicate regularly with students about assignments, procedures, expectations, and ongoing progress toward course goals.
  • Contact students as soon as you have updates or decide on any large changes for the course.
  • Give students many opportunities to share their concerns and questions about the course. More two-way communication with your students will lead to greater engagement and more effective teaching.

Develop a plan for your course and consider the following suggestions:

  • Determine your course delivery format: face-to-face; asynchronous online; synchronous online; blended; hybrid;  etc.
    • If you are teaching a course with both face-to-face and online section options, ensure the instructional method [pdf]of each section is accurately listed in the course schedule.
    • View the HyFlex Course Delivery Guide [pdf] for advice on teaching both face-to-face and online sections of the same course.
      • Note: Students cannot choose how to attend class on any given day and must attend class according to the instructional method of the course section for which they registered.
    • If you typically teach a large undergraduate course, view the Adapting Undergraduate Large Courses webpage.
  • Think about your course design.
    • Consider your audience to determine the scope of your material.
    • Review your course goals and learning outcomes.  Be sure that your learning outcomes are measurable.
    • Select your readings, resources, activities and assignments.
      • Decide what combination of activities will enable your students to achieve the stated outcomes/objectives. Best practices suggest a variety of learning activities results in better learning outcomes.
    • Develop your course outline by creating an order for course topics.
    • Design activities and assessments that keep students engaged.
    • Plan your course calendar: the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has course calendar templates available for you to use for your course.
  • Create your course syllabus: the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) has syllabus templates available for you to use for your course.
  • If teaching hybrid, blended or online, consider writing a weekly narrative overview of what you plan to do in Blackboard - a succinct synopsis paragraph of what will be covered, what to expect, what content to focus on, pertinent information they need to know, etc. Think of this narrative as an introductory overview you give in the first few minutes in your face-to-face course.
  • In Blackboard, construct a list of all instructional activities for each week (a task or “to-do” list for students). Examples might include:
    • Read a chapter (or portion) from a textbook
    • Read an online article
    • Watch a video
    • Watch a recorded mini-lecture you have prepared
    • Attend a face-to-face or synchronous online class session
    • “Discuss” (in writing) a relevant topic with classmates
    • Complete an activity, assignment, or online quiz.
  • Use tools that are familiar to you and your students, to the greatest extent possible.
  • Identify how you will give feedback (video, annotations, virtual office hours, peer, etc.).
  • Communicate openly and effectively with your students regarding your course structure, plans and expectations.
  • Ensure that course materials are accessible.

There are several options to continue instruction. As the instructor, you will review your learning objectives and specific teaching goals and align these with appropriate activities for academic continuity.

Tips
Prepare your materials and activities that support the stated learning objectives and activities which enable you to measure the students’ progress toward achieving them. Keep materials phone friendly.

  • Contact the library for assistance with Course Materials Support including links in Blackboard to articles, textbooks, ebooks, streaming video, book chapters, and open educational resources.
    • Make requests through:
    • Identify open educational resources using the library’s Open Textbook guide.
    • University Libraries provides audio and video resources for streaming films and documentaries, visualized experiments, and educational tutorials in several subject areas. Contact Educational Films with any questions about available films and creating links for Blackboard.
    • Avoid copyright issues by providing links to content such as articles and videos rather than downloading and posting them. The library provides additional guidance on copyright concerns for online teaching.
    • Subject Librarians can suggest sources for finding online content to use in teaching as well as refer you to available services and resources in the library and on campus if you’re not sure who to ask.
    • Librarians can provide research assistance to your students by phone, chat, or video call. Direct them to the Book a Librarian service to make appointments online.
  • Good learning is collaborative and social. Blackboard has a Discussion Forum feature that allows you to set the stage for student-to-student interaction focused on issues that complement your other materials.
  • Online videos and multimedia: Avoid copyright and bandwidth issues by providing a link to the source rather than downloading the video and inserting it into Blackboard. You can also use the Library’s Educational Films Collection for content, public domain images, YouTube videos, websites, professional association videos, etc.
  • Recorded Mini-lectures (video or audio) for online, blended, and hybrid courses: Create introductory/explanatory videos or audio messages for weekly module overviews or content snippets.
    1. To keep students engaged with your content, best practices [pdf] suggest that video lectures should not exceed 15 minutes—OR LESS.
    2. Recording Tools (options)
  • Livestream Class Meetings and recording lectures:
    • Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a web-conferencing tool that allows you to create/record lecture presentations that feature your PowerPoint slides. It is in the tools section of Blackboard. It can be used to hold live class sessions, which can also be recorded and shared for later viewing. You can share your PowerPoints, files, screen, or a digital whiteboard. Students can chat or use a mic or webcam or call in on their phone. Blackboard (Bb) Collaborate has a polling feature to engage students and you can create breakout rooms.
Category Description Tools
Communication Tools to allow faculty and students to communicate, share materials, check-in, etc.

DoIT Supported Tools

Other Tools

  • GroupMe app
  • Social Media apps: Messenger, What’s App, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
  • Phone Text Message
Collaboration Tools to engage students and allow them to work together on projects and assignments.

DoIT Supported Tools

Recordings: Lecture Capture & Audio Messaging

Tools that allow for live classroom lectures to be recorded and give faculty the ability to perform personal captures from their computers and/or mobile devices. Personal capture includes narrated (Voice Over) Power Points, videos of themselves, and recording of the faculty’s device screen.

DoIT Supported Tools

Other Tools

  • YouTube video capture
  • Screencast-o-matic
  • Screencastify
  • Use laptop webcam
  • Smartphone videos and voice messages
  • Loom
Web Conferencing (Synchronous Meetings)

Tool that allows you to hold live meetings, presentations, virtual 
office hours, etc. Faculty can:

  • Share content
  • Share whiteboard
  • Share screen
  • Record

DoIT Supported Tools

Other Tools

Streaming Video Tools that provide an online collection of movies, 
documentaries, educational films, etc.
Learning Management System The campus' learning management system is used to help faculty create effective course materials such as quizzes, discussion forums, assignments, etc.

DoIT Supported Tools

Academic Integrity Tools available to check for cheating and plagiarism.

DoIT Supported Tools

Course Materials The library provides assistance with course materials including scans or links in Blackboard to articles, textbooks, ebooks, streaming video, book chapters, and open educational resources. Some textbook publishers provide access to digital materials.

** University -supported resources such as Blackboard Collaborate, Teams and Skype should always be used, if possible. Zoom should only be used if supported tools cannot meet the requirements of the course delivery.

  • The Division of information Technology and the Thomas Cooper Library have collaborated to provide support for students who have limited technology access with a computer and hotspot loan program. The Thomas Cooper Library has a limited supply of Dell 3400s computers with webcams to check out for the academic year. These are available now;  please see here for the hours of Thomas Cooper Library.   Fairly shortly, there will also be hotspots available for loan as well. These will be particularly useful for those students who return to homes without internet availability at Thanksgiving.  

  • For both computers and hotspots, faculty should direct students to the Thomas Cooper Library with their Carolina Card to check out the technology that is needed.  Since there is not an unlimited supply of computers and hotspots, we are relying on faculty, advisors, and professional staff to direct students appropriately. Emails explaining the loan program have also been sent selectively to students who have been identified as having financial challenges.  
  • Please submit the Faculty Referral form if you are a faculty member with a student of concern during the semester.

Many students complete off-campus experiential learning activities to complement the classroom learning experience.  This activities occur in a variety of settings, so the university has established procedures to support programs in assuring appropriate disease mitigation strategies at an off-campus site.  

The Office of the Provost and the Office of General Counsel have developed two forms for academic units to use.  The first form, guidelines for off-campus experiences [pdf], documents the need for the off-campus activity and confirms the site-specific health and safety measures.  With the second form, participation agreement [pdf], the student acknowledges the potential risk of the activity.  Use of these form and the level of supporting documentation required is determined by the academic program or unit leadership.  The academic unit should maintain copies of the completed forms. 

A set of Frequently Asked Questions on off-campus experiential learning [pdf], is also available.  Additional questions should be addressed to the Office of the Provost.

 Other important Reminders

Some software companies are offering products for free or at low cost, or may offer extended features, during COVID-19 to faculty, instructors, students, and institutions. You should not make plans that require these products. Please see Myscedu for software UofSC has available to students and employees; these products have been approved through proper state of South Carolina purchasing and licensing procedures.

Why?

  • These offers usually entail terms and conditions, including End User License Agreements (EULA) which constitute a contract that university personnel are not authorized to sign or otherwise agree to, per University Policy BTRU 1.04 – Authority to Sign Contracts.
  • These offers may require our students to accept terms and conditions or EULA which UofSC cannot impose upon students.
  • These offers may have date limits or other situational limitations (such as terminating access when we return to campus-based instruction) that UofSC cannot predict or commit to.
  • These offers may obligate the university to information technology work that cannot be guaranteed.

Process to Request Software

  • Please note that a request for software approval does not commit UofSC to a purchase, nor guarantee a date when the software will be available for use.
  • If you believe a product is critical to instruction, please request your Dean of Chancellor consider, approve, and prioritize it within your organization’s continuity of operations plan.
  • Requests approved and prioritized by a Dean or Chancellor will be advanced by their designee to Purchasing and Division of Information Technology for processing; advancement to these units does not constitute approval. Their processes adhere to State of South Carolina guidelines and these units are also subject to circumstances and constraints beyond their control during COVID-19.

When teaching, learning and working from home it is important to be cognizant of cybersecurity. The Division of Information Technology has developed a Security Guidance for Remote Teaching page with a variety of tips to keep your cyber environment secure.

The Division of Information Technology has made available Security Guidelines for using Zoom.

All faculty members should prepare for the possibility of an interruption to face-to-face instruction and build alternative instruction strategies into their course.

  • Consider introducing remote learning tools and practices early each semester.
    • Encourage all students to try a web conferencing tool during the course.
    • Record a video lecture or narrated powerpoint for use in the course.
  • Set up additional instructional materials that can be used for remote teaching.
  • Have electronic copies of text material readily available.
  • Consider relevant statements you may want to include in your syllabi and review with students each semester.
    • Reserve your right to modify a syllabus when necessary.
    • Set communication expectations to inform the class about any changes when they occur.
    • Identify your expectations and procedures should classes be cancelled or moved to remote teaching.
  • Direct students to inclement weather, emergency preparedness or campus closure information.

 


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