Sample Initial Announcement for Course News
Welcome to your course in D2L
For the next few weeks, you will be busy making the transition to remote learning and completing coursework for this semester.
Communication is key – Please stay in touch and stay on track with the pace of the course. It is very difficult to get caught up if you should happen to get behind in the course. Contact me at [email@example.com] with questions.[Include instructions for other preferred methods of communication for your specific course (i.e. Open Discussion Topics, Remind (a texting app), etc.)]
Success – The best way to learn the material and be successful in this course is with regular & consistent practice. For this reason, it will be important for you to
- check in on D2L at least five times weekly
- allow plenty of time for the assigned readings and other content
- stay current with the assignments and other coursework
- ask questions if instructions are unclear and/or you need additional guidance
For the remainder of the semester, all instruction, homework, quizzes, tests, and projects will be delivered remotely. Instructions and assignments will be posted to D2L, NEO’s learning management system.
As far as navigating the course, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Learning materials and assignment directions are located on the Content tab (the link on the toolbar above).
- In course Content, begin by reading all the information in each module paying close attention to follow the course syllabus and schedule.
How do I ask a questions? If you need help or have questions with anything, please email me at [Instructoremail@neo.edu] immediately with questions. You may also call the helpdesk at (918) 540-6253 or submit a helpdesk ticket for technical questions.
(Include any other pertinent information you want to initially communicate to your students)[Instructor Name]
Teaching and Learning Faculty Resources
- 8 Lessons Learned from Teaching Online
- Checklist for Remote Teaching
- HE Remote Work/Teaching Resources (Joint Response Regarding COVID-19 and Advice on Transitioning Face-to-Face Courses Online)
- The Guide to Online Teaching
- Sample Language for Discussions
- Sample Language for Dropbox (Assignments)
Checklist for Remote Teaching
What can you do right now to prepare for remote teaching?
Begin preparation in advance. Communicate with students to let them know ahead of time what the plan will be for your course using the News tool in D2L. Consider alternative methods for course delivery and assessment.
Stay informed. Use the link to COVID-19 Updates and Resources for Faculty and Students to stay abreast of updates.
Communicate with students. Have a consistent communication strategy to avoid confusion. Once you have details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with how and when they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). Students will have questions, so let them know how and when they can expect to receive a reply from you. Use the D2L News tool, email or other preferred communication strategies.
Keep these principles in mind:
- Communicate early and often: Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety, and save you dealing with individual questions.
- Let students know about changes or disruptions as early as possible, even if all the details aren’t in place yet, and let them know when they can expect more specific information. Don’t overload them with email, but consider matching the frequency of your messages with that of changes in class activities and/or updates to the broader crisis at hand. For example, if the campus closure is extended, what will students need to know related to your course?
- Manage your communications load:You will likely receive some individual requests for information that could be useful to all your students, so consider keeping track of frequently asked questions and sending those replies out to everyone. This way, students know they might get a group reply in a day versus a personal reply within an hour. Also, consider creating an informational page in D2L, then encourage students to check there first for answers before emailing you.
- Set expectations:Let students know how you plan to communicate with them, and how often. Tell students both how often you expect them to check their email, and how quickly they can expect your response.
Consider realistic goals for teaching remotely. As you think about continuing instruction remotely, consider what you think you can realistically accomplish. Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Encourage students will keep up with the reading? Will you have some assignments to add structure and accountability? How will you keep them engaged with the course content?
Review your course schedule to determine priorities. Identify your priorities during the disruption — providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What can or must be done online to meet course and module level student learning outcomes? Give yourself flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than initially planned.
Review your syllabus for points that must change: Make sure that your syllabus is on D2L and update it with course changes as needed. Communicate if there have been changes to assignments, due dates, and/or course policies.
Reset expectations for students: You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students’ ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations reasonably.
Familiarize yourself with D2L if you have not used it before. Log-in and locate your course in D2L.
- Access your course on D2L.
- Upload your syllabus through the D2L Content tool.
- Communicate with your students using the D2L News tool
- Zoom can be used for virtual meetings.
- Use D2L Discussion tool to reinforce content topics
- Written assignments can be created with D2L Assignments Tool
- Quizzes and tests can be created using D2L Quiz Tool
Create alternative assessments or activities as needed for online format (i.e. labs, in-class discussions, presentations) using tools such as D2L Discussion Board, Zoom, or links to publisher content.
Upload content needed to complete remaining assignments/assessments. Find supplemental material online if needed (publisher, resources, NEO Library, YouTube)
Sample Language for Discussions
Participation: What do I say?
Participation may well be one of your greatest challenges in this course, but it’s also one of the most fun activities in an online course. It’s a great way to gain new perspectives, as well as clarify the topics we cover in this course. Of course some of you may find initiating discussion a bit intimidating. Just remember that my role as an instructor is to help you learn and I will provide feedback to help you improve as our class progresses. I will provide general feedback on the discussion board to promote deeper thought or give folks ideas on what they may want to add to fulfill requirements OR simply to promote learning. I will provide private feedback in grade comments, or by email if necessary. Just know that it is sooooo important that you participate in the discussions substantively. Your peers have a lot to share with you and amazing stories to tell.
Respectful communication is essential if we are to learn from each other. Please make sure you share your views in a manner that honors this level of openness. In addition, be prepared to support your positions based on the evidence presented in the text or other academic credential. If you want to challenge a personal opinion, you might consider framing it as a question for the entire class to consider (ex. If ____theory is true, how do we explain ___, Doesn’t the evidence discussed on page____ suggest that _____ would not be true?). Any posting that is inappropriate or is deemed harmful to these principles may be removed at the instructor’s discretion…but we have great students on this campus and that is very rare!
CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EXCELLENT DISCUSSION & PARTICIPANT CONTRIBUTIONS:
- Original Posts are submitted early in the session, and subsequent responses to the posts of other learners are added at timely intervals throughout the duration of the session. The goal is to have a dynamic discussion around the topic that lasts throughout the entire session.
- Each Original Post addresses the question, problem, or situation as presented for discussion.
- Posts and responses are thorough and thoughtful and include statements that are supported with examples, experiences, links, or references.
- When relevant, participants add to the discussion by including prior knowledge, work experiences, & life experiences (giving credit when appropriate).
- The postings & conversations contribute to the overall discussion thread that is being developed and help everyone gain better insight and knowledge of the material we are covering.
- Contributions to the discussions (posts and responses) are written for an academic setting (i.e. no texting lingo please).
- Although discussions in a psychology class can (and should) branch to other related areas, the conversations are still “related” to the main issues and often refer back to that original discussion question or topic.
- Most postings are approximately 75-150 words.
OTHER IDEAS FOR PARTICIPATION
- Share a related experience–your personal experiences, experiences of friends or family, or something you have read or seen (especially in the news).
- Expand on others’ experiences or expand on the main theme of the question (or class material for that unit).
- Quoting the text or other resource you have found is a great way to make a connection back to the topic.
- Ask students questions about their ideas/experiences.
- Try to use your posting to add value to the discussion. This is more effective than simply responding to meet a requirement.
- Consider an idea being discussed, and offer a different perspective on it.
- Describe an interesting idea from the week’s reading, and explain what insights you gained from it.
- Ask the group a question about the week’s reading.
- Provide an opposing argument for something presented in our text by providing a resource/source that demonstrates another view.
- Disagree (respectfully, of course) with a point that someone else has made (asking a question such as “what about…” or “what if…” can be respectful approaches to show another view)
- Discuss a related issue on which you would like some feedback.
- Describe how you have applied the recent course concepts to your personal/professional life.
- Share another resource you have used as you explored the course topics.
NOTE It’s perfectly okay to make a more casual comment from time-to-time…just like you would in the classroom. Many students post more than what is required simply because they enjoy “talking” to their peers and exploring the subject…that is GREAT and I encourage good conversation anytime. The tips above are just there to help you get the most out of our discussions, and should help you when you are trying to compose a post to meet grading requirements.
The connections students make may include personal experiences, what they have encountered through family/friends, or what they have observed in the world (news, public events, other courses, television & movie examples, etc.). Therefore, students are encouraged to share from a personal perspective. Students may also share opinions…but when students are using opinions as part of their graded responses they should make every effort to support opinions with some form of academic or public resource (website links can be great to use to support a different viewpoint).
As the instructor, I will participate on the discussion board, too. In most cases, I might share a related idea, intervene if a discussion goes off-track, pose more questions to help you consider other perspectives, or tie student comments together to help deepen student learning….much like I would do in a discussion in a traditional classroom. Occasionally, I may offer a correction if there appears to be a misunderstanding regarding our topic or related issue. I HIGHLY recommend that you read any posts I add (especially when I change the subject line)!! I might be adding a correction or question that will HELP you respond or develop a stronger conversation!! It’s not that my posts are more important…but my role is to facilitate the discussion, and help the class meet the learning objectives. If you miss a post I add…you might be missing a teachable moment.
Please be aware that I will not reply to every single post…that is too much like interrupting. Sometimes I wait a day or two to give others in the class an opportunity to question or point out significant points. So there will most likely be many discussion threads that do not need my comments since the participants are already bringing out critical details. Just know that even though I don’t comment on every post–I do indeed read each & every post. I will check the discussions daily during the week, and occasionally during the evenings and on most weekends. I also often monitor open discussions on my iPhone by subscribing to each open discussion topic.
SUBSCRIBING You can subscribe to any discussions or threads, too. Just click on the “star” icon beside the discussion or thread you want to follow.
Discussion Board Terminology
If you have never participated on a discussion:
- Participants: Anyone participating on the Discussion Board, including the students, instructor, or guest speakers.
- Original or Initial Post: A response to the “Original” discussion question presented in the assignment instructions and begins a new thread for the class. It is added through the “Start New Thread” button and it begins a new discussion thread. ALL PARTICIPANTS need to have at least 1 Original Post.
- Responses or Replies: Once a conversation is started by an Original Post, participants can add comments and build on the conversation through the reply button.
- Thread: Basically a single conversation within the discussion topic. A tread refers to both the Original Post and ALL the replies and comments that have been added under that Original Post. Participants can read an entire thread by clicking on the Original Post (or any post in the thread) and selecting the NEXT or PREVIOUS buttons in the upper right corner of the window. It is a wise strategy to read ALL the comments in the tread BEFORE responding. That allows the participant to clearly understand the whole conversation and know what has (or hasn’t) already been said.
- Subscribing: Participants on the discussion may “subscribe” to a forum, topic, or thread (conversation) by clicking on the star icon beside any of the options mentioned. If participants subscribe to a topic or thread, they will receive an email message or text message based on the criteria used in the notifications tool (click on the dropdown menu beside your name to go to your Notifications settings).
Sample Language for Dropbox (Assignments)
For this assignment,
- Download Interactive Worksheet 2.2Income & Expense Statement & Interactive Worksheet 2.3Annual Cash Budget
- Use these worksheets to record your personal income & expenses and budget. Use the chapter readings to analyze the data to get an accurate picture of “where you are now financially”. After you prepare the budget, you will have an accurate picture of “where the money goes”.
NOTE: Complete your budget for only one month. You are only using these worksheets to help get an idea of income required to sustain the quality of life you expect.
- DO NOT upload your personal worksheets!! Use the information from Chapter 2 and the information from the personal financial statements to prepare a reflection of the information learned from Chapter 2 and how you plan to apply that information to better your financial condition.
This reflection should be a maximum of 1 page, MLA format, with well-developed paragraphs using complete sentences. Remember to use spell check and grammar check before you submit your document. I am looking for Quality information, NOT Quantity.
Here’s some helpful information
Review this sample reflection so that you have a better idea of the expectations for this assignment.
If you are a little rusty on MLA format, here’s a link to bring you up to speed. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ (Links to an external site.).
Academic Resources for Unexpected Campus Closure
Some situations may arise which require the college to unexpectedly close for a longer than typical period of time and it will be important to continue the work of teaching and learning. These pages are focused on providing information, tools, and other resources to ensure that faculty, staff, and students have what they need to continue moving forward, even when physically coming to campus is not possible.
Explore the Continue Teaching from a Distance and Learn from Anywhere pages to view suggestions and available resources needed to continue service during a qualifying closure.
Faculty – Continue Teaching from a Distance
How to Communicate with Students
Make sure to clearly communicate your expectations with your students, share contact information including appropriate ways to connect with you during this time, and explain what resources are available.
Email (MS Outlook)
It is important during long-term closures that you consistently access and use your official NEO email address for all email related communication.
Email Classlist (D2L)
You can also email your individual classes through the Learning Management System, D2L. Email communications initiated with the D2L system are automatically forwarded to the official NEO email address for all instructors and students.
News Tool (D2L)
The News tool enables you to create news items that help communicate course updates, changes, and new information to students quickly and effectively. Since My Home or Course Home is the first page that students often see when they log in or access their courses, the News widget is a good area for displaying important information.
Distribute Course Materials
You will want to consider posting course assignments, resources, links, articles, videos and other important content using either the D2L Content tool or email.
Content Tool (D2L)
Use the Content tool to post and organize course content so that information about course expectations, course syllabus, lecture notes, and important dates display to users clearly. Course materials you post in Content can include documents, images, media files, presentations, URL links, and existing course activities. You can add release conditions, grade items, and learning objectives to topics to ensure users navigate through course materials while fulfilling specific course requirements and learning expectations.
Host Class Virtually
Zoom, a webinar-based tool, is a fantastic way to conduct a synchronous learning class session at a distance. Zoom offers the ability to create online virtual meetings via the web using audio and video conferencing hosted service all supported via mobile devices, desktops, and room systems. Zoom also offers group messaging and screen sharing capabilities.
Record a Zoom Meeting
You can also record a Zoom session, then provide a link to students to review the session at a time of their choosing. This is a great solution if a student is unable to attend live or if you prefer the ease of addressing students in a webinar environment rather than recording a video.
Discussion Board (D2L)
Use the Discussions tool in your course to encourage students to share thoughts on course material with peers. You can set up forums and topics for users to ask questions, discuss course content and assignments, and work together in assigned groups and sections.
Getting Started with Discussions (text documentation)
Assignments, Grading, and Assessment
There are a variety of options for taking your in-class activities and assignments into the virtual space. Below are ways to use (D2L) tools to collect assignments, conduct exams, assess assignments and more.
Dropbox (aka Assignments)
Learners use the Dropbox tool to upload and submit assignments directly into D2L, eliminating the need to physically hand-in, mail, fax, or email their work. Additional submission types allow instructors to provide feedback and assess students for work not submitted to the Assignment tool such as “On Paper Submissions”.
Instructors use the Dropbox tool to see users’ submission times, view submissions on the Evaluate Submission page, associate assignments to rubrics and competencies, and return submissions with grades and feedback. For assignments that included file submissions, instructors can download the submissions to their device for review offline.
Create an Assignment Using the Assignment tool (text and video resources)
The Quizzes tool within D2L provides a way for instructors to create fully online quizzes and exams. Create and manage quiz questions from the Question Library or the Quizzes tool, and organize quizzes into categories to make it easier to find assessments with similar or related content. Use the quiz preview option to test the accuracy of content and grading before you release a quiz. In a preview, you can answer the questions, view allowed hints, submit the quiz, auto-grade answers, read feedback, and view report results.
The same tool, “Quizzes” is used to create both quiz questions and exam/test questions and the system can auto score all question types except essay questions.
Use the Discussions tool in your course to encourage students to share thoughts on course material with their peers. You can set up forums and topics for users to ask questions, discuss course content and assignments, and work together in assigned groups and sections.
Getting Started with Discussions (text documentation)
Rubrics are an objective feedback and assessment tool that are easily created within D2L. The D2L system allows instructors to create and associate analytic and holistic rubrics using a variety of different tool based features.
The Grades tool within D2L is an application that is used to track grades and automatically keeps your grade book up-to-date. You can import, export, or edit single or multiple grades, etc. Users can also view their personal grades.