Classes are moving online for the remainder of the semester. it is important for instructors to maintain open communication with students. The continuation of academic services at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is happening through online modalities. Below are resources that may assist you in the transition. Please note that any face-to-face course moving online needs to complete a “Course Action Plan” by clicking on the Provost’s Guidance button below.
eCampus has technology resources available for loan, including document cameras, webcams, high quality microphones, tablets, webcam holders and lights, smartphone tripods, and USB headsets. Please take a look at our catalog and fill out a form to request equipment you need.
What’s Most Important?
Stay informed and keep your students informed…
UAF-specific safety issues and emergency information.
UA COVID-19 Updates
See recent official updates on system-wide updates.
Update Contact Info
Make sure your contact information is up to date.
Get Help from OIT
OIT can help with most technology and access issues.
eCampus Events & Support
Scheduled events to help you transition to alternative modalities.
Instructional Continuity Help
If you need a designer to help you rethink your curriculum or testing procedures, if you have questions about software, or if you have very little experience with online instruction, please ask your questions or make an appointment with an eCampus Instructional Designer by completing the linked help form.
Join us for beginning Blackboard Bootcamp to get the basics for tasks: how to make your course available , create announcements , add content , create a discussion forum, collect assignments , and create quizzes and exams.
Learn how to use Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to meet in real time with your students. This session covers how to: Create a session, share files , share your deskview and interact with students.
PHASE 1: Communication Planning
Let students know how the class will be held when classes resume remotely on March 23rd. You may not have a complete plan yet, but it’s not too soon to discuss the following topics:
- Where should they look for communication from you? What’s the best way to contact you? Where will assignments, readings, and feedback be found?
- Will the class continue in the form of remote synchronous sessions (at the same time as the class is usually scheduled) or will it be delivered asynchronously (meaning you will provide content they can access at any time)?
- If a student is ill, how will they be able to continue participating in the class or complete it at a later date?
- Some students, faculty, and staff will have few resources to take or deliver courses online. Keep an eye out for messaging from institutional leadership that provides guidance for this situation. Try to be empathetic with those who face this challenge and communicate with them as often as you can.
PHASE 2: Get Your Online Homebase Ready
Use Blackboard as your centralized home base for continuing your class remotely. You already have a Blackboard shell where your students have been auto-enrolled.
eCampus is holding Blackboard Bootcamps and extended drop-in hours, starting Sunday March 15th. There are both in-person and remote support options. Visit our events page to register for a 4-hour Blackboard Bootcamp, or simply stop by our offices in Bunnell 131.
- Go to classes.alaska.edu and log in with your UA ID. Your courses will appear in the “My Courses” panel.
- Upload content like reading materials and create assignment instructions into Blackboard. Let OIT or eCampus help if you get stuck!
- Create an Announcement – This is the first area students will see in Blackboard, so announcements are good for important information that students will refer to several times.
- Create a discussion forum where students can ask questions. You can save a lot of repetitive emails by instructing students to post their questions publicly in the forum (and asking them to check the forum for an answer before emailing you).
- Make your course available – This will allow students to access the course site.
- Send an email to all students from within Blackboard to let them know that the site is now available. Explain your plan for how class will be continued and where to find course materials in Blackboard.
Short Term Considerations
- Flexibility is key. If you’re having trouble, extend your deadlines. Be especially flexible with students who are sick or quarantined. Adjust your late and incomplete policies for those who don’t have regular access.
- If you have students with low internet connectivity at home and they become unable to travel to a place with internet access, consider how activities that require high-bandwidth can be adapted. Refer to the bullet above.
In the probable circumstance that UAF continues with remote classes through the end of the semester, you may worry about how you can recreate all the activities and assignments in an online format. The first place to start is by revisiting your course objectives. Our page on Significant Learning Experiences can help you start to reframe your objectives.
Teaching at a distance is different than teaching in a classroom. Some learning experiences simply can’t be recreated in the same way online. You may need to think creatively about the format of your assignments and make some adaptations. There are multiple ways to do this, and you can use a level of technology that is comfortable for both you and your students. Your main goal is to provide a way for your students to complete the core objectives of your course, in whatever form that may be.
Brown University has an excellent resource on adapting your course. It covers both low-tech and high-tech ways to adjust different types of assignments – discussions, labs, group projects, exams, and more. (Brown uses Canvas as their LMS, but Blackboard functions in the same way.) Ways to Support Student Assignments During Times of Disruption (from Brown University’s Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning).
Find the Right Tools to Teach
(meet online at the same time)
(complete at any time within a period)
|Lecture Recording/Online Class meeting||
Table adapted from the University of Washington Tacoma Instructional Continuity Page.
Resources for Blackboard
Find additional information and tips on managing your course in Blackboard, right here on this site.
Tutorials for Video in Blackboard
Below are tutorials that explain how to create video using tools available on the UAF media server (Kaltura), and how to share your videos in Blackboard.
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What Other Universities are Doing
eCampus has been trying to keep on top of what other universities are doing during the current COVID-19 outbreak. This resource compiled by the POD Network (the largest educational development community in the US) has been invaluable: Remote Teaching Resources for Business Continuity.
Here are some of our favorite instructional continuity sites from other institutions. They informed the creation of this page and will help us create more support resources for instructors at UAF as the situation develops.
University of Washington: Teaching and grading during the coronavirus outbreak
Starting March 9, UW classes are being held remotely. Their resource for instructors is the most comprehensive guide we’ve seen yet. If you scroll to the bottom, we like both the “Practices to avoid” section and the testimony from UW instructors who have had to rapidly move online.
Northeastern University: Digital Teaching
The mother-lode of in-depth Blackboard Tutorials for getting a course site up and running quickly! Go here if you are new to Blackboard, or very rusty.
UC Berkeley: Instructional Resilience Resources
They use the same tools as we do at UAF: Blackboard, Zoom and GSuite. There are great “Best Practices” infographics, flowcharts, and articles. Good thoughts on how your approach might change for large vs. small class sizes.
Brown: Ways to Support Student Assignments During Times of Disruption
We like this one because it talks about how to adapt assignments to meet the same learning goals in another format. It also covers a range of low-tech solutions – useful for instructors who have varying levels of comfort with technology.
UC Davis: Academic Policies and Guidelines for Canceled Classes
Very frequently updated page covering both academic policies and instructional guidelines during COVID-19. A great example of what a centralized, comprehensive emergency plan site can look like.
Clemson University: Research Lab Health Plan for the COVID-19 (disease)/SARS-CoV-2 (virus) Outbreak
Recommendations for people who work in research laboratories.
Indiana University: Keep Teaching
A solid and comprehensive resource covering all aspects of teaching online during emergencies. We like the simulation game (found on the top menu) that might help facilitate discussion with your colleagues.
UAF Instructional Designers
This page has been authored collectively by the experts on the UAF Instructional Design Team.firstname.lastname@example.org