Learning Continuity: Moving Course Content and Instruction Online

**Current Updates**

D.I.Y. Video Information page

Learning Continuity Webinar Series 2.0

Having to transition quickly to online instruction has been a challenge for both faculty and students. The Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support is dedicated to helping you be successful and is continuing our learning continuity webinar series, designed to assist you in adjusting to the sudden shift from the traditional to the online classroom. We’ve added new topics to our series as we continue through these unprecedented times.

Sessions will last 30 minutes with an optional 15 minutes for questions and answers. Sessions are offered via WebEx Tuesday, April 7th - Thursday, April 9th at 10 a.m. & 4 p.m. each day. Registration is not required, however, visit our CIS Events page for log-in information.

Topics include:
  • Learning Continuity: Alternate Assignments: Demonstrations of Learning Beyond ExamsTuesday, April 7th
  • Learning Continuity: Group Work Makes the Dream Work: Facilitating Small Group LearningWednesday, April 8th
  • Learning Continuity: Having Conversations About COVID-19Thursday, April 9th

What's Working Forum

We are hearing many success stories as you transform challenges into opportunities and make solutions to problems. We've created an interactive What's Working Forum to give you a home to share your success stories with one another. Share examples of what you've done to make learning online work for your students and rewarding for you. Likewise, the forum's posts will offer new ideas and strategies to try when you need to make adjustments.

Virtual Office Hours

Just as you are holding virtual office hours for your students, staff from the Office of Curriculum & Instructional Support and faculty colleagues will be making themselves available “on-demand” to provide support to those working on learning continuity for CMU's students. Names, titles, brief descriptions of areas of expertise, and times of on-demand availability are provided for your reference.

Quick Tips for Webex Meetings

Faculty Guidelines for Evaluation of Student Work

Create and Deliver Online Assessments (Quizzes and Tests) - Revised


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The Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support (CIS) is here to assist you to determine the most effective way to maintain learning continuity and ensure student learning outcomes are met as you move course instruction online. Links to the resources you will need to successfully deliver your courses online are available below. It is strongly recommended you review these materials as the first step in your planning process. Additional resources are available on the Office of Information Technology’s Help Desk page and you are encouraged to continue to contact OIT’s Help Desk at 989-774-3662 or helpdesk@cmich.edu as the first point of contact for technical assistance.

If after reviewing the available materials additional assistance and consultation are needed, the CIS staff are available to support you, one-on-one, to plan for and successfully navigate the shift of course instruction online. To obtain assistance, please email CIS@cmich.edu or call 989-774-3615.

Developing A Learning Continuity Plan  

How might you adjust your face-to-face class session to an online learning environment? Possible areas for consideration include the following:

During a Closure or Displacement: Providing Learning Continuity

What elements of your in-class sessions can be replaced using online content and strategies? 
The following sections offer ideas for maintaining learning continuity. These suggestions were developed by staff in our office, CMU faculty, and incorporates ideas from peer teaching and learning teams across the country (e.g., Suffolk University Center for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence and Simmons University Faculty Fellows Hub). 

Each idea can be used independently, added to, edited, and/or used in conjunction with elements from other suggestions. This collection is not meant to address every possible scenario, and we recognize that every instructional situation is unique. Precisely which strategies you implement will be a function of the needs of your class, the anticipated duration of the course displacement, how you prepared your students in advance, and your readiness to use certain tools and systems. 

Maintain Continuity via Email (Short or Long Term)

As a low-tech avenue, you may wish to make contact with your students via email. The most expeditious way to do so is by obtaining a class list through Centrallink to find a list of student email addresses.

Adding, Organizing, and Deleting Course Content and Files in Blackboard

Course content and materials (e.g., PowerPoint slides, diagrams/charts projected to the front of the classroom) can be added to the course’s Blackboard shell and made available to students for review and reading. Make sure the course Blackboard shell is made available for student viewing. Watch this video overview of basic Blackboard functionality for additional information.

Create and Deliver Online Assessments (Quizzes and Tests)

Blackboard includes a robust toolset for delivering objective assessments (e.g. quizzes and tests) online. Quizzes and tests in Blackboard can include questions created manually therein as well as those imported from publisher test-banks and other digital sources. If test integrity is a concern, using Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor (LDB/RM), which are integrated with Blackboard, can provide additional layers of security for higher-stakes tests. Before enabling additional security (e.g. LDB/RM) please be aware that doing so introduces additional requirements on students, which may be difficult to meet at present. Specifically, LDB/RM, works only on PCs and Macs, and iPads, if specifically enabled.  Other devices (e.g. smartphones, Chromebooks, Android tablets, etc.) are not compatible. Determining your students’ current situations can help to inform how to best proceed. Therefore, in the current situation before requiring a standard test using LDB/RM, you may also want to consider alternate assignments to tests and exams.
As completing quizzes or tests online may be a novel experience for your students, it will be necessary to inform students of a test’s or quiz’s availability by sending an email, and may also be helpful to provide the students with this tutorial which addresses taking tests online

After students have completed the test, the results will be available to you in the course’s Grade Center.

Create, Receive, Grade, and Return Assignments Online

Students can submit their work to you through Blackboard, using an Assignment. A Blackboard Assignment provides a secure method for students to submit work and for your grade submissions and offer feedback.

Inform your students of the assignment due date, requirements, etc., by sending an email. As submitting assignments in Blackboard may be new to some students, sharing the Submitting Online Assignments tutorial with them may be helpful. 

As students upload their work, the submissions will be available to you in the course’s Grade Center. Several options are available for providing comments and detailed feedback to students, as well as sharing their grade.

Create a Discussion Forum to Enhance Interaction

One way to spark interaction with and among your students on course-related content is to craft an engaging discussion forum. Begin the forum by informing students what course content the forum covers and then author questions relating to that content for the students to answer. Finally, provide students with response requirements (e.g., the deadline for participation) and guidelines (e.g., how many responses, how long, and depth of participation). Check in on the forum regularly, acknowledge and comment on contributions, and help facilitate the conversation moving. 

Once you have developed the prompt, create the discussion in Blackboard to include an appropriately descriptive title and select the option, in the forum settings section, to indicate, "Participants must create a thread in order to view other threads in this forum." Send students an email informing them the Forum is available. Make sure the course Blackboard shell is made available for student viewing

Sample communication to students:
Login to Blackboard and locate the [INSERT FORUM TITLE HERE] discussion forum. Based on the questions provided, share your answers relating to [INSERT COURSE CONTENT TO BE COVERED HERE]. You should provide [INSERT RESPONSES REQUIREMENTS HERE] by [INSERT RESPONSE DEADLINE HERE]. Note: You will not be able to see your classmates’ responses until you post your own answers.

An alternate variation of a Discussion Forum over course content is to maintain learning continuity through the use of video. For example:
  • Locate an appropriate video (e.g., from CMU Libraries Kanopy Database, TED Talks, or YouTube).
  • Author questions relating the reading/video content to course content.
  • Author student response requirements.
  • Make the course Blackboard shell available if needed.
  • Create a discussion forum with an appropriately descriptive title.
  • Communicate to students.
    Sample communication to students:
    Please view the video [INSERT VIDEO TITLE AND LINK HERE OR [INSERT FORUM TITLE HERE]. As you watch, consider the following questions [INSERT QUESTIONS].

Pre-Recorded Interactive Video Lecture

  • Ensure you have appropriate equipment for recording (e.g., a working microphone and camera). Most laptop and desktop computers have these built in as standard.
  • Configure, download, and open Panopto recording software. For guidance, review this tutorial.  For a more comprehensive overview, watch the Recording Quick Start Video.
  • Consider the advice offered on our website for DIY video
  • Record your content, recognizing that the recording will not be perfect and that it will be better to provide students an imperfect product than nothing at all.
  • Distribute the video link by sending the students an email.
    Sample communication to students:
    In lieu of our recently canceled/displaced class, I have prepared a recorded session that will address important course content and provide guidance on your ‘next steps’ to complete [INSERT DETAILS OF TASKS, READINGS, etc.] prior to our next scheduled class meeting. The video is available here [INSERT LINK TO RECORDED LECTURE]. 

Synchronous (Real-time) Online Class Session

Sample communication to students:
In lieu of our recently canceled/displaced class, we will hold a real-time class session at [INSERT TIME HERE] on [INSERT DATE HERE] online via my WebEx room. Please join this session by accessing this URL: http://cmich.webex.com/join/[YOURGLOBALIDHERE]. If you have not used WebEx before, review this tutorial to get started. Before the session, be sure you have [INSERT PRE-ACTIVITIES HERE, e.g., required reading, viewing, etc.]. Arrive prepared to [INSERT EXPECTATION HERE, e.g., share one point you believe you understand well or share one point you believe you and/or others may not understand well].

Remember: Our staff are available to support you, one-on-one, to plan for and successfully navigate the shift of classes online. To obtain assistance, please email CIS@cmich.edu or call 989-774-3615.