Every day, I swear to myself I’m going to make this e-mail shorter (see Lesley Wheeler’s advice, below, about how to keep e-mails manageable for students), and then every day more and more information appears that needs to be share. My apologies! As with last week Friday, I’m providing a Table of Contents to allow you to skim to find what you want/need.
Take care, all, and please continue to let me know if there’s any way CARPE can help!
Your grateful colleague,
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- ITS Help Desk contact information, should you find yourself in need of aid as classes resume
- A comprehensive list of resources for making the shift to virtual instruction
- Resources on Twitter for using Canvas
- Advice on how to not overwhelm your students when using e-mail (or similar tools)
- A student guide to using Zoom
- Camscanner, an app that allows student to turn in assignments easily
- A virtual instruction faculty resource page developed by W&L colleagues
- A quick resource on effective presentations for Zoom or similar tools
- A resource for parents whose children have too much damn energy
1) ITS Information Desk contact information, should you find yourself in need of aid as classes resume
The ITS Information Desk is staffed from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 540-458-4357. Email will get the quickest response. During those hours, if a professor calls/emails about a classroom problem, the help desk will send out someone from classroom technologies to respond. If a professor calls from her or his office, the help desk will send out someone from client services to help. Otherwise, the issue will be routed to the appropriate ITS staff person.
2) A comprehensive list of resources for making the shift to virtual instruction
The following site was developed by the Great Lakes College Association. If, over the weekend, you find yourself looking for some last minute resources, this site is nicely organized by topics, covering both the tech tools and pedagogical/personal challenges.
3) Resources on Twitter for using Canvas
This resource comes to us by way of the ever-resourceful Helen MacDermott: if you’re on Twitter, check out #Canvaschat for advice/troubleshooting on using Canvas. The initial hashtag lays out four major questions about discussion forums:
- QUESTION #1 (Q1) How and when do you use discussion forums in your online course? (Answers will be posted as A1)
- QUESTION #2 (Q2) Providing feedback in discussion forums can be tricky. How do you navigate grading/providing feedback to students? (Answers will be posted as A2)
- QUESTION #3 (Q3) What are some of the creative or non-traditional ways you’ve used discussion forum tools with students? (Answers will be posted as A3)
- QUESTION #4 (Q4) How can you best support student interactions in these tools? (Answers will be posted as A4)
Basically how this works is that you enter #Canvaschat into the search function of Twitter. Once you’re on the page, look for the answers (A1, A3, etc.) that coincide with the question that mosts interests you (Q1, Q3, etc.).
Let me know if you have trouble with this, okay? I stink at most tech, but I’m semi-dangerous with Twitter.
4) Advice on how to not overwhelm your students when using e-mail (or similar tools)
Dr. Lesley Wheeler sent along the following advice for writing e-mails to students. These are, of course, guidelines, which means on occasion you may need to break them, but they’re very smart, especially in these trying times, when our students’ cognitive function is always already at risk of being overloaded.
- Begin and end in a friendly way, with expressions of care.
- Keep the to-do list brief and clear (2-3 questions or instructions, max).
- Try to send no more than 1-2 messages per week using e-mail. When term resumes, do your best to communicate almost entirely through Canvas, so students’ reminders are right there on the Canvas calendar-all in one place to minimize confusion.
5) A student guide to using Zoom
This next resource comes from Dr. Erin Gray, professor of Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry. It’s a useful tool from LACOL, the Liberal Arts Collaborative for Digital Innovation (don’t ask me how that name leads to that acronym) and recognizes that, as much as we assume our students are digitally-savvy, it’s not a bad idea to give them some guidance.
6) Camscanner, an app that allows students to turn in assignments easily
This next resource also comes from Dr. Erin Gray: it’s a guide to using the app CamScanner, which allows students to take photos of assignments with their smartphones and convert them directly into pdfs.
7) A virtual instruction faculty resource page developed by W&L colleagues
Dr. Alison Bell and Dr. Sydney Bufkin have collaborated to create a Microsoft Teams site for faculty to share resources during our pivot to online instruction. All faculty are welcome–indeed, encouraged–to share resources and raise questions about the peculiar challenges we’re all facing.
8) A quick resource on effective presentations for Zoom or similar tools
Here is a pdf of tips for creating live online videos, developed by Dr. Stephen Lind in the Williams School. Stephen is a specialist in communication studies. His guidelines are simple and useful, particularly the last one about eye contact. As with everything else here, of course, you should feel free to adapt to fit the particular circumstances of your course, your topic, and your teaching persona.
9) A resource for parents whose children have too much damn energy
And finally, from Gene McCabe: if your kids (or even you!) are losing it from being cooped up too long, stick ’em in some workout close, plant them in front of a screen turned to Joe Wicks’ YouTube channel, and then lock them in the room until they’re good and sweaty (at which, point, of course, feel free to toss them in the shower, because, ewww).
Every crisis has its hero, and it appears this particular pandemic will witness the rise of a long-haired, six-packed, fast-talking PE coach from London. Wicks’ enthusiasm is reminiscent of Richard Simmons, though his accent is infinitely less annoying. Enjoy. Or don’t. In desperate times, the goal is simply to wear the rugrats out, whatever means necessary.