Consider Your Students First
Moving forward, we hope that you adopt this mantra: Be mindful of the student. When considering how to organize and present your materials, think not of the most innovative way to achieve production value in your videos or the most sophisticated technological tools to imbed in your course. Rather, focus on the perspective of the student. The first thing they need is to hear from you (via Announcements). It’s essential that they understand where you are as you plan for future weeks, what you hope to achieve for the rest of the term, the limitations you’re aware of, and your primary intention: to help them successfully complete your course.
From the student point of view:
- They may be less comfortable with technology that we think, and many will be using phones to access the internet. They may have data limitations and find it difficult to access online lectures. Because libraries are closed, we can't expect them to take advantage of those resources.
- Many students will be sharing their technology with other household members (parents working remotely or children also completing their own online assignments).
- Some students will get sick; others will be caring for people who are ill. This is not the time to ask for doctor's excuses, and making accommodations for students in these situations is encouraged.
- Childcare will be an issue for many. They may have LESS time to do their schoolwork than they had for the first part of the semester, even though most classes require them to complete final exams and research papers at the end of the term.
- Social isolation contributes to mental health problems, contributes to domestic violence, and because of disruptions in work, may cause additional financial stress.
The first concern of students may be understanding how well they’re already doing in your course and what they still need to complete in the coming weeks. Providing them with an up-to-date grade center that includes scores/feedback for everything they’ve already completed, as well as upcoming assignments, will offer them great peace of mind.
The resources in this website are intended to help you prioritize, plan, and create the materials needed to lead them to success. Columbus State has always been about caring for our students, and this is where we will shine.
Where to Start?
It may seem overwhelming to put your course online, but if you keep your objectives clearly in the front of your mind and follow a plan, the transition can be seamless. First and foremost, resist the temptation to add more content in order to "make up" for lost class time. Begin simply, with these strategies at the forefront:
- Support – What are my students’ challenges, and how can I use communication and an open mindset to move them to the end of the term? Many students will be using their phones, so limit large downloads and excessive video content.
- Need vs. Want – what do my students absolutely need to have in order to succeed? For example, do they need to synchronously view a lecture? Most likely, they do not—and many can’t. They do need the content of your lectures, even if they’re less-than-perfect versions. Do you usually give tests in class? You may need to use the Blackboard assessment tools to evaluate your students, or you may need to change the nature of your assessments.
- Prioritize – You don’t need to learn every tool within Blackboard, but you do need to decide which tools are essential. If you aren’t sure which ones you need to learn, now would be a good time to ask your chair or your lead instructor which tools are best for which tasks/assignments.
Step-by-Step: Converting Your Course
- Create a Blackboard Announcement for your students. Because we don’t know what’s happening in the future (and because something new happens every day), you may not feel inclined to communicate with students. But they need to hear from you now more than ever, even if it’s just to say that you’re working on the course and you believe in their success.
- Revise your syllabus. (If you have changed any assignments or due dates.) Make your students aware of what they need to accomplish and how they will accomplish it. Be as flexible with timelines as you can. Realistically determine what they must complete in order to meet the course objectives, and remove anything extraneous.
- Present your content. What will your students need access to, now that they will not see you in the classroom? Consider the best way to convey this information. This may involve written lectures, powerpoints, Collaborate sessions, or other presentation methods.
- Create a space for interaction. Depending on your discipline, you may need to replace in-class conversations and group work with Discussion Boards. It is recommended that, even if you don’t have a significant amount of student-to-student interaction in your traditional course, you should create a “Q&A Discussion Board” so that students can rely on you and each other for support and connection.
- Review your Bb Grade Center. Whether you use total points or weighted grades, make sure your students are up-to-date in their understanding of their progress and level of mastery in the course. Transparency of assignments from now until the end of the term is also essential.
- Revise methods of assessment. If your students discuss materials in class, create a discussion board for them to continue those conversations. If you use paper tests in class, convert those into online assessments in Blackboard. Consider alternative formative assessments in the course, such as case studies and projects that are not dependent on proctoring.