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
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.
Minimal Elements to Include in Your BB 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.