Support from FASE's Education Technology Office

Transition your course online to continue teaching

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This guide provides an overview of suggested ideas for continuing your course in an online environment. The options vary in the amount of preparation they require and the load of work (e.g. recording a video takes more preparation and time than running a live webinar using an existing presentation file); please consider each option and evaluate which one works best in your particular situation. While many options are presented, it is likely that you will choose to implement one or two; there is no expectation that all of the ideas listed below be implemented.

It is highly recommended that you test all your tools prior to use. Some require more experimentation and preparation time than others (especially for first time use). If you'd like to schedule a support session, please contact the FASE Education Technology Office by email ([email protected]) or schedule a consultation.

1. Self-record and then share a lecture or other course content

Creating course content can be created using screen capturing software (it will record whatever is happening on your screen) and recording hardware (a headset will work just fine for recording audio); you definitely do not need a fancy recording studio set up anymore.

1.1. Ideas to get you started:

  1. Before you begin, review an this step-by-step guide on how to self-record your content (if you have time, you could also read the blog post about planning effective and efficient screencast content).
  2. Map out a plan of your video. Planning saves you time in the long run (see "Planning effective and efficient screencast content.")
  3. Refresh yourself on best practices for creating instructional videos.

Depending on the situation, you may or may not be able to fully invest in preparing for this recording. If you need to do something quick, see the "Record an on-the-fly informal message" or consider running a live webinar (that you may or may not choose to record and share to the class).

2. Record an "on the fly" informal message

Quercus has a simple but useful recording tool built into its rich text WYSIWYG editor. This can be useful for a variety of purposes (e.g. explaining assignment instructions), but in this case, you'll most likely be creating and sharing this type of unscripted content via an announcement. While this type of video is simple, it can be conversational (and imperfect - do not worry too much about small flubs) and can help create a strong connection between you and your students. In general, they like to see you, especially if you are sharing important updates and news.

2.1. Ideas to get you started:

  1. Practice by recording a video and sending an announcement (see "How do I record a quick video to share via an announcement?").

3. Run an online course session using Zoom or MS Teams Meetings

Zoom and MS Teams Meetings are the institutionally-licensed webinar tools (see "What is a webinar?" for a definition). Both options now offer Quercus integrations that allow you to schedule meetings from within your Quercus course.  Useful to run courses, office hours, training sessions, seminars, etc., these tools are designed to allow you to share video, audio, and screen content with an online audience. They also include interactive tools to help facilitate engagement (including breakout rooms, whiteboards, and polls).  

3.1. Ideas to get you started:

  1. You can use review recommended practices when hosting webinars (see the tipsheet Real-time teaching and learning online with webinars (PDF), note that the document references BB Collaborate which is no longer available at U of T).
  2. You can invite non-enrolled guests to your session (especially helpful for guest speakers, etc.) (see "How do I invite guests (non-UofT) to my Zoom session?" and  "Meeting Options for MS Teams Meetings").
  3. You can track student attendance in the session using built-in analytics (see "Check your attendance log" for instructions on viewing an attendance report for Zoom or MS Teams Meetings).
  4. You can choose whether or not to record the session (see  "What's the best way to record my Zoom sessions?" and "MS Teams Meetings Recordings"); this is recommended, to provide access to the content for those that were not able to attend.

Sharing your recordings with students: Uploading your recordings to a hosting/streaming service will allow you to archive your recordings for re-use, and create links that can be easily shared with your students. If you're unsure which service to use, see "Select a video/hosting streaming service" for a comparison of options.

Why don't we recommend uploading videos directly to Quercus? Not only will this chew through your course's storage quota, Quercus is not optimized for video playback and does not archive your videos for re-use.

4. Offer online office hours

In addition to its use to facilitate online class sessions, Zoom or MS Teams Meetings can also be used for drop-in or scheduled "office hour" sessions. These can be scheduled and moderated by any member of the teaching team.

If you wish to create the sessions yourself, you can designate another member of the teaching team as an alternative host (for Zoom meetings) or as a co-organizer (for MS Teams Meetings).

4.1. Ideas to get you started:

  1. Schedule drop-in online office hours. You can schedule a general meeting and then move students into breakout rooms for individual consultations (see: Use Breakout Rooms in Teams Meetings and  Using Zoom Breakout Rooms)
  2. You can also schedule private office hours with individuals using the Microsoft Outlook integration for MS Teams Meetings or the Outlook add-in for Zoom meetings.

5. Configure online submission for assignments, quizzes and assessments

Rather than requiring in-person submission, presentation, or other type of formally evaluated assessment; you can allow submission of the artifact or activity to be assessed digitally (see "How do I create an assignment?"). If you had planned a quiz, you could also do this online, allowing you to continue to collect important formative feedback from your students.

5.1. Ideas to get you started:

  1. Review the types of assessments (e.g. assignments, discussions, quizzes, even ungraded submissions) that can be submitted digitally (see "What assignments types can I create in a course?").
  2. Convert your in-person quiz to an online quiz (see "What types of quizzes can I create in a course?").
  3. If you want to hide the grades until a specific time (highly recommended), ensure your grade posting policy is set to 'manual' rather than 'automatic' (see "How do I select a grade posting policy for an assignment in the Gradebook?").

Proctored vs un-proctored online testing: Quercus quizzes are generally recommended for lower stake, formative feedback versus high stake, summative tests, mid-terms, and exams. If plagiarism is a major concern, you could consider an online proctoring application. Institutionally, U of T has agreements with two proctoring applications: Examity and ProtorU (see, "What to consider before you implement online proctoring").

6. Use the SpeedGrader to provide rich feedback

SpeedGrader is built into Quercus and makes it easier to evaluate individual student assignments and group assignments quickly. The tool helps close the circle on digitally submitted assessments. Not only do you want to enable students to submit online, you want to support the ability to provide rich feedback (from yourself or your teaching team) on those assessments.

6.1. Ideas to get you started using the SpeedGrader:

  1. To access the tool, see "How do I get to SpeedGrader from an assignment, quiz, or graded discussion?"
  2. You can mark students anonymously by disabling the ability of the marker to see student names (see "How do I hide student names in SpeedGrader?").
  3. You can leave feedback for your students using text, an attached file, video, or audio (see "How do I leave feedback comments for student submissions in SpeedGrader?") or you can add comments by annotation (see "How do I add annotated comments in student submissions?").

7. Support student-driven collaborative work

You can enable tools within your course that will allow students to meet, converse, and share their work virtually. Not all online activities have to be required or instructor-driven; you can enable and moderate a variety of tools that students can self-select to use when and as needed. Tools might resonate differently with different people, so offering multiple options could work to your advantage. In general, these activities would not be assessed.

  1. Encourage the use of the open Bb Collaborate course room; students can drop in here at any time to share ideas, get feedback on work, or just talk to one another (see how to "join your course room").
  2. Create Study Groups in Quercus that provide a private, online space for students within a team to collaborate (see "How do I manually create a group set?" or if the groups are less formal, "How do I create self-sign up groups in a group set?"). You can even allow students to create their own groups (see "How do I allow students to create their own student groups?") while still being able to view all the groups in your course.
  3. Allow students to create their own discussion threads (see "How do I allow students to create a course discussion?").

8. Add events and due dates to the calendar

Without an in-person reminder, it can be difficult for students to keep track of deadlines and due dates across their courses. One way to keep them on track is to use the Quercus calendar. The calendar will display all events/assessments added from each of their courses in one location. In the case of a longer absence or closure, this could be especially important as students' schedules will be less structured without formal class times.

8.1. Ideas to get you started using the calendar:

  1. You can add all major course events and deadlines to the calendar as early as you know them (perhaps even before class starts) (see "How do I add a non-graded event to my calendar?"). Assignments and quizzes that have due dates will automatically appear on the calendar.

9. Request lecture capture (both live or pre-recorded)

If you will still be holding a class but you know there's an extenuating circumstance which will result in low attendance (for whatever reason), you can make a one-time-only request to have the Education Technology Office record and share your lecture. We will do our best to schedule the class, depending on resource availability. You could also make this request if you'd like us to film you lecturing, without students present. This would be a way to share content to your course without students having to physically come to campus.

When confirmed, we will bring a camera to your course, configure a wireless microphone, record your class, and then edit it and post it to your Quercus course shell on your behalf. For full details about the existing lecture capture program, please visit our Lecture Capture Program page.

9.1. Ideas to you get started:

  1. Make a request for a one-time-only special lecture capture. While filming is done in real time (we capture what happens in class), editing and uploading the video can take a few hours due to the size of the video file. Under a larger recording load, this could take up to 24 hrs, depending on availability.
  2. Learn about what the literature is currently finding regarding the use of lecture capture within courses (See "What does the research say about lecture capture?").
  3. Review tips on how to ensure the success of lecture capture within your course (See "How can you help ensure the lecture capture program's success in your course?").
Still have questions? Contact the FASE EdTech Office