Tips for Working At Home

Hi everyone.  This is my second FLC post for today, but I wanted to share a presentation I made for the Sitka All-Campus meeting today.  This gives you some tips and strategies for working at home.

As we keeping moving forward I will try to keep you informed as I get more, and updated, information. Thanks for reading the FLC, and I’ll see you again next week. I hope you have a restful weekend!

New VoiceThread Mobile App

Do you use VoiceThread in your course?  If so you might want to check out the new VT Mobile App.  It’s been redesigned and could give your students more flexibility when using it.

Here is more information from VoiceThread:

Updated look and feel

A clean new interface makes navigating through your VoiceThreads a pleasure! We’ve streamlined workflows and added more features to help the app work just like the desktop version.

Brand new infrastructure

We’ve re-built the back end from the ground up to create a faster and smoother experience. Media loads more quickly and consistently, a greater variety of files can be uploaded from your device, and audio and video recording is much more reliable.

VoiceThread on a mobile phone , showing detail of virtual colored pencils for drawing on the screen.

Better organization

Sort your VoiceThreads in any way you’d like, including a new “most active” category that makes your current VoiceThreads available at a glance. We’ve improved searching, browsing your courses and groups, and account management.

Simpler sharing

We’ve brought the mobile sharing workflows in line with what you already use on your desktop, making collaboration easy even on the go.

VoiceThread on an tablet computer


Version 4 adds improved closed caption displays, better compatibility with mobile screen readers, and the option to translate the interface into multiple languages.

The VoiceThread Mobile App is available for both Android and Apple products.

I hope your first week of “hunkering down” went well. Have a great weekend!!

Moving Forward – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Percussion Instruments on a stage

Hi everyone.  I am writing this FLC with my son in mind.  He is a first year Doctoral student at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Connecticut.  His degree program is percussion performance, and his instruments are housed at the school.  He left for Spring Break with a plan for what he was going to do when he was back, but suddenly he finds that the school is locked and off limits to all students and faculty.  His life went into complete turmoil over the last week, and his ability to complete the semester is unknown at this time.  With the exception of one pedagogy course, he can’t complete any of his course objectives online.  He is angry and confused.  Although he understands the situation as a whole, the effect on him personally has been devastating.

Why I wanted to share my son’s story is that you will also have students with varying degrees of reaction to the events that have taken place.  Students may be angry, disappointed, surprised, sad, scared, or indignant…  You may find that some students are ready to withdraw from school.  In these crazy times, we are all in uncharted waters, and reactions will vary.

It’s going to be very important over the next couple of weeks to show that you care, and that you are working with your students so they know exactly what is happening, and what the plan is moving forward.  The changes are coming fast – not just day to day, but sometimes hour by hour.  I know you have been through a lot in a short period of time, but your students are also feeling the stress. 


In 1943 Abraham Maslow published the paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in the scientific journal “Psychological Review.”  In that paper he wrote about the hierarchy of human needs.  As represented in a Pyramid, he shows that we need to be fulfilled at the (wider) bottom stage before we can move up to the next level.  From the picture below, you can see that our most basic needs are Physiological, and then we move up to Safety, followed by Love and Belonging, Esteem, and Self-Actualization at the top.

Maslow Hierarchy Pyramid

One of the issues with COVID-19 is that it has changed our needs.  Where we may have been working towards self-actualization, we suddenly and without warning, are questioning Safety Needs such as health.  Other items that fall under the category of Safety Needs are stability, and the loss of order.  Interestingly, the motivation to fulfill these (lower tier) safety needs will become stronger the longer the duration they are denied.   As Faculty, we need to understand that when lower level needs are not met, progress towards the higher end levels could be slowed.  As we get back into the online classroom, this means you can expect students to be anxious and tense.

Man sitting at a desk with head in his hand while holding a pencil

Please reach out to your students individually.  Knowing that you are there for them will be comforting, and help to get them moving back up the “hierarchy of needs” ladder. Right now they need stability.

Also, make sure you are reaching out and talking to your peers, your Dean and Provost.  You want to make sure your needs are also being met.  If I was to leave you with one final message it’s this – Do the best you can and remember that your mental health, and that of your students, is more important than academic skills right now.  What is going to stick with us all is not how much we learned, but how we felt during this time.

Thank you for reading the FLC.  Keeping moving forward, and stay healthy!!

Remote Teaching Recommendations

Today’s Faculty Learning Corner gives you resources, tips, and recommendations for moving forward with remote teaching.  The form was adapted from Oregon State University. Let the Helpdesk, CELT, and your instructional designers know what issues you run into as we transition to remote learning.

Identify Expectations for Students

Consider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines.  Keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students’ abilities to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members.  Be ready to equitably handle requests for extensions or accommodations.  Adjust your syllabi and course activities, including graded work, to reflect what will happen as of March 23rd based on changing circumstances due to COVID-19.  Flexibility will be important going forward.

Tech Set Up and Checking

At a minimum, instructors should be prepared to use both Blackboard and a collaboration tool (Collaborate Ultra is recommended).  Prepare to work from home.  You’ll need a computer and an internet connection.  You can use a cell phone or tablet for basic communication, such as recording an announcement or lecture.  It’s important to test your equipment and connections well in advance.  Contact CELT if you just need to test or try something out (See links at the end of this document to find someone to contact).  Put the UAS Helpdesk on speed-dial and don’t be afraid to call them!!  Phone at 877-465-6400 or e-mail at

Communication With Support Personnel and Staff

Make sure that you have phone numbers of support personnel and staff that you might need to contact.  You will want the contact info for the Helpdesk and CELT.  Most will probably have phones forwarded, but make sure rather than assume.  Also, make sure that others can communicate with you also, by watching your e-mail and forwarding your campus phone.

Helpdesk Phone at 877-465-6400 or e-mail at
CELT email at

Forwarding your phone (must be done at your Cisco phone) –

Communication with Students

Post an announcement in Blackboard to inform students about how the course will continue to be delivered, how additional communications about changes will be communicated, and what your expectations are regarding how often they should be checking their course.

As an alternative, you can also bulk email students from the Blackboard Grade Center, or use student’s emails from the Classlist.  Under the current circumstances, you may find that students miss Blackboard announcements, but might respond to direct email.

Determine How Lectures Will Be Delivered

Consider whether you will prepare pre-recorded lectures or give synchronous lectures. Synchronous lectures can be recorded by the instructor in Collaborate Ultra. Recordings can easily be shared with students through Blackboard.  In Collaborate Ultra you can also go in yourself and pre-record a lecture or message.  The recordings will be in your Blackboard course and available to students. 

Blackboard Ultra Recordings

Preparation and Delivery of Course Materials

When creating content in Blackboard, instructors can place links to materials directly in the content area. These can help tie course content together and help students stay focused on the course. Use the instructions below to learn more about Blackboard.

Understanding and Managing Your Course Site

Adding Files and Links

Editing, deleting and moving content 

Hiding Content or Assessments

Discussion Board

Tests / Assessments

Grade Center

Preparation and Delivery of Assignments/Exams

High-stakes assessments will be challenging, so consider ways to break up high-stakes assessments into smaller, more regular assessments throughout the Semester.

Use Blackboard Assignments to collect documents or hand-written/scanned work.

Create Tests within Blackboard for quick assessment of student learning. Some Blackboard assessments can be graded automatically within Blackboard.

Think about other ways to have students show they’ve mastered learning outcomes.  You can assess through students work in online discussions, short recorded oral presentations, or short essay assignments. 

At this time assume that proctoring is not available.  You will need to talk to testing representatives on your individual campus to find out your ability to remote proctor.

Class Interaction Between Faculty and Students

In order to maintain substantive interaction with your students during a remote-teaching period, you should do this via the Blackboard discussion board and/or Collaborate Ultra. 


  • Blackboard announcements
  • E-Mail messages
  • Collaborate Ultra office hours/help sessions 
  • Phone Help
  • VoiceThread


For large classes and/or classes with small group work, consider setting up Group work in Collaborate Ultra. 

If delivering session live via Collaborate Ultra, students can interact in chat, breakout sessions, or ask questions. Students can set up their own Zoom meetings outside of Blackboard. 

Practices to Avoid


Do not hold synchronous class meetings, such as via Collaborate Ultra, at a time and day the class is not scheduled to meet 

Do not extend class beyond the time the class usually meets 

Do not add a class session during finals week 

Do not extend the course so that it ends after finals week 

Do not reschedule finals


Do not increase the amount of work students are expected to do, in fact you may need to reduce the amount of work as students get acclimated to their new working surroundings and technology.

Do not ask students to do the same amount and kind of work the syllabus initially expected them to do while:

  1. compressing the work into a shorter time period and/or
  2. reducing their access to instructor, peer or campus resources.

If you have more content than time, reflect on the student learning outcomes for your course and focus on those that are the most important.

Do not teach via individual consultation and tutorial unless you were going to do that anyway, such as office hour and normal individual email communications 


Outside of Blackboard and Collaborate Ultra, do not use additional technologies or tools you don’t normally use in the course. They can create significant barriers for students due to inaccessibility or additional costs. 

CELT Site and Links

Helpdesk Phone at 877-465-6400 or e-mail at

CELT email at

Here is a link to the UAS CELT (Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching) website:

UAS Instructional Design Network – Resources and “How To”

Remember Accessibility in the Rush to Online Instruction: 10 Tips for Educators

The following is a posting from the NDC (National Deaf Center) that was published on March 12.  I believe this to be an extremely important message and I have not modified it in any way.  Thank you for taking the time to read through this and applying to your courses.
Logo for the National Deaf Center

As colleges and schools scramble to take their teaching online in response to the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), educators must not forget — and must know how to make their instruction accessible to — deaf and hard of hearing students and their peers.

Under the best circumstances, they are students whose access needs are frequently unmet. In the extenuating circumstances of a pandemic, they are at risk of being forgotten altogether.

“This is a critical matter of equity and access for over 200,000 deaf students enrolled in U.S. colleges, as well as for 37,000 late-deafened military veterans in college and hundreds of thousands of deaf high school students,” said Stephanie W. Cawthon, PhD, director of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin College of Education, and an international expert on accessible learning environments.

Educators are rushing to set up online learning platforms with insufficient time and resources to ensure that they are accessible for all students. Inaccessible online classrooms are also an issue for hearing students, who may be striving to learn from homes crowded with other family members, in busy coffee shops, or at libraries where they have to engage in silence.

These ten tips from the National Deaf Center can help educators and institutions make sure that everyone has access to the same course content during these challenging times:

No. 1: Do a Status Check

Don’t think you have a deaf or hard of hearing student in class? You might and not know it: research shows only half of deaf college students file documentation or request accommodations. Let all your students know that the switch to online classes is an opportunity to update you if they have any new needs or unexpected challenges that need consideration. What may have worked for students in person may not work online.

No. 2: Remain Flexible, Because It Won’t Be ‘One Size Fits All’

Deaf students vary in communication preferences, and accommodations change across settings and context. When classes move from in-person to online, expect changes in accommodations as well. Accommodations for synchronous (everyone online at the same time) versus asynchronous (at your own pace) style courses will also vary. For example, a deaf student that uses an assistive listening system in a small-classroom setting might need speech-to-text services (i.e., CART, C-Print, or TypeWell) in a virtual classroom. Expect that not every service or support will be right for every deaf student.

No. 3: Capitalize on Using Captions

Research shows video captions benefit everyone, including fluent English users, students with ADD/ADHD or learning disabilities, English as Second Language users, and more. Plus the courts recently ruled that captions provide equal access to students as required by law. To add captions, follow industry standards, check out DIY captioning resources, or contact a captioning vendor. For videos you produce yourself, be wary of apps or programs that provide auto-generated captions, which are not considered equitable access due to their high error rate. Save yourself time and make sure videos you source or develop for class content are properly captioned.

No. 4: Test Your Video Conferencing Platform

Zoom, Adobe Connect, Lifesize, GoToMeeting. These and other platforms are used on campuses, yet their features vary widely — especially in how they customize the end-user view. Be mindful that incorporating service providers such as remote American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters or remote speech-to-text professionals onto the platform means testing various view options and features to ensure interpreters or real-time captions are easily seen on screen, and that any other accommodations work properly. Also consider:

  • For interpreting services, does the platform split the screen view or pin a video in order to permanently keep the interpreter’s video feed on screen?
  • For speech-to-text services, does the platform have the ability to connect and sync the real-time captions on screen?
  • If the view is not conducive within the platform, are there other programs or equipment that can be considered for separately casting interpreters or captions? For example, provide an iPad to a deaf student to cast interpreters through FaceTime, Whereby, Skype or other video software.
  • Have you considered your clothing or lighting? Video conferencing etiquette recommends clothing that is not “busy” and provides ample contrast with your skin, and making sure there is enough light in the room that is sufficiently diffused to reduce or eliminate shadows.

No. 5: Set A Few Ground Rules

Just a few online class ground rules about communication will reap major benefits. Establish turn-taking and participation protocol, such as using the raise hand feature, the chatbox, or identifying your name before commenting. Ask students to only turn on their video to ask a question, since limiting the number of participants on screen at the same time can increase video quality and size. Same goes for sound: tell students to stay in mute mode until they have something to say, to reduce background noise.

No. 6: Take the High Road

Nothing kills a class like a choppy connection. High speed internet access and high quality hardware are critical for remote access. Everyone in the online classroom should evaluate their own access to dedicated high-speed internet, quality webcams, and headsets/microphones. Some students and faculty may need to participate in courses at a library or other public space, so be flexible as everyone seeks out strong connections for online courses.
For a more reliable connection, encourage all classroom participants to connect using an ethernet cable, rather than using a wireless connection.

  • Advise students who rely on assistive listening devices in a classroom that they may need to consider connecting their computer’s audio directly to a personal device (such as a hearing aid or cochlear implant) or to noise-reducing headphones.
  • Ask students and service providers what devices they may have available for accessing online coursework (computer/laptop, tablets, smartphones, etc). If they need additional devices or access to software, check with the university to temporarily loan equipment.
  • Where possible, record live meetings and lectures in case there are issues with internet connections, technology, or accommodations.

No. 7: Learn More About Your Learning Management System

Sign language interpreters, tactile interpreters, speech-to-text professionals, note takers, and other service providers may not have access to your college’s learning management system (LMS), such as Canvas or Blackboard, or other videoconferencing and online resources. Many are independent contractors and are not provided an institutional email address or a user role on the platform. In some cases, the instructor may need to give direct access to the online course. Be sure to provide advance access to the LMS and your course materials so that service providers can be prepared to provide effective communication and support full engagement with deaf students.

No. 8: Make the Most of Office Hours

Establish regular check-in meetings with deaf students to verify their access to and comprehension of online content. If new accommodations are necessary, work with the deaf student and the disability services office to update accommodation plans. Familiarize yourself with how to use relay services should deaf students call during remote office hours, or utilize one-on-one video chats, texting, or LMS chat features.

No 9: Reach Out For Help

You are not alone. The National Deaf Center provides year-round support to faculty, disability services professionals, deaf students and their families, and service providers, including frequent listserv updates for professionals. Other online resources are Stanford University’s Teach AnywhereMapping AccessGallaudet University, and the National Center on Deaf-Blindness.

No. 10: Pay It Forward

Share these tips with your colleagues, administrators, and students. Let them know how you are planning to make your classroom accessible, and how they can too. Now is the time to come together as an educational community, support each other, and make sure everyone is involved in ensuring accessibility — no matter where the classroom is.

Defining ‘deaf’

Deaf students may use different identifying terms such as late-deafened, hearing impaired, hard of hearing, and more. The National Deaf Center uses the term “deaf” in an all-inclusive manner, to also include people who may identify as deaf, deafblind, or deafdisabled. The National Deaf Center recognizes that for many individuals, identity is fluid and can change over time or with setting. It has chosen to use one term, deaf, with the goal of recognizing experiences that are shared by all members of diverse communities while also honoring all differences — a concept explored in the video “What Does Deaf Mean?”

About the National Deaf Center

The mission of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcome is to close the substantial gaps in education and employment that exist for deaf people in the United States and its territories. It is a technical assistance and dissemination center housed at The University of Texas at Austin and federally funded by the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to provide evidence-based strategies at the local, state, and national levels. Information presented here does not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the federal government. (

Things to Think About When Moving Your Classes Online

I wanted to share some tips from Dr. Rebecca Barrett-Fox, Assistant Professor at Arkansas State University,  to help you move forward through the transition to online teaching.

Things to know about your students

Here are some things to think about as you move online:

  1. Your students know less about technology than you think. Many of them know less than you. Yes, even if they are digital natives and younger than you.
  2. They will be accessing the internet on their phones. They may have limited broadband and data since they can no longer use the school’s wifi.
  3. Students who did not sign up for an online course had no obligation to have a computer, high speed wifi, a printer/scanner, or a camera. Be aware that they may not be able to respond to the class quickly or easily.
  4. Students will be sharing their technology with other household members. They may have LESS time to do their schoolwork, not more.
  5. Many will be working MORE, not fewer, hours. Nurses, prison guards, firefighters, and police officers have to go to work no matter what. As healthcare demand increases but healthcare workers get sick, there will be more and  more stress on those who remain.
  6. Some of your students will get sick. Others will be caring for people who are ill.
  7. Many will be parenting as they continue to take the course – daycares are closing also.
  8. Social isolation contributes to mental health problems.
  9. Social isolation contributes to domestic violence.
  10. Students might be losing their jobs, especially those in tourism, entertainment, restaurant and hospitality.

Things to know about setting up your class for the remainder of this semester

And here are tips for you as a Professor as you create an online environment for learning (Note that this list would look different if you were going to make a permanent change to an online environment – these are more stop-gap tips.):

1. If you need to prioritize your work, put your energy into the classes that are required for your Department’s major or minor, or that are required by other majors or minors.

2. Do not require synchronous work. Students should not need to show up at a specific time for anything. Some may need the weekend to get assignments done.

3. Do not record lectures unless you need to. (This is fundamentally different from designing an online course, where recorded information is, I think, really important.) They will be a low priority for students, and they take up a lot of resources on your end and on theirs. A few short 5 or 6 minute topic based videos will go further than one hour long lecture.

4. Do record lectures if you need to. When information cannot be learned otherwise, include a lecture. You can record in both Collaborate Ultra or in Zoom. DO NOT simply record in PowerPoint as the audio quality is low. Remember that your students will be frequently interrupted in their listening, so a good rule is 1 concept per lecture. So, rather than a lecture on ALL of, for example, gender inequality in your Intro to Soc course, deliver 5 minutes on pay inequity (or 15 minutes or 20 minutes, if that’s what you need) and then a separate lecture on #MeToo, and yet another on domestic violence. Closed caption the video. Note that YouTube also generates closed captions [edited to add: they are not ADA compliant, though]. If you don’t have to include images, skip the video recording and do a podcast instead.

5. Don’t fuss too much about the videos. You don’t need to edit out the “umms” or the postal carrier ringing the doorbell. Editing is a waste of your time right now.

6. Make all work due on the same day and time for the rest of the semester (Generally this is a best practice overall!!). I recommend Sunday night at 11:59 pm. Students who are now stay-at-home parents will need help from others to get everything done, and that help is more likely to arrive on a weekend. While, in general, I dislike 11:59 due dates because work done that late is typically of lower quality, some people will need to work after the kids go to bed, so setting the deadline at 9 or 10 pm just doesn’t give them enough time.

7. If you use a textbook, your publisher probably has tests that you can download directly into Blackboard. Now is the time to use them. Despite publishers’ best efforts, these tests quickly float around online, so take a few minutes to add some anti-cheating protections. First, organize questions into test banks and have them fed to students at random. For example, if you want to ask two questions about pay inequity, select 5 of them from the test bank, and have Blackboard feed two of them to students at random. This makes it MUCH harder for students to work together, because they will never get the same exact test as a peer. Second, change the wording on the questions so they can’t easily paste them into Google. In example questions, changing the name of the person in the example is one fast way to make the questions harder to locate online.

8. Allow every exam or quiz to be taken at least twice, and tell students that this means that if there is a tech problem on the first attempt, the second attempt is their chance to correct it. This will save you from the work of resetting tests or quizzes when the internet fails or some other tech problem happens. And since it can be very hard to discern when such failures are really failures or students trying to win a second attempt at a quiz or test, you avoid having to deal with cheaters.

9. Do NOT require students to use online proctoring or force them to have themselves recorded during exams or quizzes. Remember, they are in the privacy of their homes, sometimes with children who will interrupt them. It may be impossible for them to take a test without interruption. Circumvent the need for proctoring by making every exam open-notes, open-book, and open-internet. The best way to avoid them taking tests together or sharing answers is to use a large test bank.

10. You have already had some kind of in-class work, I’m guessing, so you do not need to further authenticate their identities on exams. If you are suspicious that a student is cheating–for example, someone was previously performing very poorly on in-class assessments and is now scoring very well, which might make you think that they’ve hired someone else to take the class for them–address that situation individually.

11. Remind them of due dates. It might feel like handholding, but be honest: Don’t you appreciate the text reminder from your dentist that you have an appointment tomorrow? Blackboard allows you to write an announcement now and post it later. As you put your materials online, write an announcement reminding them of the due date to be released 24 hours before it is due. The morning of, send a note to everyone who has not yet turned it in.

12. Alert them to any material that is not appropriate for children to watch, including minute markers for scenes of violence or nudity. Again, you need to assume that they are doing their work with children in the background.

13. Make everything self-grading if you can (yes, multiple choice and T/F on quizzes and tests) or low-stakes (completed/not completed).

14. Don’t do too much. Right now, your students don’t need it. They need time to do the other things they need to do.

15. Listen for them asking for help. They may be anxious. They may be tired. Many students are returning to their parents’ home where they may not be welcome. Others will be at home with partners who are violent. School has been a safe place for them, and now it’s not available to them. Your class may matter to them a lot when they are able to focus on it, but it may not matter much now, in contrast to all the other things they have to deal with. Don’t let that hurt your feelings, and don’t hold it against them in future semesters or when they come back to ask for a letter of recommendation.


Thanks for reading the FLC. I hope this post was helpful!

Moving to Remote Teaching Quickly

We have entered into a new world this last week with President Johnsen’s announcement that we are moving classes to Online on March 23rd for the rest of Spring Semester.  I will try to share knowledge during this transition time with you, so expect to see more than just the regular Friday posts.

I’ll start with a great resource from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.  This is a quick guide to online teaching.  This contains advice for thinking about how to get your face-to-face course to the online environment.  Click on the image below to see the slides.

A Quick Guide to Online Teaching - Click to enter


From friend and Instructional Designer Kristen‌ ‌Bourgault‌: 

The following resources offer useful suggestions for educators who are being asked to quickly move into the online environment in response to school closures. 


How to Outreach Online Students
Very quick, straightforward, one-page list with tips for reaching out to students in an online environment. Author shared on Twitter and said all are free to use – if you share please include her original byline at the end to be respectful of her work.


Going Online in a Hurry
Article from the Chronicle of Higher Education with six steps educators can go through in order to make the transition, including listing out your learning activities, considering ways to give feedback, deciding on assessment strategies and making a plan for communication. 

Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption
A wonderful, indexed resource with a lot more detail, developed by faculty at Stanford.

Please Do A Bad Job of Putting Your Courses Online
Thoughtful advice for having reasonable expectations for both yourself and your students when rapidly moving online in a time of crisis and high stress.

Teaching in Times of Crisis
How to address the stress and anxiety experienced by students in “periods of crisis” developed by Vanderbilt – just some things to consider/keep in mind when working with both faculty and students during this challenging time


Remote Teaching Resources For Business Continuity
Massive spreadsheet with links to plans from a ton of colleges and universities for pivoting quickly to remote teaching in the event of interruption of regular business. Great to see what others are doing.


As I uncover more resources for you I will share them. Remember to contact your campus Instructional Designer, or another online faculty member for help and advice during this period of transition. Thank you for reading the FLC. I’ll see you again soon!!

Learning and Growth

I hope you are having a good Spring Break.  Today I wanted to give you just a quick one and a half minute video about learning from Dr. Michael Wesch, who was awarded 2008 U.S. Professor of the Year award from  CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Learning is Fun
  • You are not alone
  • Failure is fun and fascinating
  • Growth is real
  • The journey never ends

Let’s keep making learning fun!! And don’t forget that we are not alone in this journey!

I will see you next week with another FLC.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Update

Many aren’t asking if the Coronavirus is going to spread to Alaska, but are wondering when will it get here.   As we move towards education of this virus, and away from panic, I wanted to share a segment from CBS Sunday Morning that aired this last weekend (March 8th, 2020).

Coronavirus (3:20)

Although over 100,000 people have now been infected with the virus worldwide, most have mild symptoms. Those that are most at risk for severe illness are older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes). Like cases of the flu, these individuals  appear to develop serious illness more often than others. 

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19?

Here is how the World Health Organization has answered this question:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    • Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    • Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    • Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
    • Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places  – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
    • Why? You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas.

One more thing, that I was reminded of in the CBS Sunday Morning video, is that if you think you have Coronavirus, do not show up unannounced at the Emergency Room.  Check first (call ahead) with your healthcare provider, who can alert the ER to be ready for you.  

I hope you stay healthy and this latest virus threat passes by without harm. Let’s keep thinking ahead and continue to be smart about our healthcare! Thanks for reading the FLC!!

Tips for Online Learning

Here in Sitka we do a lot of Online Teaching. The video below is from Michael Wesch, a faculty member at Kansas State University, who made the jump from face-to-face teaching to online teaching. He has ten tips for online teaching, which you can watch in the video below. Even those of you that have been online teaching for a while will enjoy his perspective.

To review, here are his 10 tips:

  1. Simplify the structure
    • A simple course outline eliminates confusion
    • Go with a minimalist menu system
    • Build consistency and simplicity into each module
  2. First impressions matter
    • Engage students immediately
    • Show them what’s going to happen in the class
  3. Justify your decisions
    • Let students know the reasons for decisions made and that you care about the class
      1. How the class works
      2. Why you chose the leaning materials
      3. Justify the grading system
  4. Built community with video introductions
    • This not only build a connection with you, the teacher, but also creates student to student connections
  5. Have a discussion about discussions
    • This helps give students ownership of the ground rules of discussion
    • Discussions is where a lot of learning happens, and a place where student to student connections are made.
  6. Weekly overviews
    • Make overviews in multiple formats – PDF/Video
    • Overview of big ideas
    • Frame big questions
    • Get students excited about engaging in material
  7. Don’t waste their time
    • If you can do something in an hour that will save your students an hour – do it!
    • For example: give a master mp3 of materials (busy students can download and listen at their convenience)- saves them time and gives them flexibility
  8. Read to them
    • You can add commentary
    • This helps to show students how to engage deeply with the material
    • This allows you to voice excitement for material and how it impacts you
  9. Respond freely
    • Use unedited video – turn on the camera and be yourself
    • It’s all about connections with students
    • Be concise, don’t waste students time
  10. Get feedback
    • Make sure students can give anonymous feedback
    • Make adjustments as needed

Thanks for visiting the Faculty Learning Corner. I hope this helps you “go out and make a great class.” See you next week.