What it means to think ahead

When we make a sudden shift to instructing our classes remotely, we need to think ahead to how we will maintain our focus on our student learning outcomes, cultivate a sense of belonging for our students, and ensure that our resources and learning experiences are accessible and equitable.

Remote teaching protocols, when implemented during an emergency, do not become a replica of the classes we would have taught during a non-emergency situation. We need to be:

  • Flexible with our plans;
  • Thoughtful about the kinds of assessments we might need to amend/adjust;
  • Kind to ourselves and others during a time of uncertainty and (potentially) new pedagogies; and
  • Creative as we invent new ways to engage our students and ourselves in learning opportunities.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT ... PLAN FOR UNEXPECTED COURSE DISRUPTIONS DURING COURSE DESIGN 

  • Create a plan on how you could adjust your methods of communication, content delivery, in class activities, assignments, and assessments if there was a disruption. You can use the template for course continuity available in the Keep Teaching Sakai site for faculty to develop a plan for remote instruction.
  • Consider adding a section to your syllabus for unexpected disruptions to set expectations for students. See the following possible syllabus statement. 

Possible Syllabus Statement (please use if it is helpful)

Academic Continuity 

In the event our class is required, due to emergency, to transition into a remote teaching protocol, I will reach out to you via your Ithaca.edu email address to inform you of the expectations for our next class session. If such an event occurs, we may need to make modifications to our class schedule or course assignments, and I will let you know of those changes via Sakai. It is a good idea to ensure that you have downloaded the Zoom application to your electronic device (e.g., phone/computer) in the event we hold class meetings using this conferencing method. You will need to develop proficiency with Sakai and Zoom, our primary, campus-wide shared platforms for instructional continuity.

Please be understanding of yourself, of your classmates, and of me as we negotiate the changes required during an emergency situation. If you experience trouble with a transition or have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me so that I can support your learning. Given that we may all be experiencing disruption in different ways, I may practice greater flexibility regarding deadlines and attendance, and I may also modify my assessment methods. Please watch for explicit guidance from me in the time following any college-wide announcements regarding suspension of in-person courses.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT ... PLAN HOW YOU WILL COMMUNICATE 

  1. Subscribe to campus alerts for important college communications.
  2. Be in touch with your department chair and school dean.
  3. Draft an email to your students that outlines how your course will adapt.
  4. Confirm you will communicate with students through their Ithaca email and/or Sakai, and inform the students to frequently check their email. 

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT ... ASSESS STUDENT NEEDS 

Check in with your students... 

  1. Assess if your students have laptops with microphones and webcams, computers, or mobile devices, and internet access.
  2. Practice the technologies with your students in advance of digging into course content.
  3. Keep things "mobile friendly," as some of our students may be accessing their classes via phones and small devices. 
  4. Ensure your materials are adapted and accessible. Connect with Student Accessibility Services if you need assistance.  

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT ... KNOW Your TECHNOLOGY OPTIONS 

  • Become familiar with the core tools including Sakai and Zoom, which can mediate communication, collaboration and other instructional activities.  Visit the Strategies to Keep Teaching page for more in-depth information on topics related to the tools and pedagogies. 
  • For faculty members who are using Microsoft Teams for instruction, department or committee work, IT will continue to support Microsoft Teams along with providing an upgrade to the video conferencing feature. 
  • Confirm you have reliable internet access from your remote location. We are working on a plan to help faculty who do not have reliable high-speed internet access and will provide additional information when it becomes available.
  • Ensure that you have the technology you would need for a remote teaching protocol with you at your home. In the coming days we will give more advice and describe the process for requesting any technology you might need. Please make sure you have a computer, charging cord, webcams, microphones, etc.

How Can I Request a Laptop to Support my Learning, Teaching, or Working from Home?

  • Students: Students should complete the Keep Learning - Student Technology Request form (netpass login required). 
  • Faculty: Faculty members should have received an email from their Dean to assess computer needs. Please work through your Dean to request a laptop/technology equipment from IT.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT ... WHAT TO DO NOW 

Attend a Workshop or Webinar

The Center for Faculty Excellence and the Teaching & Learning with Technology team have put together a series of workshops and webinars. Visit the CFE Events page for topics, dates, and times. Announcements will be sent out via the Keep Teaching Sakai site, IC Teach email, and posted to Intercom. Watch your email inbox for more information. 

Build a Sakai Course Site and Make it your Central Meeting Point

We are prioritizing the use of Sakai for facilitating course continuity. Every instructor can create a course shell that is tied to the official Homer Roster, and most instructors already have a current Sakai site for their classes. Sakai is a system with which all students are familiar, and it can securely allow you to communicate with your classes, deliver content, engage in assessment and dialogue, and manage course logistics.

Learn to use Zoom Conferencing Software

Zoom is a web conferencing solution at Ithaca College. Hold everything from virtual office hours, online lectures, and large discussions with breakout rooms. You can even use Zoom to pre-record a presentation to your students. Even if you have never used Zoom for instruction before, you can learn the basics quickly. The Zoom tool has already been added to all Sakai sites for ease of access for instructors and students.

Make Sure Your Teaching Materials are Available from Anywhere

Backup your personal teaching materials (some of which may be stored on your Ithaca College issued computer) to online storage such as Microsoft OneDrive or a Sakai Resource folder in case you cannot make it to campus. Visit the IT Knowledge Base for several articles about Microsoft OneDrive for more information and how to back up your computer files. 

Connect with the Library 

  • Make sure you know your Subject Librarian and how to contact them. Visit the Library Directory for contact information. 
  • Visit the Keep Teaching Libguide for information about support services available that are specific to academic continuity. 
  • Make sure you and your students can log into the Ithaca College Library system from off campus. 

Connect with Faculty

  • Join the IC Teach Listserve! Supported by the Center for Faculty Excellence, allows the discussion of teaching and learning among Ithaca College faculty and staff. To subscribe, click the link provided and follow the instructions on-screen.
  • Visit the Sakai Keep Teaching site and check out the Discussion Forums including General messages, Q&As, announcements for trainings, and discussion threads for each School.