GSE Course Continuity Plan
Last updated August 5, 2020
- The GSE Online Team and University IT are here to support you by providing a continuity strategy and answering your technology questions for your online course delivery. This page outlines key points from the Office of the President if you would like a quick overview of Fordham’s reopening plan: Key Takeaways on Fordham’s Reopening Plan. The GSE will deliver courses almost exclusively online this fall: Read the Dean's Message.
- IMPORTANT NOTICE! Zoom cloud links to your recorded videos expire within 30 days of the recording. Make sure to download these recordings from the cloud and upload them to Fordham GoogleDrive or YouTube. This will ensure that your video lectures are preserved for your future courses. For any further assistance or questions, please contact Fordham IT online course support at email@example.com or the Faculty Technology Center firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Information for Assistance
Contact the staff in the Faculty Technology Center for assistance to create a hybrid or online version of your course: email@example.com.
There is 24/7 Blackboard support available on bbhelp.fordham.edu for chat or call 877-310-4667 (for both students and faculty).
For any technical assistance including internet connectivity or a computer at home, contact Fordham IT at 718-817-3999 or click on the Tech Help tab at My.Fordham.
If you’d like a one-on-one consultation to help translate your face-to-face course into an online format, please contact Dr. Rachel Um, GSE Director of Online Learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org or GSE Online Team at email@example.com. Lindsay Karp, Senior Instructional Technologist, is GSE’s Interim Liaison for IT. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance with BlackBoard or questions about how best to deliver content or assess student understanding through various media tools.
Steps for Your Course Continuity
To quickly move your class online, take the following steps:
- Locate your course in Blackboard
- Make your course available to students
- Post your syllabus
- Confirm your course name and roster
- Plan Live, Synchronous Class at the same time you normally hold class
- Blackboard Collaboration
- Zoom - If you have an account, set up a meeting for your class
- Communicate the location of your virtual class in Blackboard by creating an announcement and checking the box “send email”
- Please share this content with students who are new to online classes: GSE Student Course Expectations and Online Etiquette. This document includes: 1) general course requirements and expectations; 2) expectations for live, synchronous class sessions using Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate, Google Hangout Meet, etc.; 3) other technological concerns; 4) Fordham University policies.
Free Technology to Support Course Conversion
- Google Hangout Meet just extended its limit of meeting participants from 25 to 250 people for video conferencing.
- SMART Learning Suite Online is available to all schools affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
With additional time to plan, you can incorporate different learning strategies into your online course:
- Plan assignment submissions
- Discussion board
- Generating and Facilitating Engaging and Effective Online Discussions via TEP at University of Oregon
- Discussion Board Rubrics via iRubric for inspiration in creating your rubic
- Additional resources
- A/V recommendations
Note: assignments that take place offline or asynchronously will count towards the credit hour policy. Communicate regularly with your students using a weekly progress email, reminders, etc. Respond to your students within 24 hours.
Free Resources from Pearson. Pearson compiled some helpful tools that can support the build of your online courses.
Online Workshops and Videos, Additional Resources
"Gamify" Your Teaching
There are resources you can use in both synchronous and asynchronous activities that are especially helpful for test review, content knowledge assessment, or to take quick polls of students’ reactions and/or understanding of a topic. Free versions will be more limited than paid versions, but the free versions should suffice for your needs. Kahoot allows you and/or students to create original, fun quizzes. Taking these in synchronous sessions is always lively. PollEverywhere helps you create polls you can administer in live sessions as well. Slightly simpler tools include Google Forms and the poll feature in Zoom.
Webinars and Other Online Resources
- The GSE Course Continuity Resources Page includes slide decks and various videos and web resources from all three webinars presented by the GSE Online Team.
- Recordings of Past Webinars: find them here if you were unable to join us for our previous webinars on Getting Your BlackBoard Classroom Ready and Planning and Creating Asynchronous Materials.
- Fordham IT has scheduled a series of highly recommended online webinars to help you prepare your courses for online delivery. Introductory online webinars offer:
- Strategies for Course Continuity
- Blackboard Intro.
- Synchronous Tools - Blackboard Collaborate and more
- Asynchronous Tools - Screencasting and more
View Dr. Steve D’Agustino’s BlackBoard Classroom film. This ten-minute film “offers a new starting point for your flexible hybrid course. This video will walk you through the elements and the rationale for adopting this design.”
Read Dr. Steve D’Agustino’s Learning At A Distance Blog, which has posts on topics such as Zoom, VoiceThread, Perusall, and Library Services.
Listen to Dr. Anne Fernald and Dr. Steve D’Agustino’s Twice Over Podcast which challenges us to think creatively about our teaching and spotlights several instructors whose methodology we can infuse in our own courses.
Read the most up-to-date Faculty Technical Requirements from Fordham IT.
Tech Tools for the Classroom
- Have your own tech tool that you find helpful? Submit it to email@example.com with a brief explanation of how you use it. Your tip can be featured here!
- In the meantime, you can view our suggestions for tech tools to use in the classroom at our GSE Course Continuity Website.
YouTube Tutorials for Delivering Instruction
- Online Learning Environments: An Introduction - This video reviews the differences between synchronous and asynchronous approaches.
- Communicating with Your Students During an Interruption - This video reviews the various ways faculty might communicate with their students using simple tools.
- Managing Online Discussions - This video provides some guidance on how to conduct online asynchronous discussions and shares some evidence-based practices.
- For Synchronous Instruction -- Zoom. The interface is relatively user-friendly, and it has features (like breakout groups) that could be used to promote small group discussions. We will be using Zoom for all dissertation defenses and meetings.
Zoom Video Conferencing Tool
Zoom is now available to all students, faculty, and staff. It supports remote office work and course continuity. By now, you should have your own zoom account with your Fordham email. If you have any problems with your account, please contact IThelp@fordham.edu.
Fordham Zoom Quick Overview
Check this information regarding your Zoom account and quick How-To’s such as “Schedule a meeting and invite,” “Using breakout rooms,” etc.
Zoom Q&A Workshops
Fordham IT scheduled several workshops on the Zoom video conferencing tool. Use the link to check and register for workshops for using Zoom as well as for other Academic Technology support.
For those who are experienced with Zoom, this 30-minute video may be helpful. It includes information about breakout groups. View basic Zoom support information.
Screencasting Software -- for Asynchronous Sessions
Remember that asynchronous content can be just as purposeful and meaningful as live, synchronous class sessions. Some key tips for creating asynchronous content:
- Objectives. Include an objective at the beginning of each activity. For example, “By the end of this activity/lesson, you should…”
- Clarity. Use very clear and succinct language when writing any kind of directions. It is also helpful to specify a length range for written responses, i.e., 250-500 words, so students know what the expectations are.
- Motivation. Address the students as “you” so that they feel engaged when reading about what they have to do.
- Choices. There are many ways that students can share their understanding of content. You can tap into their creativity by giving students a choice of how to respond to a posting; for example, they can write a regular text response, upload a voice recording, or film themselves. Offering students choices can energize them by providing different ways to express themselves.
- Timing. Although students learn at different paces and take varying lengths of time to read or complete other assignments, providing an approximate length of time that you think it will take them to complete an assignment is helpful for students to schedule their day. Use your best judgement when providing these time guidelines.
- Personalization. It’s okay to insert your personality and voice into asynchronous work. If you want to add a dose of humor, go for it!
Recording and Sharing Presentations. This handout outlines a step-by-step process for screen recording lectures and sharing them with others. You can share this handout with students for their asynchronous presentation recordings, and you can also use this for creating your own asynchronous video lectures.
More Resources on Course Planning & Alignment
The GSE Online Team participated in a webinar from Quality Matters (QM), “the global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments.” QM gave us permission to share the following resources with all of you:
Building on Remote Instruction Successes: A Roadmap to Quality Webinar Recording (57 minutes)
Synopsis: “During the webinar, members of the QM team shared actionable ideas on how to cross the bridge from emergency remote instruction to quality online learning. Key concepts such as alignment, engagement, and interaction were introduced as well.”
Emergency Remote Instruction Resources
Higher Education Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist
Now & Later: Strategies for Transitioning to Remote Instruction for the Short and Longer Term Webinar Recording (51 minutes)
Course Alignment Resources
Course Mapping template and presentation
Articles on various topics
- Even with the most carefully crafted strategic plans, many colleges still face uncertainty about the fall semester. Read about it in “'The virus beat us': Colleges are increasingly going online for fall 2020 semester as COVID-19 cases rise” (USA Today) and “Covid Tests and Quarantines: Colleges Brace for an Uncertain Fall” (The New York Times).
- “What’s Next For Remote Learning?” (Inside Higher Ed). This article explores possible long-term outcomes from an investment in online teaching and learning.
- “How Designing Accessible Curriculum For All Can Help Make Online Learning More Equitable” (KQED). This article walks through the essential principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how to apply them in your online course.
- “Why 2020 Will Be Online Education’s Biggest Year” (Forbes).
- One key takeaway: “[T]eaching online is not simply reenacting a classroom session in front of a webcam. It requires rethinking teaching methods by understanding and taking advantage of the possibilities of certain tools, not becoming obsessed with the amount of information we provide, combining different methods to avoid boredom, inviting guests, and trying to share the burden and responsibility of learning with students. Nothing guarantees that a teacher who worked well in the classroom environment will be good when teaching online, and in that sense, creating spaces to share experiences and help develop skills will be essential.”
- “5 Traps That Will Kill Online Learning (and strategies to avoid them)” (EdSurge).
- Read this brief article for five major online learning pitfalls we may easily fall into. The article offers creative suggestions for how to avoid those “traps.”
- In this May 11, 2020 article, “The Single Most Essential Requirement in Designing a Fall Online Course”, by Cathy Davidson, she asserts that the most important ingredient when designing a course is thinking about the student. Students should remain at the center for all course designs and planning. Some key takeaways:
“We need to build our courses thinking about how students interact with one another and with us, thinking about activities beyond the screen that extend the lessons of the course. We need to be thinking about what we offer—curiosity, imagination, knowledge, power—that are antidotes to trauma.”
“We need to be human first, professor second. We need to design as humans for humans in a global crisis.”
“We need to design our courses with the awareness of pain, dislocation, uncertainty, and trauma now central to all our lives.”
- Opinion article, “The Future of College Is Online, and It’s Cheaper” (New York Times)
- Key takeaways:
- “Professors are pioneering new methods and ed-tech companies are developing platforms at a pace not seen before, providing a glimpse into the untapped potential of online education. Not to be forgotten, of course, is the fact that just a few years ago, a transition to online learning at the current scale would have been unimaginable.”
- “The pandemic provides universities an opportunity to reimagine education around the pillars of access and affordability with the myriad tools and techniques now at their disposal. It could make them true pathways of upward mobility again.”
- Opinion article, “On Not Drawing Conclusions About Online Teaching Now--Or Next Fall” (Chronicle of Higher Education).
- Key takeaways:
- “As arguments and opinion pieces about online learning continue to appear in the coming months, two points are worth remembering: First, we need to temper our expectations of remote instruction. Even if we are able to whip every faculty member up to speed on the latest digital teaching tools, we can never replicate online the full range of experiences that students have on a physical campus, including those who spend only a few hours a week there. We will hear complaints. We will lose some students, and we’ll have to wait for some who choose to defer. Second, the dissatisfaction we will hear — about the spring or fall semesters — should not lead us to hasty conclusions about either face-to-face or online teaching. We need to avoid lazy generalizations that fail to take into account the infinite variations of students who are seeking a higher education.”
- “Those of us who wind up in virtual classrooms again in the fall have an obligation to do everything we can to master the medium, and create the best possible online courses for our students. It’s OK to acknowledge that even our best efforts will not satisfy many students, without translating that acknowledgment into a universal dismissal of online teaching and without denigrating the work of the many thousands of faculty members who are providing transformative online-learning experiences for their students.”
- Recent Fordham news article, “Preparing for Uncertainty, Fordham Embraces Flexible Education Model.” A key takeaway is Fordham’s commitment to Jesuit values during remote learning: “The clarity and stability that are built into the flexible education model are also meant to enable the University to uphold the Jesuit tenet of cura personalis, or ‘care for the whole person,’ during challenging times. ‘Today’s generation certainly connects via social media to one another. Their sense of relationship is already very much tied to using technological tools. It is not as incompatible for them to engage in relationships virtually, and I think what we’re trying to do is build out opportunities for their relationships to bud and flourish,’ [the Provost] said.”
5 Tips for Distance Learning from Library Resources
This link takes you to the Fordham Library’s blog. Here, there are tips for distance learners. Though the blog post was originally written for MSW students, the content is all applicable to our GSE students.
Feel free to distribute among your students and encourage them to reach out to our Distance Learning Liaison Kirsten Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions about library resources and services. The content includes: 1) Familiarize yourself with ARES; 2) Learn how to find the resources you need at Fordham (and beyond); 3) Ask for help; 4) Build relationships; 5) Make the most of Fordham University services.
Please check the various resources our University IT put together for your course continuity: Fordham IT Remote Teaching Resources: Course Continuity Resources.
Keep up-to-date with GSE communications on COVID-19 virus and university communications.