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Strategies: Delivery and Technology

Since each classroom environment, topic and teaching style is unique for all classes, CSULB instructors will decide the best course of action for a given specific scenario. In the event of a prolonged absence or campus closure, Academic Technology Services (ATS) will provide tools and methods to faculty for them to continue their curriculum online. The instructor will then communicate any alternate ways students can access their class lectures, notes and exams online. The goal for these solutions is to provide continued academic progress for our students.

Some things worthy of consideration:

Alternative Delivery Methods

  • Consider alternative course materials and readings:
    You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift more instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving.

  • Pick digital tools and approaches familiar to you and your students:
    Try to rely on tools (i.e., BeachBoardZOOMKeep Teaching and Learning Site) and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary. If a closure is caused by a local crisis, it may be already taxing everyone's mental and emotional energy; introducing a lot of new tools and approaches may leave even less energy and attention for learning.

  • Re-design lab activities 
    One of the biggest challenges to academic continuity is sustaining the lab components of classes. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space. Considerations as you plan to address lab activities:

    • Take part of the lab online: Many lab activities require students to become familiar with certain procedures, and only physical practice of those processes will do. In such cases, consider if there are other parts of the lab experience you could take online (for example, video demonstrations of techniques, online simulations, analysis of data, other pre- or post-lab work), and save the physical practice parts of the labs until access is restored. The semester might get disjointed by splitting up lab experiences, but it might get you through a short campus closure.

    • Investigate virtual labs: Online resources and virtual tools might help replicate the experience of some labs (for example, virtual dissection, night sky apps, video demonstrations of labs, simulations). Those vary widely by discipline, but check with your textbook publisher, or sites such as Merlot for materials that might help replace parts of your lab during an emergency.

    • Provide raw data for analysis: In cases where the lab includes both collection of data and its analysis, consider showing how the data can be collected, and then provide some raw sets of data for students to analyze. This approach is not as comprehensive as having students collect and analyze their own data, but it might keep them engaged with parts of the lab experience during the closure.

    • Explore alternate software access: Some labs require access to specialized software that students cannot install on their own computers. Depending on the nature of the closure (for example, a building versus the entire campus), your campus teaching and learning center might be able to help set up alternate computer labs that have the software your students need.

Library and Research Resources

For faculty and students, to contact your subject librarian, use the CSULB Librarian Directory.

Utilize the University Library's online chat service (found on the University Library's website) or contact your subject librarian for more information for a plan specific to you needs. 

Contacting Librarians

CSULB Librarians are available in a variety of ways virtually.  Daily chat is available, including weekends.  Email is always an option, as it has always been for answering questions related research or for consultations, or to set up virtual library instruction sessions.  Please see the individual library guides for specific information. 

Library Instruction

  • Library instruction is available in coordination with individual faculty and their librarians.
  • Library instruction may include email/chat consultations, research assignments developed by librarians and faculty together, instructional videos posted on the web and/or zoom meetings.

Materials Immediately Available

Digital/electronic materials are available via the CSULB Library website. This includes electronic articles, eBooks, videos, etc.​ Librarians can help with using online features to limit to only available electronic materials.

Revising Your Traditional Practices

  • Identify your new expectations for students:
    You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.

  • Create a more detailed communications plan:
    Once you have more details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with more information about how they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). A useful communication plan also lets students know how soon they can expect a reply. They will have many questions, so try to figure out how you want to manage that.

  • Collecting assignments and assessing student learning
    Collecting assignments during a campus closure is fairly straightforward, since many instructors already collect work electronically. The main challenge during a campus disruption is whether students have access to computers, as anyone needing a campus computer lab may be unable to access necessary technologies. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Require only common software: Students may not have access to specialty software located in on-campus computer labs. Be ready with a backup plan for such students.

    • Avoid emailed attachments: It may be easy to collect assignments in small classes via email, but larger classes might swamp your email inbox. Consider using BeachBoard instead. Balance what is simplest for students with what is easiest for you to manage.

    • State expectations, but be ready to allow extensions: In the case of a campus closure or other crisis, some students will undoubtedly have difficulties meeting deadlines. Make expectations clear, but be ready to provide more flexibility than you normally would in your class.

    • Require specific filenames: It may sound trivial, but anyone who collects papers electronically knows the pain of getting 20 files named Essay1.docx. Give your students a simple file naming convention, for example, Firstname-Lastname-Essay1.docx.

    • Because taking a higher-stakes exam online with proctoring can add to anxiety, try to schedule a low-stakes, participation-only practice test before scheduling a high-stakes exam. This allows students to confirm that they have the required equipment and sufficient internet speed. It also gives them a chance to get familiar with the process beforehand.

For more information and suggestions, see the campus Faculty Center or Academic Technology Services (ATS).

Helpful tips for remote communication and teaching:

It is important for instructors to know how to reach all of their students outside of the classroom (and for the students to be able to reach them). Both prior-to, and during the academic semester, it could help to:

  • Create and save a local list of each class roster, with names and email addresses. Let your class know that you will reach out to them via their CSULB address in case of emergency.

  • Access the course via BeachBoard routinely. Communications can be shared in multiple areas, including the news and announcements module

  • Consider synchronous virtual sessions (such as a Zoom Web Conference) as well as asynchronous discussions threads (via BeachBoard) to reach all learners in case face-to-face sessions are not possible.

For instructors who are making the move to an online-only format for the first time, it's important to craft clear and direct communications, clearly laying out intended goals and academic expectations. It is also important to not assume all students are digital native technology experts. They may benefit from modern technology learning resources (such as those learning videos found on LinkedIn Learning) or need extra training/advising on certain software or application features. 

BeachBoard is designed to administer assessments remotely. ATS Guides are available for instructors on how to:

CSULB instructors can manage their voicemails and mailbox settings in several ways:

  • Through the telephone
    • On-Campus: Dial 51234 and enter your telephone security code (for digital and VoIP phones, press the steady or flashing “voice mail” button).
    • Off-Campus: Dial (562) 985-1234 and enter your telephone number followed by your security code when prompted.
  • Online using the Web PhoneManager Portal
  • Through any csulb.edu email account. Be sure to set up the account via the Web PhoneManager Portal first in order to receive notifications with downloaded voicemail files.

Support Links

Continuity Support

Campus faculty looking for support should first consult within their department. Additional campus support teams and sites are available in assisting with technological and pedagogical questions.

  • Faculty Center - Serving as a central resource to campus instructors, the CSULB Faculty Center that enable faculty to thrive in teaching, scholarship and service. 
     
  • Technology Help Desk (THD) - The central tech support team for students, faculty and staff. From their site users can open a ticket, see listings of current technology-outages and see knowledge based articles related to topics such as BeachID, Email Accounts, and Accessing Campus Networks.
     
  • Keep Teaching and Learning - Academic Technology Services - Support on digital tools, the learning management system and web conferencing. 
     
  • Accessibility - The Bob Murphy Access Center (BMAC), formerly Disabled Student Services, assists students with disabilities as they pursue their university degrees. Services include a multi-faceted instructional materials center, autism services, deaf & hard of hearing support, learning disability programs, and academic/career advising.

Guidelines for Virtual Privacy Rights and Copyright from the California State University

Low-Tech Strategies for Instruction Delivery

Adapted with thanks from the Duke University - Keep Teaching Resource and Stanford's Center for Teaching and Learning Resource

  • If your students and/or you cannot access the internet – you can still hold meetings and discussions via phone conferences. CSULB Zoom Support is available
  • Assign supplemental writing prompts to be completed by students either individually or in groups.
  • Assign supplemental problem sets and case studies to be completed by students either individually or in groups.
  • Have students listen to podcasts that apply course content to novel or contemporary applications. Have students create podcasts (perhaps recording on their mobile phones and uploading to BeachBoard).
  • Assign supplemental readings and have students apply them to cases or writing prompts (either individually or in groups).
  • Send out your slide deck to the class and ask them to annotate the slides to show their understanding of the content. This can be done individually or in groups.
  • Send out discussion prompts and students can have discussions in online chat spaces of their choosing. They can submit the transcript of the discussion as evidence of the conversation.
  • Ask students to work collaboratively to generate review guides for final exams/projects.
  • Assign students to take exams at home in open-note/open-book formats to mitigate potential academic misconduct.
  • Administer a survey before the quarter begins to get a sense of your students’ situations.
  • Conduct 1:1 meetings virtually at least once during the beginning of the semester.

BeachBoard should be considered the central, virtual meeting place for the most up-to-date communication for all class information.

There are varied stages to academic continuity practices depending on the sort of closure or prolonged absence: 

For Students that are Unable to Attend Due to a Prolonged Absence:

For Instructors looking to enable live online viewing and remote participation (synchronous) in your classroom session - Zoom is a video conferencing tool for remote meetings, online courses, and webinars. Zoom can be used on desktop computers and mobile devices.

  • Zoom Web ConferencingAccess - all CSULB students, faculty and staff have access to Zoom.
    • Students are eligible for the Zoom Basic account which allows users to host meetings up to 40 minutes. To host longer meetings, students must purchase the Pro account directly from the Zoom website or choose other options.  We recommend no cost alternatives such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Facebook Group Chat.
    • Faculty and staff are eligible for Zoom Pro accounts which allows users to host group meetings for larger audiences and record meetings for future playback.
    • A Zoom Pro account is not required to attend and participate in a Zoom meeting.
       
  • How to login to Zoom, create a meeting and send an invite:
    • Login to Zoom by accessing CSULB Single-Sign-On and clicking the Zoom chiclet. 
    • After logging in, find and click the 'Host a Meeting Link'. This will start the session and provide you with a URL you can distribute to your class. 
    • If it's your first time using Zoom, you may need to download the application.
    • For faculty, Zoom sessions are limited to 300 participants. If more is necessary to account for a large lecture, please contact the ATS Software Depot
  • What sort of equipment is necessary for a Zoom conference?
    • At a minimum a microphone is necessary to communicate with participants in a Zoom meeting. Most hosts traditionally lead discussion with a simple USB headset plugged into their workstation.
    • Video is not required in a Zoom conference. Screensharing is available for hosts whether a camera is available or not. 
    • If an instructor is looking to procure equipment for a Zoom session, they should discuss with their college techs or check in with ATS Classroom Support Services. ​
       
  • How to record a live classroom session for online delivery outside of class time (asynchronous):
    • Zoom web conferences can be recorded and saved to the cloud. Note: it is important for the host to properly toggle the video conferencing to record from the Zoom interface. Zoom sends an email with a download link to the host after a meeting ends. 
    • There are both on-campus and at-home for lecture capture at CSULB through Academic Technology Services Instructional Design and Media teams. 

Our goal is to provide a seamless experience for our students so they can complete their courses and maintain progress toward their degree. If, however, a student does wish to withdraw, they can. The CSULB Enrollment Services Dropping and Withdrawing site covers how this action can be taken. 

Support Links

Campus Closure or Faculty Member is Unable to Come to Campus:

  • How to make a pre-recorded presentation available to your students:

    • Recording your lectures will certainly help students in the event of an extended leave, but is also a helpful practice to personally review lecture content, delivery style and comprehension. Various lecture capture options are available, including:

      • Kaltura Capture records your screen and/or a webcam view of yourself (or both at once), along with audio. Advanced features like live drawing and editing give you additional ways to enhance the content. Recordings are automatically saved in BeachBoard. 

      • Camtasia is a powerful, yet simple desktop or iOS screen recording software for those who want more editing flexibility and options. With Camtasia, you can also import images, audio files, and other video files to create a rich, multimedia experience. Camtasia is available on a complimentary basis through the campus Software Depot.

    • Recordings can be hosted and distributed via BeachBoard

  • How to deliver digital course materials or supplemental activities:

    • BeachBoard is the central delivery system for academic content. See the Academic Technology Services guide on uploading and organizing materials in the BeachBoard Course Content Module

    • Day 1 Digital Access (D1DA) allows students FREE access to the required course materials in a digital format on the first day of classes through BeachBoard. Discounted pricing has been negotiated with publishers.

    • Freely available to all CSULB constituents is the LinkedIn Learning Library (formerly Lynda.com). Using third party, but professionally-curated web courses on content is a good way to supplement digital instruction. While most courses center around business practices and software tutorials, the service has expanded to include learning pathways related to career development

Support Links