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Keep Teaching


About

get teaching

KEEP TEACHING is a resource for faculty to learn how to design and facilitate courses online.


KEEP TEACHING  is redesigned to help you build a complete online course. We encourage you to start with the end in mind as you design your course for online delivery. Doing so will ensure you maximize the learner experience; leverage technology for greater engagement and efficiencies; and limit complexity for both course instructors and students.

To optimize KEEP TEACHING, we encourage you to use eCampus. In the spirit of backwards design, the best practices contained within this guide will be the same best practices you will employ as you begin to design and facilitate your courses in Canvas. 


quick start

Quick Start at a Glance for KEEP TEACHING

 
  1. Discover best practices for online teaching and learning.


  2. Design a quality online course with our easy-to-use tools and checklists.


  3. Integrate strategies to help you facilitate your online course once the semester starts.


  4. Create a cohesive communication plan to help your students navigate the online learning environment.


  5. Select learning technologies that complement your course design.


If online course design and facilitation is new to you, start with the “Quick Start” video in each section below. We also integrate time-saving sample content that we encourage you to modify to meet your needs.
 

Best Practices

for Online Teaching and Learning


Below are 5 best practices for online teaching and learning. You will find these best practices integrated into the tools we provide throughout KEEP TEACHING. We encourage you to take these into consideration to optimize the online learning environment for you and your students. 

Canvas Connection

Canvas Connection

 
The following 5 best practices are agnostic of the learning management system and technology. Gains you can make now will carry over as you transition to Canvas and be supported by its tools and features.  
 


Course Design

Course Design


Design your course to be student-oriented. Set students up for success by breaking the learning into smaller chunks. Establish a pattern of activity and due dates to take the guess-work out of your online course. And clearly describe your expectations for your students. You can also help your students dive straight into the content by providing them with clear instructions. Find opportunities to personalize student learning by giving students a chance to engage with you and other students.

Course Facilitation

Course Facilitation


Once the semester starts, you should see your role transitioning from course designer to facilitator. The quality of interactions between you and your students is a sign of a successful online course. There are three types of interactions you can design into your course and activate as you facilitate your online course.  
  1. Student-to-Content: Students are actively engaged in learning content. 
  2. Student-to-Student: Students communicate and collaborate with each other to foster the learning community.
  3. Student-to-Course Instructor: Students receive clear guidance and feedback from the instructor.

Assessment

Assessment


Prompt feedback provides opportunities for students to continuously improve throughout your online course. You can assess student learning two ways:
  1. Formative Assessments: Monitor student learning and are low-stakes activities that allow students to practice.
  2. Summative Assessments: Evaluate learning at a benchmark and normally are higher stakes.

Strive for a combination of both so that formative assessments can help students incrementally build confidence toward summative assessments. 

Communication

Communication


Communication is key to maintaining a strong connection to your students and ensuring your active presence in your online course. We provide you with a sample communication plan that includes language for the following:
  • Participation expectations for students
  • Preferred contact method(s)
  • Estimated response times for course questions and feedback
  • Guidance on tone for online communication 
  • Links to guide students to Texas A&M University resources 
  • Tips for generalizing your online course communication to create efficiencies when you teach your course again 

We recommend aggregating all of your communication through eCampus to create efficiencies for you and a central hub where students know they can navigate to find your communication. 

Accessibility

Accessibility


Academic accessibility is important for the inclusion of all learners. Necessary for some but beneficial for all, accessibility best practices and tools ensure that learners of all types and abilities are able to access what they need for quality education.

File Transformer allows students to personalize their learning experience by converting your course files into alternative formats that fit their needs, devices, and learning preferences. 
  • Benefits to Students: Improves the student experience by providing alternative and accessible formats of uploaded course documents. The accessible versions available will depend on the original document. Students may select the format that best meets their needs. Providing access to course documents in alternative formats is beneficial to all students, regardless of ability.

If you teach a class that has an interpreter, transcriptionist, or any other resource designed to assist a student with an accommodation, please contact Disability Resources to determine how best address this issue. See also Accessibility with ZOOM. 
 

 

Design an Online Course

Designing an online course creates an opportunity for you to plan what you want your learners to experience. This section will provide resources to help you:

  1. Map your online course so that you create alignment between course objectives, assessments, and instructional materials.

  2. Organize your course content into modules.

  3. Utilize a Course Design Checklist to guide you through the course design process. 


 

Course Mapping 


Course mapping is a helpful exercise to outline alignment between a course’s learning objectives, instructional material, and assessments. Course mapping assists with project management as you design your online course; reveals gaps in your course design; and allows you to apply learning technologies that augment your course design. Download the course mapping tool to guide your online course design. 


Organizing Content into Modules  


A module is a sequenced collection of subject-related materials designed to teach a topic or skill. Modules are the building blocks of an online course. Modules are most often associated with time (one week), although they can also be organized by book chapter, theme, or any other organizing principle you wish to apply to your online course. 
 

bp_space

 

Why Use Modules? 

Modules act as a great table of contents to outline and organize your online course. Modules also provide completion requirements and flow for students.


 

Canvas Connection

Canvas Connection

Canvas utilizes modules as a key tool in the course design process. The work you put in now to organize your content into modules will make the transition to Canvas easier for you.

 


quick start

Anatomy of an Online Module 

 

Modules act as a great table of contents to outline and organize your online course and provide completion requirements and flow for students. ​
 

 

  1.  Learning Objectives: Statements that define what learners will be able to demonstrate as a result of instruction.

     

  2. Module Overview / Introduction: Directions for stepping through the module that can be text, audio, or video-based content.

     

  3. Learning Materials: Readings, lecture content, etc. to support learning.

     

  4. Learning Activities: Assignments, discussions, projects, etc. to provide an opportunity to apply or practice learning.

     

  5. Assessments: Mechanisms to monitor and evaluate learning.


 

5 Step Guide to Creating an Online Module


 

checklist

Course Design Checklist

 

Now that you have considered the nine steps to quality course design, created a course map, and organized your content into modules, we suggest you apply the Course Design Checklist to ensure you are optimizing the online teaching and learning experience for you and your students. 


The Course Design Checklist contains nine foundational items (think of this list as your quick start), Universal Design for Learning principles, and applies pedagogical best practices to help you elevate the quality of your online course.

Download the Course Design Checklist

 


 

Facilitate an Online Course

The way you design your online course will determine the role you play once the course goes live. This section will provide resources to help you:

  1. Hear what students had to say about Keep Teaching at Texas A&M University during Spring 2020.

  2. Learn how to transform your learning activities into opportunities for online engagement.

  3. Plan for the time commitment facilitating an online course will take you (as motivation to design your online course prior to the semester starting!). 
 

 
 

Transform your Learning Activities into Opportunities for Online Engagement 


A well-designed online course creates both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for learning and engagement to occur. Synchronous teaching affords the chance for real-time learning encounters in which students, course instructor(s), content, and technology come together in a single place for a single purpose of instruction. 

We recommend you utilize ZOOM to create formal and informal opportunities for real-time interactions with your students.
  • Formal: Try lecturing synchronously via ZOOM, using the Share Screen feature to show your slides.
  • Informal: Hold online office hours via ZOOM to provide a time and space for students to ask you questions and receive feedback in real time.

 


Plan your Time Commitments as you Facilitate your Online Course 


While your physical presence in a course adds richness and value to the student experience, you will want to pace your visible presence to ensure you can balance engaging with students with other time constraints placed on you as you teach online. 

Communicate

Planning your communication strategy and aligning this strategy with the tools in eCampus will build in efficiencies while transforming student learning and your students’ overall experience in your class.  This section will provide resources to help you:

  1. Prepare your students for online learning by communicating expectations.

  2. Transform communication challenges into opportunities for a more robust online learning experience. 

  3. Discover communication tools and modify the sample communication to use in your online course. 


 

Preparing your Students for Online Learning

 

Your communication strategy not only keeps students in the know during the course; but if properly planned, you can encourage positive behaviors. Clearly articulating your expectations will help you facilitate and your students engage in your online course. 

Ways to Encourage Positive Online Student Behaviors 

  • Include information in a consistent way throughout the class to reduce the number of questions students may have.
  • Answer student questions by redirecting them back to resources you have already included in your online course. This will ensure you are getting the student to the right place and empower students to have a better appreciation for what is available to them in the course by directing them to links where you have provided further direction or information. 
  • Provide direct instruction about expectations for using video during synchronous sessions and consider alternatives for poor connectivity or limitations on devices.
  • Identify which course content is required versus which is supplemental. 
  • Build interactive elements into video and lecture content, such as asking questions or having students record video reflections, so that they get in the habit of engaging with course content. 
  • Err on the side of kindness. 

 

 

Checklist for Student Expectations


You can encourage positive online student behaviors by providing clear course expectations for the following. Link to university resources where applicable.
 

  1.     Participation and engagement guidelines 


  2.     Etiquette expectations


  3.     Aggie Code of Honor 


  4.     Policies for grading


  5.     Late work and make-up work


  6.     COVID19 information for Students  


  7.     Technology requirements 


Scenarios to Transform Communication Challenges into Opportunities

 

Challenge
 
  • Students email questions they should know the answer to.
  • Make conversations more public using the Announcements tool. 
  • Create a Discussion forum where the conversations are made available to all students.
  • Students may expect a faster reply than you are able to accommodate.
  • Communicate your email response times early in your course. Be sure to consider your availability as you establish due dates.


 

Communication Tools

 

Your communication strategy not only keeps students in the know during the course; but if properly planned, you can encourage positive behaviors. Clearly articulating your expectations will help you facilitate and your students engage in your online course.
 

Sample Email Templates

 

The sample email templates can be modified and used as a tool to quickly communicate information, particularly when you find yourself receiving multiple inquiries around the same topic.   

 

Communicating about ZOOM and ZOOM as a Communication Tool 


We encourage you to use the ZOOM tool integrated into eCampus to set up your reoccurring class meeting time. This will create one centralized place for students to find the ZOOM connect URL. 


Sample Communication about Class Meeting via ZOOM: This course will be meeting via ZOOM. Take the time to familiarize yourself with it by thoroughly reading all of the materials and the step-by-step instructions found here.  You may also choose to use ZOOM on your mobile device (phone or tablet). We encourage you to use your camera so that we can foster a sense of community in class. 

 

Canvas Connection
ZOOM Meetings can be scheduled from within a Canvas course. Both course instructors and students will access the ZOOM for Canvas tool from the left-side navigation for the course. The landing page shows information on upcoming meetings and previous meetings, as well as a list of cloud recordings, which will help students stay organized.

eCampus Communication Tools
 
eCampus has several communication tools. These include Email, Announcements, and ZOOM. Discussions can also be used as part of your communication strategy. We recommend that you use the communication tools in eCampus as a way to centralize information for your students.


Announcements can be used to notify students about important events, course logistics, assignment due dates, and up-coming exams. Announcements are retained in eCampus and can be emailed directly to students.


 

Learning Technologies

We encourage you to use the step-by-step guides below to learn the mechanics of the learning technologies Texas A&M University supports. In time and with practice, the learning technologies we use for online teaching and learning can fade into the background.   
 

Learning Technologies Supported at Texas A&M University

 

Texas A&M University supports and encourages the use of the following learning technologies:  
 

eCampus


eCampus


The Learning Management System provide a centralized space for course instructors to design and facilitate course content while simultaneously monitoring participation and assessing performance. Learning management systems also integrate opportunities for communication and engagement to help foster community in an online learning environment. We encourage you to use eCampus as a centralized tool for course design and facilitation.
canvas connection

Canvas Connection

Texas A&M University’s Learning Management System will soon transition to Canvas. As you transition your online course content to Canvas, you can look forward to enhanced communication, engagement, assessment, and grading features – with mobile capabilities that will create efficiencies and innovations for you and your students.


Zoom Logo


ZOOM


ZOOM is a video conferencing and online chat platform used increasingly for online education and social relations. ZOOM integrates into Texas A&M University’s LMS and allows for real-time exchanges between students and content; students and professors; and among students. We encourage you to use ZOOM in eCampus to improve the student experience in your online course.  

 



Additional Learning Technologies Supported at Texas A&M


Texas A&M University currently supports the following learning technologies. The Office for Academic Innovation promotes learning technologies that integrate into Texas A&M University’s Learning Management System as a way to optimize the teaching and learning experience for both course instructors and students.   

Accessibility & Learning Technologies

Learning technologies can support academic accessibility in an online learning environment. 

ZOOM integrates several accessibility features. We encourage you to explore our guide to accessibility with ZOOM.

File Transformer allows students to personalize their learning experience by converting your course files into alternative formats that fit their needs, devices, and learning preferences. 
 

 

Getting Started with ZOOM

Teaching with ZOOM

Getting started with ZOOM

Guide to Teaching with ZOOM



Getting Started with eCampus


 

Teaching with eCampus

Getting started with ZOOM

Guide to Teaching with eCampus

Creating a Module in Ecampus


Getting Started with Live Online Proctoring

Online Proctoring at Texas A&M

Getting Started Proctoring with ZOOM


(See also PDF download of Proctoring with ZOOM)

Getting Started Proctoring in eCampus 


(See also PDF download of Proctoring with Respondus Tools)

Texas A&M has enabled Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor in eCampus for the Spring 2020 term.

Respondus Lockdown Browser is a tool that works in eCampus to prevent students from accessing other applications on their desktop/laptop, including other browsers and communications channels, during the exam.

Respondus Monitor is a tool used in conjunction with Respondus Lockdown Browser in eCampus to record students taking the exam using Artificial Intelligence. This algorithm flags any testing irregularities for review by the faculty member and/or TA.



Additional Online Resources


 

Exam Options

We have developed two avenues to promote academic integrity when administering online exams: Live Online Proctoring with ZOOM and Proctoring with Respondus Tools in eCampus. Procedures for both proctoring options are provided below. We also encourage you to consider alternative assessment strategies if applicable. Please note that the options provided below are in lieu of paid live proctoring services.
 

quick start

Quick Start

 

To determine the best method for delivering exams for your course, you should consider: 
  • Question format type(s) for your exam
  • Whether you need to create your exam in eCampus
Then navigate to Live Online Proctoring with ZOOM or Proctoring with Respondus Tools in eCampus. With either of these proctoring options, you are encouraged to review recommendations to minimize academic dishonesty.
 
For information on how to create an exam in eCampus, view our Keep Teaching with eCampus materials or our e-Campus QuickTips videos on our YouTube channel




Live Proctoring Options

proctoring with zoom

Live Online Proctoring Using ZOOM

 

ZOOM is a tool that can assist in live proctoring exams. Below are best practices and recommended settings for using ZOOM to live proctor an exam. Please take note that best practices are based on One-Device and Two-Device options.

TIPS: For another comprehensive look at best practices used at Texas A&M, watch How to Proctor Exams in ZOOM - A Texas A&M Faculty Panel Discussion on Best Practices

 




proctoring with respondus

 

Respondus Tools Available in eCampus 


Texas A&M has enabled Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor in eCampus for the Spring 2020 term. 

Examity and Proctor U Update

Best Practices in Ensuring Academic Integrity when Creating and Exam in eCampus

 

Integrity

There are several recommended best practices available within eCampus that can assist with academic integrity. These best practices apply to creating an exam with or without the proctoring solutions provided above that do not require the use of proctoring.

  • Randomize Questions: Randomize the order of questions for every student so that no two students have the same exam order.

  • Randomize Answers: Randomize the order of questions for every student so that no two students have the same answer choice order.

  • Open Book Exam: Limit time allotted per question so that students do not have enough time to look up answers.  

  • Answer Availability: Make correct/incorrect answers available to students only after all exams are complete. 


TIP: The eCampus Test tool allows for random question and answer choice distribution to minimize cheating.

 

 

Additional Alternative Assessment Options

 

quick start
  • Journaling or Self Reflection
  • Laboratory Report
  • Essay Sprints / One-Minute Essays
  • Papers
  • Peer Feedback and Evaluation
  • Portfolio
  • Presentation (via ZOOM)
  • Video Projects or Digital Storytelling


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Zoom Security Updates and Administrative Recommendations

Helpful Messages to Faculty

More Help

As a reminder, if you have any questions or need assistance accessing any of the resources to KeepTeaching.tamu.edu, please contact Help Desk Central 24 Hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any questions or need assistance teaching online with any of the resources, please contact the Office for Academic Innovation Service Desk. We encourage you to review KeepTeaching.tamu.edu before contacting any of the support channels listed below. 
 


Help Desk Central 


If you have any questions or need assistance accessing any of these resources to KeepTeaching at Texas A&M University, please contact Help Desk Central 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

EMAIL: helpdesk@tamu.edu 
PHONE: (979) 845 – 8300


Help Desk Central also offers CHAT support at hdc.tamu.edu via the yellow Start Chat Now! icon.

Please note that the Chat feature is only available 8 am – 11:59 pm.
 


Office for Academic Innovation Service Desk

 

If you have any questions or need assistance teaching online with any of these resources to KEEP TEACHING AT Texas A&M, please contact Office for Academic Innovation Service Desk:

Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The Office for Academic Innovation will be working remotely and will not be available for walk-in support at our Heldenfels location. We are able to assist you through email or ZOOM, depending on your preference. If you would like a ZOOM consultation, please email us at aihelp@tamu.edu and we will email you with a ZOOM meeting link.