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UMass Dartmouth is encouraging faculty and staff to plan instructional activities to ensure student academic progress during this time when instruction is being moved online. We are sharing these resources with faculty to ensure a smooth transition with the change in modality. The goal is to maintain the delivery of instruction as much as possible in order to minimize the disruption to student progress.

Teaching traditional face-to-face classes online will require thought and preparation. This information is designed to help instructors transition course delivery online, where possible.

Step 1: Plan for instructional continuity

We recognize that the process of delivering an in-class course online is not trivial. The Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled "Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start" provides several implementable ideas.

Specifically, the article asks: What do you normally use your in-class time for? Try to define what you do in class at a higher, more goal-oriented level (e.g., presentation of content, checking for understanding, collaborative project work—instead of just saying “lecture,” “quiz,” “discussion”). If you keep those goals in mind, you will have a better idea of how to achieve those goals online, as well as what aspects of the in-class experience you ought to focus on simulating.

In particular, this mini-reflection should help you decide whether to go with a synchronous means of engagement (e.g., a real-time Zoom meeting), an asynchronous one (e.g., VoiceThread decks or narrated videos), or some combination of the two. An introduction to those tools can be found the next page.

The Office of Instructional Development has several tools that can help you with getting your course delivered effectively online.

Step 2: Move content online using these technologies

Step 3: Prepare your students

Students need to clearly understand that learning will continue even when instruction moves to another modality. Communication is critical for the smooth transition of delivering the course from face to face to online.

  • Communicate with your students (via email or by other means such as Zoom) that they can access content via Blackboard, as this will be the medium of information exchange.
  • Assure your students, via communication, that progress towards course completion is your goal and that all should be flexible in helping maintain a good learning environment.
  • Use the Announcement feature in Blackboard to communicate with students so they both receive an email of the announcement as well as see the announcement post when logging into their Blackboard course
  • Initiate discussions on Blackboard using the Discussion Board feature and encourage students to post questions.
  • Be sure to provide timely feedback to questions on the Discussion Board, as well as any assignments posted.

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