I want to: Design | Teach | Administer

Design:

Design Accessible Course Content

Whether you are designing a course site in Sakai or Canvas or creating a PowerPoint presentation, many of the same principles are used to make course content accessible to all users. The tips below are based off of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), resources from UNC’s Digital Accessibility Office’s top 10 tips for digital accessibility, and the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) standards.

Quick Accessibilty Tips:

Universal Design for Learning Guidelines enhance accessibility through course design that works for all learners:

Useful Tools:

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Design a Resilient Course for Unknown Teaching Situations

You may wish to consider options for teaching concurrently in a classroom and over Zoom for the following scenarios:

  • Your own illness or quarantine
  • A student’s illness of quarantine
  • A student’s ARS-approved accommodation

All of these scenarios can happen at ANY point in the semester and may require your residential class to be available to someone who cannot sit in the classroom.

UNC and Gillings have the following resources to support you with this:

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Pre-Record Lectures

Whether you’re teaching over Zoom, in a classroom, or without real-time interaction, recorded content frees you up to focus on interaction – whether student-student, student-content, or student-instructor. Students can watch this content before interactions begin. Bonus: You can re-use the content without spending additional time on it in future semesters. Watch this video on best practices for recording lectures at home.

Useful Tools:

  • Zoom is the recommended tool for pre-recording lectures
  • Panopto (Sakai integrated) – Panopto is the video sharing and management tool integrated into Sakai for easy sharing and management of recording lectures.

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Structure discussions in advance

Whether a discussion is in a small group in the classroom or using an online forum, the question/topic can be the same and the interaction guidelines can be similar. Consider establishing discussion groups with specific roles that students can use either face-to-face or in a forum. Bonus: Students get different lenses with which to approach the content, which can help them uncover new perspectives and nuances.

Useful Tools:

  • Forums tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create asynchronous online discussion forums to replace and/or augment classroom/recitation discussions or in-person small group activities. Forums can be linked directly from the Lessons tool course content. Can be used to facilitate peer review.
  • Zoom – Instructors can create breakout rooms for live small group activity. Rooms can be set up in advance in your meeting settings.

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Optimize/streamline my course for online and hybrid modalities

  • Delay/change due dates of assignments for which you have the flexibility to do so.
  • Prioritize readings and learning activities that are central to the course.
  • Where possible, offer multiple options for students to express what they’ve learned related to course learning objectives.
  • Review your content and determine if you can group activities in different ways to make them more flexible in terms of consumption.
    • Can lectures be combined or group work be streamlined?
    • Can students choose from a series of topics and work in groups or individually to present on those topics?
    • Can quizzes and/or exams be streamlined or eliminated? Can questions be open-ended or made into reflection questions instead of multiple choice or true/false?

Useful Tools:

  • Zoom – Zoom can be used for both live online instructional sessions and for pre-recording lectures. You can also create breakout rooms for live small group activity and plan virtual office hours for personalized student communication.
  • Lessons tool (Sakai) – The Lessons tool is the optimal way to design a course in Sakai, including not just content, but a fully integrated experience including any other Sakai functionality you are using (like Forums, Assignments, Tests & Quizzes).
  • Forums tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create asynchronous online discussion forums to replace and/or augment classroom/recitation discussions or in-person small group activities.
  • Tests & Quizzes tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create online assessments with a blend of questions, from self-graded like multiple choice and matching to manually graded like short answer/essay. These can replace any in-person testing.
  • Assignments tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create online assignments that allow students to turn in documents/files for grading. Has tools to facilitate collecting, grading, and providing feedback for assignments.
  • Panopto (Sakai integrated) – Instructors can host video Sakai and very easily link directly into the flow of course content in the Lessons tool. Zoom cloud recordings can be automatically transferred to Panopto.
  • Announcements tool (Sakai) – post timely information and updates to students. Announcements are aggregated on course site homepage and under Announcements tool.
  • Messages tool (Sakai) – send email messages to all or select students. Messages go to student UNC email inboxes and are also aggregated on the Sakai Homepage “Message Center”, course site homepage, and in the Messages tool in Sakai.

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Build interactivity

  • Insert knowledge check questions or brief surveys after short lectures in Sakai or Zoom.
  • Create forums with clearly defined response and interaction guidelines.
  • Create groups with roles.
  • Build peer review into the course.
  • Let students see and respond to each other using Voicethread.
  • Have students create and deliver lecture on different topics (offer topic choices so students can pick relevant topics to their interests).
  • Consider creating “gamified” activities that build throughout the semester:
    • This could be a scavenger hunt that all participate in at the same time to solve a mystery or to write a paper or report.
    • Or a “puzzle” that comes together with groups or individual students providing individual elements to create a bigger picture.
    • Have students write (ungraded) “quiz” questions for each other with points for best questions and/or best answers.
    • Have students create scenarios, interviews, role plays related to the content that will encourage active online presence.

Useful Tools:

  • Zoom – Features like breakout rooms, screensharing, polls, and whiteboards help create more interactive experiences while using Zoom for live class sessions. Poll Everywhere (see below) can also be used within a Zoom session for more advanced polling and participation exercises.
  • Lessons tool (Sakai) – The Lessons tool has a number of interactive features, including inline questions, checklists, comments, and required/prerequisite content pairing, to create a more engaging and responsive course interface.
  • Tests & Quizzes tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create quick self-graded quizzes linked directly from content pages for more in-depth knowledge check questions, self-test activities, or polling.
  • Forums tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create forums for a wide range of student interaction, including group activities, role-playing, interviews, scenarios, etc. Forums can be limited to small groups or open to the entire class. Instructors can also give students the ability to create and manage their own forums.
  • Poll Everywhere (Sakai integrated) – Instructors can display polls live in class or in Zoom for synchronous interactivity. Polls can also be embedded in Sakai for asynchronous use. Polls can have “correct” answers for knowledge check questions or be used for feedback. Poll Everywhere participation can be recorded and integrated into the Sakai gradebook.
  • VoiceThread (Sakai integrated) – Students can create their own online multimedia presentations and share with the class. VoiceThreads can also be collaborative, with students and instructors able to comment on or add content to each other’s presentations.
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Have students do presentations online

  • Break up course content and assign topics to students for them to become resident experts in.
  • Have students plan and present/teach to their peers.
  • Ask students to develop activities relative to their topic for their peers to keep their presentations interactive and engaging.
  • Consider using the Jigsaw strategy, having students plan and present topics as a group.

Useful Tools:

  • Zoom – Students can present live in Zoom, or self-record and share via Panopto.
  • Panopto (Sakai integrated) – students can record directly in Panopto, or use to share Zoom recordings. Instructors can set up Panopto assignment folders connected to their Sakai site.
  • VoiceThread (Sakai integrated) – Students can create their own online multimedia presentations and share with the class. VoiceThreads can also be collaborative, with students and instructors able to comment on or add content to each other’s presentations. Instructors can set up VoiceThead assignments, tied directly to the Gradebook.

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Teach:

Teach Remotely / Online

A number of classes this semester and next will be either completely or partially remote. See resources below for strategies and technologies to help prepare your courses.

https://keepteaching.unc.edu/: The Keep Teaching site has strategies, preparation info, and resources for teaching remotely, including info on Sakai and Zoom.

https://cfe.unc.edu/: CFE has organized a set of trainings on how to teach remotely with Sakai and Zoom, no registration required.

Strategies and Resources for Teaching: This page provides strategies and resources to help prepare your courses for the Fall term and to help teach effectively with remote technology.

Sample Syllabus Text (Word Doc Format): Use these instruction sections in your syllabus to aid in student communication and set expectations.

Teaching from Home Checklist (PDF): Use this list of questions to help you plan for remote teaching.

Using Zoom for your class meetings or office hours? Panopto the video hosting tool integrated into Sakai, is the best place to host and manage any video content you are recording or self-producing and sharing in Sakai.

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Use peer review

One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Peer review provides students the opportunity to deepen their learning, especially when peer reviews are structured and modeled. And, when students are given guidelines by which to review one-another’s work (such as a rubric and examples of constructive feedback), they deepen their engagement with the content and return to their own work with a more practiced eye. Bonus: the work they turn in for a grade is higher quality – their grades improve, and it makes grading easier for you!

Useful Tools:

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Communicate expectations to my students

Strategies:

  • Create a communication plan before you start the semester. You could start writing your messages for each week and save them in a document to plan out flow and timing. You can add individual updates or notes before sending, but having your communications organized beforehand can help you identify where there might be gaps.
  • Adjust your expectations for student participation and communication given that they may occasionally lack internet access or may need to address personal safety, family care, illness concerns.
  • Set priorities, so students know where to focus the most energy if they cannot get all things done to the same level.
  • Communicate clearly how you will accept contributions and any deadlines.
  • Communicate grading requirements and rubrics early. Consider adding/updating rubrics for the changed structure/delivery methods. Focus on what is essential vs. what might be difficult to achieve with changed formats/support resources.
  • Update students as you make (or plan to make) any revisions/updates/adjustments to the course that become necessary while the class is ongoing.
  • Share with students how to keep in contact with you (e.g., email, online office hours, phone) and when you are available to support them, especially if those change throughout the semester.
  • Remind students of revised deadlines and grading criteria to help them remain oriented to the flow of the course.

Useful Tools:

  • Zoom – For quick communication, like class session follow-ups or weekly updates, you can also quickly record brief messages for students and easily post in Sakai through the Panopto tool.
  • Announcements tool (Sakai) – post timely information and updates to students. Announcements are aggregated on course site homepage and under Announcements tool.
  • Messages tool (Sakai) – send email messages to all or select students. Messages go to student UNC email inboxes and are also aggregated on the Sakai Homepage “Message Center”, course site homepage, and in the Messages tool in Sakai.
  • VoiceThread (Sakai integrated) – Instructors can quickly create VoiceThread presentations (either narrated slideshows, or webcam video) and post to Sakai for timely communication.

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Manage discussions

  • Encourage an environment where students feel as a community of learners, not just consumers of content. Allow a space or a time for students to connect and talk about issues that are not directly related to the class.
  • Let students choose topics that are relevant to the subject at hand and their own experiences, so they feel more personal involvement and commitment.
  • Provide alternate means of connection – allow students to choose their own tools if they work in groups (Slack, Google Hangouts, etc.) – clarify that there is no technical support, but that they are free to choose how to communicate if they have group assignments (more under Group Work below).
  • Structure your discussions ahead of time with defined roles – those could be the same in different teaching modalities.
  • Useful Tools:

    • Forums tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create asynchronous online discussion forums to replace and/or augment classroom/recitation discussions or in-person small group activities.
    • VoiceThread (Sakai integrated) – Students can create VoiceThread presentations and add video or audio comments or questions to those of other students to create an asynchronous online conversation.

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Hold Zoom lectures

  • Focus on the social aspect and connections with students in Zoom sessions along with conveying content.
  • Consider “lightning rounds,” Q&A sessions, or other activities that encourage all students to participate.
  • Break students into smaller groups with a targeted focus and have each group present results or summaries of their conversations. Consider pre-assigning breakout groups.
  • Consider using Zoom to introduce topics but allow groups to continue conversations throughout the week using other channels that they prefer, for example forums, and then come together again in Zoom to talk about the results.
  • Consider holding several shorter Zoom sessions with groups of students (rather than always the whole class together) to create a more personal experience.

Useful Tools:

  • Zoom – Zoom can be used for both live online instructional sessions and for pre-recording lectures that you make available through Panopto. You can also create breakout rooms for live small group activity and plan virtual office hours for personalized student communication. Features like screensharing, polls, and whiteboards help create more interactive experiences.
  • Panopto (Sakai integrated) – Instructors can host video Sakai and very easily link directly into the flow of course content in the Lessons tool. Zoom cloud recordings can be automatically transferred to Panopto, and various other video sources can be uploaded and easily shared.

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Answer questions in Zoom

  • Instead of allowing Q&A throughout the entire lecture, announce blocks of time where you will accept raised hands and read questions posed in the chat and answer them. Encourage students to write their questions as they come up but indicate you will answer them at specified times. This could be at the end of your lecture and/or throughout, at intervals defined by you that work with the flow of your lecture. Use your experience from the classroom about when questions commonly occur, if applicable. Consider creating short (5 min.) independent work segments (students watch a video or review a document, etc.) in which you can read questions posted to the chat. Spending a little time on pre-structuring your session will allow you and your students to plan ahead and organize.
  • Implement “lightning rounds” where each student gets a short time (this will depend on the number of students) to either ask a question or give a comment. This will ensure that all students are included, not only those who tend to proactively engage regularly. Announcing this at the beginning will also help encourage everyone to be fully committed to the lecture instead of potentially multitasking.
  • Anticipate common questions and create a FAQ document that you can post to the class before or after a lecture. Additionally, you can make this a shared document that students can use (during a specified time period) to add questions that you will respond to in that same document. Depending on the class, it might be a good idea to share this before the session starts, so you can prepare answers ahead of time. In other cases, a shared document might serve as a follow-up where you can share additional resources for specific questions.
  • Consider pre-recording your lecture or parts of it to allow more time for questions and discussion during the Zoom session.
  • Consider creating discussion forums in Sakai, polls in Poll Everywhere or Zoom, or questionnaires using Sakai or simple document shares that will help streamline the conversation and allow you to cover as much ground as possible during the Zoom sessions and follow up on questions in a dedicated space.
  • Whichever method you choose, announce it ahead of time and set expectations to help students get ready to participate and help you answer as many questions as possible.

Useful Tools

  • Zoom – Zoom can be used for both live online instructional sessions and for pre-recording lectures that you make available through Panopto. You can also create breakout rooms for live small group activity and plan virtual office hours for personalized student communication. Features like screensharing, polls, and whiteboards help create more interactive experiences.
  • Poll Everywhere (Sakai integrated) – For a more feature-rich polling experience, you can use Poll Everywhere within Zoom meetings. You can integrate Poll Everywhere responses with the Sakai gradebook to give credit for participation.

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Do groupwork online

  • Establish roles for group members so each student can focus on their specific tasks right from the start.
  • Provide detailed instructions, preferably before class time, so groups can be ready to work. Consider creating a group work plan along with your communication plan and hand it out to students early.
  • Consider allowing students, after they are assigned to a group, to use the tools of their choice (they will not receive any technical support) if they feel more confident using a tool that they are used to, or where they can exchange emojis and other personal expressions (Zoom, Google, Slack, others).
  • Consider encouraging students to create small consortiums or groups to study together (even if this is not a group assignment) or walk through the content together, similar to how they would work together on campus.
  • If you have group work in a residential classroom, be aware of noise level or unusual setups due to the reduced number of students. If social distancing will be limiting student group work effectiveness, consider moving all group work online. This will also ensure all students have the same experience if you are in a HyFlex or blended classroom.
  • Create documentation and rubrics as needed to help students understand the expectations and required outcomes of their group work, and how they will be graded.
  • Consider creating a template or requirement for each student to provide a short summary on how they contributed to the group.
  • Provide instructions for students to schedule Zoom meetings.
  • Adjust group work based on practical experience, for example in a socially distanced mask-to-mask classroom. Could students work on Zoom or shared Google docs even while in the same room?
  • Allow students to break out into groups in a different space if the classroom is not conducive to the particular type of interaction you want them to have.
  • Streamline group work as needed – check in with your students: Do they have to meet with various other groups and manage a complex schedule of Zoom meetings? How can some of those be combined? What alternatives are there? Can group sizes be varied to allow for more flexibility (Pairs, individual work with assigned pieces, etc.)

Useful Tools:

  • Zoom is the recommended tool for pre-recording lectures
  • Forums Tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create private group forums, and organize by activity, schedule, or topic. Forums can be linked directly from the Lessons tool course content. Forums can be directly graded and included in the Sakai gradebook calculations.
  • Lessons Tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create sections or pages in the Lessons tool that allow groups to post various types of content (text, links, documents, embedded video) directly on the page, as well as comments. Each group has their own page. Can be used for collaborative presentations or group communication.
  • Assignments Tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create group assignments that allow student groups to turn in a single assignment as a group. Any group member can submit the assignment and all members see the submitted work. Grading and instructor feedback applies to the group as a whole.
  • The Peer Evaluation tool allows you to easily deliver team-based peer evaluation surveys. Students evaluate the other members of their team based on questions and criteria you determine. Handout: How To Use the Peer Evaluation Tool

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Give participation credit in group work

Useful Tools:

  • Forums Tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create private group forums, and organize by activity, schedule, or topic. Forums can be linked directly from the Lessons tool course content. Forums can be directly graded and included in the Sakai gradebook calculations.
  • Lessons Tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create sections or pages in the Lessons tool that allow groups to post various types of content (text, links, documents, embedded video) directly on the page, as well as comments. Each group has their own page. Can be used for collaborative presentations or group communication.
  • Assignments Tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create group assignments that allow student groups to turn in a single assignment as a group. Any group member can submit the assignment and all members see the submitted work. Grading and instructor feedback applies to the group as a whole.
  • The Peer Evaluation tool allows you to easily deliver team-based peer evaluation surveys. Students evaluate the other members of their team based on questions and criteria you determine. Handout: How To Use the Peer Evaluation Tool

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Administer:

Schedule office hours

We recommend: Bookings app

Bookings
  • Bookings is a Microsoft Office 365 app, recommended if you want a scheduling tool integrated into your Outlook Calendar. See our Schedule Office Hours With Bookings to get started!

Links and Info:

Sakai Sign-Up Tool
  • The Sign-Up tool is recommended if you want a tool integrated into your Sakai site and the Sakai calendar tool.

Links and Info:

  • Login to sakai.unc.edu and go to your Sakai site. Click on Site Info, then Manage Tools, then find add the “Sign-Up tool to your site.
  • See this documentation on using the tool.

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Set up assessments to minimize cheating

We recommend: Sakai Tests & Quizzes tool for online assessments.

Also consider: Gradescope for exams where viewing student work on computing answers is necessary

Sakai Tests & Quizzes features to minimize cheating:

  • Randomize so not every student is taking exactly the same test. You can randomize either questions themselves (including drawing a random subset of questions from a larger pool), or response order on multiple choice questions.
  • Place a timer on the test so students have a shorter window in which to start and complete it.
  • Set feeback so correct answers are only available after the exam has closed.
  • Update your exams regularly, rather than use exactly the same exam semester after semester.

Gradescope features to minimize cheating:

  • Gradescope allows you to have students upload scans or photos of their work on test questions, and more easily view and grade that work.

Useful Tools:

  • Tests & Quizzes tool (Sakai) – Instructors can create online assessments with a blend of questions, from self-graded like multiple choice and matching to manually graded like short answer/essay. These can replace any in-person testing.
  • Gradescope (Sakai integrated) – an alternative online testing and grading tool integrated into Sakai.

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