Skip to Content

Remote Classroom Contingencies

July 1, 2020

Given new health and safety protocols, instructional changes, and other factors, faculty are encouraged to communicate with students on the following items: 

1. Information on “where” the class will be held on Monday, July 6 or the first class day (classroom, lab, Canvas, Zoom, Teams, etc…).

2. If applicable, information on how students in the class will be assigned to face-to-face or online/remote instruction on given class days. 

3. If technology or software are needed to participate in the class and how to access this technology or software and get support from ITAC.

4. Reminder on 10 Guiding Principles for Health, Safety, and Wellness at Texas State, including requirement to wear a cloth face covering and perform a self-assessment each day before coming to campus.

5. Importance of the Bobcat Pledge, including the responsibility for practicing healthy behaviors and following the health and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus and in the surrounding community.

6. Link to the Student Roadmap for more information on students’ return to campus. 

Course Syllabi

1. Address the mode of class delivery, access to class materials, examination procedures, and other instructional strategies.

2. State how office hours will be handled (i.e., Zoom, Teams, email, etc…).

3. Include statement on cloth face covering requirement, social distancing, and other principles for health, safety, and wellness, including the obligation to notify the Student Health Center if they test positive for COVID-19, or have had prolonged direct contact with someone who has tested positive. 

4. Include the following statement in the syllabus: 

Civility in the classroom is very important for the educational process and it is everyone’s responsibility.  If you have questions about appropriate behavior in a particular class, please address them with your instructor first.  Disciplinary procedures may be implemented for refusing to follow an instructor’s directive, refusing to leave the classroom, not following the university’s requirement to wear a cloth face covering, not complying with social distancing or sneeze and cough etiquette, and refusing to implement other health and safety measures as required by the university. Additionally, the instructor, in consultation with the department chair/school director, may refer the student to the Dean of Students Office for further disciplinary review.  Such reviews may result in consequences ranging from warnings to sanctions from the university. For more information regarding conduct in the classroom, please review the following policies at https://policies.txstate.edu/division-policies/academic-affairs/02-03-02.html, Section 03: Courteous and Civil Learning Environment, and https://studenthandbook.txstate.edu/rules-and-policies/code-of-student-conduct.html, number II, Responsibilities of Students, Section 02.02: Conduct Prohibited.

5. Provide general information on how disruptions to routine instruction will be handled, including communication method to notify students.

6. Include a pandemic disruption-tolerant attendance policy.

7. Specify appropriate assessment and testing that will ensure academic integrity.
 
Health and Safety Measures

1. Signs are being placed in classrooms to specify maximum seating capacity under the 50% density rule. 

2. Chairs in classrooms are being color coded to facilitate the 50% density rule for face-to-face class meetings (maroon & gold stickers). 

3. Classroom custodial services will spray classrooms nightly with a hospital-grade sanitizer using an electrostatic sprayer. The concentration is sufficient to kill the virus but low enough not to damage fabrics or corrode metal surfaces. The product has a long track record of use in hospitals and is safe. 

4. Classrooms will be equipped with surface sanitizing supplies, including sprayers, cloths, and disposable gloves for instructors’ use. Instructors are not required to clean surfaces as the nightly custodial cleaning is powerful, but the supplies will be there if an instructor would like to do so. Custodial services will restock supplies as needed. 

5. General recommendations for health and safety protocols to be adopted in internships/cooperative education/field trips/laboratories/clinical practice may be found in the recommendations of the Continuity of Education Work Group (to be published soon). Specific questions about health and safety protocols in these learning spaces will be addressed at the department or school level. 
 
More Information 

The university’s Roadmap to Return and Faculty Roadmap provide additional information and are updated regularly. The university has implemented the most effective risk mitigation measures available at this time to reduce risk.  As needed, the university will adjust its operational status and plan based on the evolving COVID-19 situation. The determination of the current operational status scenario and corresponding university operations is made by the President and President's Cabinet, in consultation with Chief Medical Officer Dr. Emilio Carranco and public health officials, and is based on guidance from state and local government officials.

Expand or Collapse all.
  • Presentation Tools

    Welcome videos

    Amanda North has created a YouTube channel for her classes.  Here is a link to one of Amanda's welcome videos (provided here with her permission):

    Welcome Video

    Mini-lessons

    If you need to deliver content, you can create mini-lessons that could be delivered synchronously or asynchronously. For example, you might post a PPT that includes a voice-over. A program such as Garage Band allows you to produce a quick podcast that students could listen to in conjunction with a PPT: reference specific slide numbers; you might also tell students to pause the video in order to answer a question that they could submit for a daily grade. To ensure "attendance," they would have to submit their responses roughly within the time frame of the class. 


    Library Resources 

    If your students are conducting research, you can include (online) library days, requiring that they submit a digital copy of one or more sources with an accompanying synopsis/summary/paraphrase. Again, you can require that they share these sources with another student who must critique the source and the synopsis/summary/paraphrase. The Alkek library has an online quiz, if your students haven't taken it. 

    Some other library resources for English: 

    For library instruction, they usually request 2 weeks' notice, but they have agreed to try to accommodate us, even if it's less than 2 weeks’ notice.


    Conferencing & Discussion Tools

    • Zoom: This is a versatile platform. You can interface using both video and audio features, share your screen and presentations, and use the built-in chat feature. Zoom has closed captioning abilities for students who may have accessibility needs. You can also create breakout groups, which is a great option for smaller group discussion and activities. Finally, you can also record meetings for reference. Zoom allows you to create a custom link for meeting sessions that is easily sharable.  Mary Rath has created a video for using Zoom.

    For class meetings and/or office hours, recurring meetings in Zoom allows you to set up a dedicated meeting each day/week. The recurring meeting will only have a single link, so you could just post it on TRACS/Canvas and not have to distribute a new code every day:https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/214973206-Scheduling-Recurring-Meetings

    N.B. All faculty now have pro accounts and our sessions are now unlimited in terms of minutes. (Used to be 40 mins, tops.) If for some reason your account hasn’t been upgraded, call 512-245-4823 and ITAC should upgrade you, but it should’ve been automatic.


    Canvas Conferences: This option is very similar to Zoom, with essentially all the same features built-in. There is also a nifty “Shared Notes” option, which allows you to pen notes shared with meeting participants. To use the Conferences tool, you simply create a conference in Canvas and students will be able to access it within the LMS.


    Canvas Discussions: At times, you might find audio and video discussions unnecessary or want to integrate other tools that allow students to submit more extensive written responses or post/link to other material. The Discussions tool in Canvas is a great way to encourage deeper analysis and critique between peers, whether during a class session or for homework. Students can respond more easily to others or to their own posts, and you can set specific timeframes for discussions, whether you’d like to limit them to the duration of a specific class meeting or extend them.


    TRACS Forums: Forums offers essentially all the same features that Canvas Discussions does, though it’s not as sleek.


    Peer Review

    One-on-One Peer Review

    You can easily simulate more traditional one-on-one peer review by having students post drafts and having their peers respond with feedback in the form of a written response, comments and changes on the actual draft, and other edits. Some good options for this include:

    • Canvas Peer Reviews: This is the most formal peer review option and allows you to manually assign peer reviews to specific students. You can create a peer review in ASSIGNMENTS and delegate from there. Student instructions for Canvas Peer Review: Peer Reviews.
    • Canvas Discussions & TRACS Forums: These have the same functionality.
    • Google Docs, SharePoint Docs (through Office 365), and OneDrive (also through Office 365): Students can also share, review, and edit documents using these tools.

    Mindy Adams' Zoom Peer Review 


    Small Group Discussion

    You might want to give students the opportunity to chat about their assignments and projects. You can easily organize this through Zoom and Canvas Conferences with breakout sessions.


    Group Workshops

    Group workshops are also great ways to examine and critique volunteer projects. You can invite volunteers to submit their drafts by a preset deadline to give students time to review and prep before the scheduled workshop. Zoom and Canvas Conferences are great options for this.


    Handling Major Assignments

    Assignment Ideas

    As you adapt major assignments or substitute new ones, some projects that are easily manageable remotely include:

    • Having students continue to write in their journals 
    • Responding to exercises in your textbook and submitting them via TRACS/Canvas
    • Completing activities in your textbook and submitting them via TRACS/Canvas
    • Evaluating a sample paper in TRACS Forums/Canvas Discussion
    • Drafting a reflection on their progress thus far in the research process and submitting them via TRACS/Canvas
    • Producing conference posters (students can design posters using these official Texas State templates from University Marketing
    • Presenting on various topics

    Submission Tools

    • Canvas Assignments
    • TRACS Assignments
    • TRACS Dropbox
    • Google Docs
    • SharePoint

    Ways to Embrace This (Rhetorical) Situation

    Finally, while not an ideal situation, this is a unique opportunity to discuss remote working environments within the realm of tech comm. Many students will be entering professional environments that require frequent remote work and online interaction with various tools, so this teaching moment might be worth your while.


    Sample ENG 1320 syllabus

  • First, try to stick to your original course calendar in terms of daily topics or types of activities, to help minimize students' disorientation with moving online. If your current course calendar doesn't already rely on a M/W/F or T/Th set of rituals, maybe this is the time to plan for it, so that it'll be the same each week. You could do something like this:

    Sunday: Send all students an email describing your plans for the week, including dates. In addition to sending it via email, post it to TRACS Announcements (or Canvas equivalent) for students' future reference. If you are comfortable doing so, make it a video of you reading the text (provide the link) AND include the written text of the video; adding a video will be more engaging for students while allowing them to re-read your message whenever. At the very start and end of the video, you can ad lib some friendly banter.

    -Monday - assign and discuss (via TRACS Forums or the equivalent in Canvas, maybe) a reading from the textbook OR from the web. Post 3 discussion questions and allow students to pick from them to write about in their Forum post, in a paragraph that includes a topic sentence, a reference to the text, and an explanation about how the student interprets the textual reference and finds it useful, interesting, insensible, etc. (Or you can adjust the paragraph requirements depending on how you're teaching body paragraphs.)

    -Wednesday - post a video of you giving a mini-lecture (5 minutes, max) on some grammatical or essay structuring (or whatever) kind of issue. Whatever you discuss, make sure it's something you already pay attention to when grading essays. Make a quick TRACS quiz (in Assessments) with 3 questions, each with 3 multiple choice possible answers, over that mini-lecture topic, and ask students to complete it. This doesn't need to be a graded activity, but you could give extra credit for completing it (6 weekly quiz completions = 3 points added at end of semester, 3-5 completed quizzes = 2 points, and 1-2 = 1 point... or whatever makes sense for you). 

    - Friday - maybe this day can be for some kind of peer review activity. Create groups of 4 students and email them, introducing them to each other, and asking them to work together on a peer review activity. You can try using a tool for this in TRACS/Canvas OR ask them to simply email each other their work, and then email responses (cc-ing you). This is a lot of email for you to contend with, so if I were doing this, I'd have a paper checklist or something to just note completion for each student for each Friday's peer review activity's 1) original student text sent and 2) peer review response. Then I'd move each noted email into a special records folder created for "graded" emails. The activity could be "writing engaging introductions" or "creating effective summaries of a published piece's section" or "mastering the mechanics of MLA in-text citations." Student responses to each other's contributions could be brief or substantial, as long as they are sincere. 

    Obviously, each day's activity should help students prepare for their upcoming paper. But at least they know what to expect for each week (in this example, it'd be Monday = Reading and Forum post, Wednesday = Mini-lecture and Quiz, and Friday = writing something and doing peer-review activity).

  • Created by Jon Marc Smith

    In addition to the information provided under "Small Classes,"

    • If your class enrollment is under 300 students, you can do Zoom. If over, you can’t. 
    • Consider cutting and compressing your assignments, taking care not to penalize students in the process, say by making one assignment worth more. Better to keep assignments and drop the lowest grade.
    • No secure testing, so keep that in mind. All in-class essays can be changed to open-book, take-homes. Develop questions that require synthesis of various readings to thwart plagiarism. When setting up Assignments in TRACS/Canvas, you should also click the "turnitin" box.
    • Consider using TRAC Assessments and Canvas Quizzes
    • Canvas has a lot of online functions. Instructions for Faculty: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10460-canvas-instructor-guide-table-of-contents 

    • Run staggered TRACS forums, IAs and lead instructor logging on at different times.
    • Virtual office hours with real-time replies by email or chat.
    • Here’s what else I’ve learned today about finding textbook pages for students:

       

    • Just in case you don’t know, Alkek librarians are scanning any available copies of textbooks (via reserves, etc.) – per rules governing fair use – at instructors’ request. Here’s what Stephanie sent me:
    • They do have a scanning service in the library now - if the library has the book in its collection, they can scan the pages for you and send you a file to upload. That's available through the form here: https://guides.library.txstate.edu/c.php?g=1011271&p=7331197


     

  • Created by Amanda Scott

    In order to make necessary transitions to remote instruction as smooth as possible, below are some suggested best practices and ideas for the ENG 3303 space.

    Reading & Course Materials

    • Make sure students have access to all course readings, including textbook-based and other supplementary readings.
    • Be sure to house or link to supplementary readings and other course materials in Canvas Files or TRACS Resources. If you don’t have access to a scanner, there are a number of apps like Genius Scan that allow you to take photos of documents with your phone and convert them to sleek PDF files you can easily upload.

    Conferencing & Discussion Tools

    Whether discussing the readings, examining case studies, critiquing samples, or working in groups, conferencing and discussion tools are pretty essential to the ENG 3303 classroom. All the options below are effective, some more than others.

    Conferencing Tools

    • Zoom: This is a versatile platform. You can interface using both video and audio features, share your screen and presentations, and use the built-in chat feature. You can also create breakout groups, which is a great option for smaller group discussion and activities. Finally, you can also record meetings for reference. Zoom allows you to create a custom link for meeting sessions that is easily sharable.
    • Canvas Conferences: This option is very similar to Zoom, with essentially all the same features built-in. There is also a nifty “Shared Notes” option, which allows you to pen notes shared with meeting participants. To use the Conferences tool, you simply create a conference in Canvas and students will be able to access it within the LMS.

    Discussion & Response Tools

    • Canvas Discussions: At times, you might find audio and video discussions unnecessary or want to integrate other tools that allow students to submit more extensive written responses or post/link to other material. The Discussions tool in Canvas is a great way to encourage deeper analysis and critique between peers, whether during a class session or for homework. Students can respond more easily to others or to their own posts, and you can set specific timeframes for discussions, whether you’d like to limit them to the duration of a specific class meeting or extend them.
    • TRACS Forums: Forums offers essentially all the same features that Canvas Discussions does, though it’s not as sleek.

    Peer Review

    One-on-One Peer Review

    You can easily simulate more traditional one-on-one peer review by having students post drafts and having their peers respond with feedback in the form of a written response, comments and changes on the actual draft, and other edits. Some good options for this include:

    • Canvas Peer Reviews: This is the most formal peer review option and allows you to manually assign peer reviews to specific students. You can create a peer review in Assignments and delegate from there.
    • Canvas Discussions & TRACS Forums: These have the same functionality.
    • Google Docs & SharePoint Docs: Students can also share, review, and edit documents using these tools.

    Small Group Discussion

    You might want to give students the opportunity to chat about their assignments and projects. You can easily organize this through Zoom and Canvas Conferences with breakout sessions.

    Workshop & Group Discussion

    Group workshops are also great ways to examine and critique volunteer projects. You can invite volunteers to submit their drafts by a preset deadline to give students time to review and prep before the scheduled workshop. Zoom and Canvas Conferences are great options for this.

    Handling Major Assignments

    Assignment Ideas

    As you adapt major assignments or substitute new ones, some projects that are easily manageable remotely include:

    Submission Tools

    The following options are great options for handling student submissions.

    • Canvas Assignments
    • TRACS Assignments
    • TRACS Dropbox
    • Google Docs
    • SharePoint

    Ways to Embrace This (Rhetorical) Situation

    Finally, while not an ideal situation, this is a unique opportunity to discuss remote working environments within the realm of tech comm. Many students will be entering professional environments that require frequent remote work and online interaction with various tools, so this teaching moment might be worth your while.

  • Together We Can Do This!

    Staff from the IT Assistance Center, Faculty Development, the Office of Distance and Extended Learning, and the Information Security Office are partnering to help you get ready. Each area is offering just-in-time training and drop in sessions via Zoom. Together, we are populating a single website of our training sessions so you can take advantage of as many learning opportunities as possible.

    Learn Zoom and Teams basics, learn strategies to keep it simple and teach with tools you already know, drop in and visit with an instructional designer to get specific questions answered, learn how to keep your students engaged while teaching remotely, learn security best practices while handling sensitive and confidential data online, and much more. 

    We're ready to partner with you to help our students succeed! We look forward to seeing you there.

    Zoom for Classes and Office Hours

    Whether you're visiting with one student or facilitating an entire class, Zoom is flexible enough to meet your needs. We have developed a Zoom for Facultyonline class and encourage you to sign up. Also, see our Zoom support site.
     

    Let Canvas and TRACS Work for You

    Both learning management systems are rich with tools and features to aid in your online teaching. As you plan your courses, consider using these remote teaching tools and strategies.

    Office 365 including Outlook

    All Office 365 software, including Outlook, can be installed on your personal computer at no cost. Using Outlook will help you feel right at home in your new workspace. See Office 365 and Email support sites to learn more.

    Accessing, Sharing, and Managing Your Files

    Use these online storage services for easy access to your files from anywhere:

    Teams Files, SharePoint, and OneDrive - store public, general working files, and work in real time with your colleagues on shared Word or Excel documents.

    Department Share (S) Drive and UDrive - store sensitive and confidential files, and access them via WebFiles from anywhere with no VPN required. 

    Learn more about tech tools and services by visiting our guide to Remote Working and Collaborating Resources for Faculty.

    If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the IT Assistance Center.

    Sincerely,

    IT Assistance Center (ITAC)
    Web | Phone | LiveChat | Visit Us

  • Reproduced with Rachel's permission:

    I'm in the process of re-thinking my course calendar for 1310. I've decided to finish the semester with a unit on self-care and stress management. Below is a link to the Google doc I'm working in. You're welcome to steal anything, or ask me any questions. 

    If you have any self-care strategies that you love or resources that you think might be helpful for students, I'd really appreciate you adding a comment under the appropriate heading. 

    Basically, we're going to start with a reflection on what students are already doing for self-care and what's working or not. Then, for each week students will select one strategy to test run. They'll plan 3 opportunities to practice this strategy and submit short, reflective "field notes" on Fridays. At the end of the unit we'll turn this into a longer-form (500-750 words) essay about what we've learned/gained.

    English 1310 Remote Course Calendar

    Rachel Elliot's Self-Care FYE Unit