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Academic Technology Resources for Academic Continuity

Last Updated: 09/09/2020

This guide provides instructors and teaching assistants with a description of the technology that can be used to support various teaching modalities. This page will be updated as additional tools become available in response to faculty and student needs.

Communicating with Students

Let students know which communication tools will be used in your course, for what purpose, and when they should expect to hear back from you and/or their peers. Review the Using Announcements and Inbox to Communicate with Students in Canvas page for general guidance on how to use the communication tools in Canvas.

Post Announcements in Canvas
Email Students
Chat with the Entire Class using Canvas

Have text-based, real-time interactions with all the students in your course via the Chat Tool in Canvas.

Chat or Meet in Microsoft Teams
  • Connect with anyone on campus via chat, audio, or video call. All CU Boulder users are licensed for Teams, making it easier to add people to a team or search, call, and chat
  • Invite external (guest) users to be part of your Team
  • Access other Office 365 apps including OneDrive, SharePoint, OneNote, and Planner
  • Connect your Team to third-party apps and connectors including Google Drive, SurveyMonkey, Twitter, RSS, Salesforce, Trello, GitHub and JIRA

Delivering Course Content

There are a number of ways you can deliver course content at a distance. Choose the method that most aligns with your learning objectives.

Share Course Materials in Canvas Modules

Help students find your course materials (readings, videos, etc.) in Canvas by organizing the content into Modules, by topic or by date. Refer to these tutorials to add, edit, move or reorder, and delete Modules. You can add a variety of course materials to Modules in Canvas 

Conduct or Record a Lecture with Zoom

Zoom is a web conferencing tool that can be used for real-time lectures with students as well as for lecture recordings. It is an intuitive and simple tool that can be used on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. Zoom has a number of features that can enhance your online class experience, including screen sharing, chat, recording, annotation, and more.

Tips for Using Zoom

  • Use headphones or earbuds with a microphone to minimize surrounding noise and improve the quality of your voice. The Logitech H800 is a good option, although any headset and microphone combo will provide a better experience than a microphone and speaker built into a laptop.
  • Test your Audio and Video before joining a call
  • Utilize the mute on entry function when scheduling meetings to prevent disruption from attendees joining with microphones on.
  • See more of OIT's Zoom tips

Zoom Security and Privacy

Zoom offers several options to increase the security and privacy of Zoom sessions, including requiring authentication, muting and removing non-invited guests, as well as Tips to Keep Uninvited Guests Out of Your Zoom Event. Use OIT's Secure Meetings Guide for recommended options you can utilize to increase security including:

Training Resources from Zoom

Record a Lecture with Classroom Capture

Classroom Capture is a fully automated recording service available in most large CU Boulder classrooms. It is a good option for recording your lecture for students who cannot be physically present in the classroom. Recordings automatically start, stop, and publish to an online video catalog. Classroom Capture packages slides, faculty lecture, and rich metadata into a streaming video. Recordings are automatically uploaded online where students can login to watch for supplemental or review purposes. Instructors who previously made recordings using the Classroom Capture service can reactivate and repurpose those recordings for remote learning. To take advantage of this, please complete the Reactivate Previously Recorded Content form.

OIT is working with Facilities Management and Academic Scheduling to allow instructors access to these classrooms so they can make recordings during the summer months. When protocols for building access and equipment cleaning have been established, OIT will provide a process for requesting the service during the summer.

OIT is working to provide My Mediasite Personal Capture, a tool that will allow instructors to record, edit and share their own content from any location. My MediaSite will deliver the content to students with the same familiar media player and features they are used to from the on-campus Classroom Capture service. The system allows the recording of high-quality slideshows or screencasts that preserve every annotation and screen movement. Instructors can pair their content with webcam video or simply a voice-over, and My Mediasite’s Desktop Recorder does the rest. It synchronizes everything an instructor says and shows without requiring video production skills. My Mediasite Personal Capture is expected to be available by mid-July.

For instructors recording from home, OIT has published a helpful resource called Tips for Recording Lectures from Home.

Encouraging Student Participation and Discussions

Foster Engagement with Canvas Discussions

Use the Discussions feature in Canvas to simulate in-class discussion and peer interaction. By posing questions or prompts that require complex thinking and the application of concepts covered in course materials, instructors can encourage student engagement and active learning. Students should be provided with specific instructions and clear expectations for their discussion posts, including guidelines on writing style (e.g., formal/informal), number of posts expected per discussion, length (e.g., number of words), frequency, tone, and content (e.g., references to course materials). Note that Discussions can be graded and ungraded in Canvas. Graded discussions provide an easy way to see all the posts and responses of a student on one page. Get started with Discussions in Canvas:

Capture peer feedback on student presentations or performances using Canvas Studio

Canvas Studio allows instructors and students to collaborate using video and audio media. Canvas Studio can be used to facilitate student engagement with one another, with their instructor, and with the content they are learning.

Students can record themselves giving a presentation, practicing a speech, or giving a performance within Canvas Studio. Instructors can share videos they want students to have discussions about as students view the video independently. Videos can be recorded directly in Canvas or uploaded from a local file or YouTube. Once a video is uploaded to Canvas, students can add text comments to videos that appear in a discussion section below the video.

Facilitate Conversations Using VoiceThread

Use VoiceThread to facilitate asynchronous student discussions about course materials (images, videos, and documents). Students can contribute to the discussion using text, audio, or video. VoiceThread is available as an integration in Canvas at https://voicethread.colorado.edu, or via the VoiceThread Mobile App.

Conduct Group Work

There are a number of tool options you can use to facilitate group work during online classes and outside of class time.

  • During live lectures, use the Breakout Rooms feature in Zoom to allow students to work in small groups via Zoom.
  • Use the Groups tool in Canvas to create groups manually or automatically. Based on these groups, you can create a group Assignment that students will be required to submit as a group or a group Discussion that will only be visible to the group members and the instructor.
  • You can instruct students to use the Collaborations tool in Canvas to work together on documents and have group discussions.
  • Use Microsoft Teams as a platform for students to collaborate while working in groups. Students can communicate with one another using chat and audio or video calls. They can also leverage OneDrive, SharePoint, OneNote, and Planner to take notes, co-author documents, or plan student projects.
Continuing to use iClicker

Asking students questions about the material in the middle of a lecture provides both students and instructors with instant feedback on students’ understanding. iClicker Reef enables remote students to participate in polls that you conduct during your class. If you will be teaching live (rather than distributing pre-recorded lectures) you can enable iClicker Reef in your current iClicker classic program, or better yet, upgrade to iClicker Cloud. This enables you to run clicker questions without the need for a clicker base. Students can answer clicker questions on their home computer, phone, or tablet. iClicker has made Reef accounts free for CU students for the rest of 2020.

In order to use iClicker Reef, you should download iClicker Cloud and enable iClicker Sync in your Canvas course. If you choose to use iClicker Classic (which will be phased out by Spring 2021) you will have to turn on mobile polling in iClicker Classic, create an iClicker account, schedule your class, and enable iClicker Sync in your Canvas course.

Encourage students to showcase their work

Digication is an ePortfolio platform students can use to showcase artifacts of their learning (documents, photos, videos, etc.) in fulfillment of course assignments or in preparation for future employment. Digication features assessment functionality, including a grade book integration in Canvas, which instructors can use to provide students with feedback on their ePortfolio submissions. Students can create an ePortfolio per course or they can use it throughout their entire university experience.

Replicate or Replace Learning in Labs

CU Boulder’s diverse lab environments facilitate learning activities that may be difficult to replicate remotely. With some flexibility, though, instructors can use a number of online or virtual resources to adapt their course material.

Remote Lab teaching ideas
  • Consider video demonstrations or online simulations of lab activities for students to observe.
  • Colleagues within your field or department may know of other discipline-specific resources
  • If part of the lab activity’s purpose is generating data, distribute a previous semester’s data for students to work with.
Additional Resources
  • PhET - CU Boulder’s free interactive math and science simulations
  • JoVE - A journal dedicated to publishing videos of scientific experiments. CU Boulder’s library maintains a subscription. To access JoVE with your CU Boulder IdentiKey username and password: 1. Click “Log In”, 2. Click “Continue with Shibboleth”, 3. Select University of Colorado Boulder from the institution list, and 4. Click Go to Login. Enter your CU Boulder credentials to log-in.
  • HHMI Biointeractive - The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s collection of biology videos and interactive media
  • MERLOT - Curated online learning and support materials for a wide variety of disciplines
  • For more lab-specific resources, check the guides created by Indiana University and Princeton University.

Administering Assignments, Tests, Exams and Grades

Collect Assignment Submissions in Canvas

Students can upload a number of different file types to assignments you create in Canvas, including MicroSoft Office documents, audio, videos, and Google Docs. The first step in accepting assignments is creating one.

Securely Share Grades & Feedback in Canvas
Facilitate Quizzes or Exams in Canvas

Canvas Quizzes can be used to conduct low-stakes quizzes that check student understanding, as well as high-stakes assessments such as tests and exams. Review the How do I create a quiz in Canvas tutorial for an overview of questions types and settings available in the Quizzes tool. Tips for administering exams online:

  • Create complex questions that require high level analytical thinking skills to complete.
  • Ensure the options that allow students to see their quiz responses immediately upon submission are turned off in Quiz settings.
  • Set a time limit for the exam and narrow the window of exam availability in Quiz settings.
  • Randomize questions in a quiz to support academic integrity.
  • Create a bank of questions to deliver a randomized subset of questions to each student and to limit opportunities for collaboration.
  • If you have a large question bank, consider allowing students more than one attempt to account for issues with internet connectivity or other unforeseen troubles with the exam.
Assess What Students Learn from Videos with PlayPosit

Make watching online lectures and videos count using the interactive video tool PlayPosit. PlayPosit can be used in conjunction with a recording of your lectures or other videos to assess student understanding, track viewing statistics, and grade student participation.

Proctor Exams Remotely with Proctorio

Proctorio enables instructors to utilize machine learning and facial detection technology to remotely proctor exams to help discourage cheating. Proctorio uses Canvas to verify the student’s identity, then captures audio, motion, and systemic changes to identify suspicious behaviors. Learn more about Proctorio.

Hosting Office Hours Online

Schedule with Canvas Calendar

To keep your online office hours organized, use the Scheduler appointment groups in the Canvas Calendar to create blocks of time where students can sign up for specified appointment slots (e.g., 15 or 30 minutes). Zoom web conferencing can be used for conducting online office hours.

Tips for hosting office hours using Zoom
  • Enable the Waiting Room feature to control who joins your meeting and display a custom message to those waiting.
  • Keep your Zoom meeting open during office hours to allow students to drop in periodically with questions. You can turn off your video and mute your mic when waiting, and turn them on when a student joins the meeting.
  • Share your screen with students during your meeting as an instructional tool and use the “Annotation” function in Zoom to visually aid instruction.
  • See the Conduct or Record a Lecture section for more information about using Zoom.

Support & Additional Resources

Center for Teaching & Learning

CU Boulder’s Center for Teaching & Learning serves as campus hub for resources and programming that support teaching. Explore the CTL website to:

Office of Information Technology