The guidance on this page will help you continue instruction and keep students progressing toward your course’s learning objectives using Blackboard and other online tools.
Do not try to use all of the strategies listed on this page. Identify the most basic elements you need to put in place to meet your short-term instructional objectives. If the situation continues, you can add more activities back in. Not all face-to-face activities can be replicated online; however, almost all learning objectives can be achieved in the online classroom.
Before you begin transitioning your course plans and materials for remote instruction, please review the following general principles.
You will hold class using a tool called Blackboard Collaborate. (Instructors who already have an alternate method in place may continue using the selected tool or platform.)
Some of you may decide to record videos in advance of class sessions. Asking students to watch those videos prior to class can be a good alternative to a live lecture if you continue to meet with students during the scheduled class time. Face-to-face courses are not being changed to fully online courses, and you must hold regularly scheduled class sessions.
Replace lectures with adequate substitutes from TED, iTunes U (requires an appropriate app), or the wilds of YouTube. Search OER commons for additional repositories. Spend the class session engaging students in discussions and other instructional activities.
Lab activities typically require specific equipment and supplies, and are therefore impossible to fully translate into an online space. However, there are some steps that may work for some labs.
If you have a class of more than 8-10 students, it may be difficult to get all students involved in a robust discussion during the scheduled class time. Blackboard Collaborate allows you to send students to "breakout rooms" for small-group activities and discussions. Contact CETL to set up training if you are interested.
Alternately, you may want or need to create some asynchronous discussion forums. Discussion forums have a reputation for being boring or busy work, but they can be used successfully. Contact CETL for a link to a one-hour overview of research on successful use of discussion forums and criteria for evaluating your discussion prompts.
The Discussion Board tool in Blackboard provides a digital space for these conversations to happen. Other options include Perusall (class discussion of a PDF or webpage in the form of annotations), Flipgrid (video discussions), and VoiceThread (audio and/or video discussions).
Start with the following guidelines to promote robust online discussions.
This list isn't exhaustive. If you want to talk through options for moving an activity to the virtual environment, contact us.
Visit our Remote Assessment Kit and Resources page for additional information.
The Center for Teaching Excellence stands ready to assist you with course design and implementation to support you during a sudden transition to temporary online teaching.
Significant portions of this guidance (including the title) are adapted, with permission, from the Indiana University Knowledge Base article "Keep teaching during prolonged campus or building closures" and Pepperdine University's Keep On Teaching plan.