FACULTY & STAFF
When unplanned disruptions to campus operations occur, Louisiana Tech University is committed to continue providing instruction. This page is intended as a resource to assist faculty in navigating the challenge of shifting from face-to-face or hybrid instruction to a fully online course for a period of time.
One of the most important parts of teaching online – especially as a result of disruptions ranging from short absences to major campus crises – is ensuring that communication with your students remains consistent, clear, and reliable.
Have a plan – and a backup plan – for communicating.
To effectively communicate with students during a disruption, make sure that you have a plan for communication and tell students about it. Use your syllabus to provide students with a general plan for communication. Tell them how you intend to provide them updates, how often they should expect to hear from you, and your anticipated response time. Typically, e-mail and Moodle announcements will be the primary and secondary communication channels; however, you may wish to explore public social media, such as Twitter, as a backup.
Communicate with students about disruptions as soon as possible. For major, campus-wide disruptions, let students know that you are aware of the disruption, even if specific plans for adaptation have not been made. Answering common questions for the whole class can save your time and anxiety for students. Considering using modules in Moodle to create a FAQ in your course to post commonly asked questions from students or create a “Virtual Office” discussion board so students can see questions and replies.
When faced with a potential disruption, evaluate the disruption, the consequences for your class, and then consider the best way to adapt. Ask yourself questions such as:
What is the nature and duration of the disruption?
Disruptions of different types and durations have different consequences for learning, and the answer may not always be to take your class online. Power loss in a building for a few hours could be addressed by relocating your class to another building temporarily or rescheduling the session (particularly for lab-based courses). A multi-day campus closure for severe weather, however, would require a different approach.
What is the nature of the course you are teaching?
Not all classes are as easily transformed into an online experience as others. Content-based, lecture-driven courses are usually more easily adapted than experiential courses such as labs and field experiences. Be realistic about how online tools can be used to meet course objectives and when they cannot. When you think they cannot, reach out to your department head for guidance and to colleagues who might be able to provide new insight.
How can I adapt exiting activities for use online delivery?
Though there is more to designing an effective online class than substitution instructional activities, this can be a helpful approach in the event of an unexpected campus emergency. The table below shows common instructional activities and online approaches that can approximate the experience.
|Instructional Activity||Online Approaches|
|Office Hours/Academic Advising||
|Post Course Materials||
|Post and Collect Assignments||
|Quizzes and Exams||
How must my course design change to adapt?
Answering this question will be a function of where you are in the course, how long the disruption will last, and what components of the class are most important. If you are in doubt about what components of your course are most important, use your goals and objectives as a guide. Make sure that activities fit with your goals and objectives and that your assessments are appropriate for determining whether those goals and objectives have been met.
Will changes create instructional bias or disenfranchise students
Instructional bias occurs when instructional practices favor one group of learners over another. Take care to consider your students and whether your changes you make could provide unfair advantages or disadvantages to different groups of students. Keep in mind that ADA rules are still applicable during a disruption, and you must ensure that students receive appropriate accommodations.
Are changes consistent with credit hour expectations for the course?
Most courses award credit proportional to the amount of work done. Maintaining those proportions are necessary to remain in compliance with Federal Regulations and SACSCOC policy. You should take care to ensure the time required to view materials and complete assignments is approximately equivalent to the class time missed as a result of the instruction.
Ultimately the goal of this process is to just keep teaching. When you are familiar with the tools that are available, have a plan in place to communicate changes, and can evaluate and adjust your instruction appropriately, you can keep teaching. As you do, keep a few other things in mind:
Continue to Evaluate and Adjust.
Just because you have made a plan on how to adjust to a given disruption, does not mean that your work is over. The nature and duration of large disruptions involving campus closures could change, requiring additional changes to your course. Keep monitoring and evaluate and adjust to changes. Further, it is just good instructional practice to evaluate your instruction and determine if it is meeting your course goals and objectives. If the changes you have made are not working as well as you had hoped, do not be afraid to make adjustments to improve instruction.
You’re not alone.
From a small disruption to class for personal reasons to a large campus closure, everyone has dealt with disruptions. If you are struggling to adapt, you are probably not alone. Do not be afraid to reach out to your Tech family for assistance. In addition to colleagues in your department, consider reaching out to one of the instructional centers on campus for guidance.
Microsoft 365 (New)
Microsoft 365 (previously known as Office 365) is Microsoft’s productivity and collaboration suite. Microsoft 365 includes access to both cloud-based tools for collaboration as well as licensing to download and install the Microsoft Office suite on your personal computer and mobile devices. Louisiana Tech students and faculty can use Office 365 by signing in going to https://www.office.com and signing in using their Office 365 address (firstname.lastname@example.org where abc123 is your Tech username) and Tech password (same as used for Moodle).
Moodle is Louisiana Tech’s officially-supported learning management system. All courses offered at Louisiana Tech have a Moodle shell created for them at the beginning of the quarter. Using Moodle you can post materials, assignments, create a chat room, add discussion forums, create quizzes, and more.
To login, visit moodle.latech.edu.
For additional information on OpenLMS, see Blackboard’s instructor resources at help.blackboard.com.
Because OpenLMS is based on Moodle core, you may find helpful resources at docs.moodle.org.
Mediasite is companion for Moodle that provides real-time reporting and analytics for LMS data. Dashboards for instructors and students are integrated directly into Moodle.
Mediasite is a multimedia tool that allows instructors to make live recordings in the classroom (using Mediasite capture hardware) or from their office or home computer (using Mediasite Desktop Recorder w/ camera and/or microphone). Recordings can be shared with students later along with other resources. Mediasite is ideal for delivering lectures and other video resources to learners.
To log in to Mediasite, visit mediasite.latech.edu/Mediasite/mymediasite.
Google GSuite is a cloud-based suite of productivity tools produced by Google, similar to Microsoft’s Office 365. Apps are available online through any modern web-browser and through apps for Android and iOS. All faculty and students have access to GSuite using their Louisiana Tech user account.
- Docs – Online word processing, similar to Microsoft Word.
- Sheets – Online spreadsheet software, similar to Microsoft Excel.
- Slides – Online presentation software, similar to Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Calendar – Organize your schedule, create reminders, and share calendars with your class. Appointment slots feature useful for creating appointment slots for virtual office hours and advising.
- Drive – Use drive to share large files and folders; excellent for collaboration.
To login, visit apps.latech.edu, and login using your university username and password.
Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor
The Respondus LockDown Browser is a restricted web browser used to aid in assurance of the academic integrity of quizzes and exams. When students access exams through Lockdown Browser, they are prevented from performing certain actions such as launching other applications, switching to other windows, opening unapproved websites, and printing or copying test questions. This does not prevent cheating through other methods (such as secondary devices or printed materials). For best results, Lockdown Browser should be paired with proctoring solutions such as Respondus Monitor or ProctorU.
For more information on Respondus Lockdown Browser:
- Download Louisiana Tech guidance on using Respondus LockDown Browser,
- Download the Instructor Quick Start Guide for Responduse LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor.
- Participate in a webinar on using Respondus LockDown Browser and Monitor.
ProctorU is a service that provides live (human) proctors for online exams. Proctors verify test-taker identities at the beginning of test sessions. They also help to assure academic integrity by monitoring the test-taker’s screen and webcam for suspicious behavior.
To learn more about ProctorU, visit the Louisiana Tech ProctorU portal at proctoru.com/portal/latech.
Please keep in mind that ProctorU is a service where students pay per exam. During extended disruptions, please contact your department head and/or dean for guidance on how to use proctoring in order to avoid unnecessary expense to students.
Anywhere is Louisiana Tech’s virtual computer lab. By downloading and using the Anywhere software, students can access university software that would normally be unavailable to them such as IBM SPSS, IBM AMOS, SAP, SAS, Solidworks, Matlab, COMSOL, etc.
Please keep in mind that this is an on-campus system and computing capacity is limited. During extended disruptions, please encourage students to find alternate methods for accessing readily-available software (such as Microsoft Office, see above for details on downloading), to ensure the system remains available to students who need access to specialize software. Also, be aware that the system may become unavailable in the event of campus network or power outages or significant natural disasters affecting the Ruston campus.
Zoom is a robust video-conferencing and collaboration platform that works on all major operating systems and mobile platforms. Pro Zoom accounts provide access to whiteboard tools, survey/feedback tools, the ability to create breakout groups, and more. Zoom is ideal for synchronous class sessions but can also be used for 1-to-1 meetings for virtual office hours and advising (requires camera and/or microphone).
Zoom System Requirements: Minimum bandwidth is 600 Kbps (up/down) and recommended is 1.5 Mbps (up/down). Check your Internet bandwidth using Speedtest.
To get started with Zoom, login to latech.zoom.us. To use Zoom integration in Moodle please login for the first time at latech.zoom.us to set up your account and then use the tool available in “Add activity > Activities > Zoom”.
To learn more about using Zoom:
Center for Instructional Technology
Prescott Memorial Library 1013
CITAdmin@LATech.edu – 318.257.2912
The Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) provides faculty with support in the application, development and maintenance of academic instructional technology systems, both emerging and existing. Through demonstrations, technical assistance and training, CIT provides faculty with programs that improve teaching, learning and scholarship. The Center for Instructional Technology is a division of the Office for Academic Affairs
College of Education & Human Sciences, Woodard Hall, Suite 129
COEHub@LATech.edu – 318.257.2561
We are an ever growing team of educators with skills in educational technology, course development, and assessment. We strive to keep up with the constant changing landscape of technology, best practices in education, accessibility, and instructional design. Whether you are a Louisiana Tech student, faculty, partnering district, or new friend, we are here for you! The Hub in the College of Education & Human Sciences offers a supportive environment to explore creative solutions for the classroom. We want to work with you to solve problems, create opportunities, and engage students.
Everyone has disruptions from time to time, and other schools have produced great resources that are worth reading.
Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption, for SIS and PWR (Jenae Cohn & Beth Seltzer, Stanford University)