A Quick and Pedagogically Meaningful Workflow to Take Your Class Online Due to Coronavirus

We know that moving to a fully remote teaching environment can be intimidating. However, there are a range of structures for online courses that make it easy to fit your unique needs. We are going to review a few setups that are:
  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Pedagogically-rigorous
  • Engaging for learners
At the end of this article, you will have the tools to move your course online with confidence. We are conducting a webinar to both demonstrate and assist in this process. Please reach out to our team of instructional designers for help with this transition.
  • Below, we outline the two main components of online courses: 
  • Live online coursework
  • Asynchronous online coursework
For context, the live aspect of your course is designed for real-time instruction, office hours, and discussions. The asynchronous portion can be used to replace traditional homework, tests, practice, asynchronous instruction, asynchronous discussion, and remediation/catch-up for learners that do not attend the live instruction.

Live online courses
Below are our recommendations for the least expensive tools to build a reliable classroom. In some cases, your university may already have a license with them.

Video conferencing
Winner: Zoom
Our number one recommendation is to use Zoom to set up a live course. It is easy for instructors and learners to access, many universities already have a subscription, and your lectures can be recorded to be easily hosted as an on-demand video for learners through a range of video hosts (PlayPosit, YouTube, Vimeo). Read about our integration with Zoom. 

Runner-up: Google Meet
If your institution already uses Gmail or the Google Suite, you may have access to their video conferencing solution. Google Meet allows you to host 100+ participants in a conference, depending on the plan.  The Education plan supports as many as 250 participants. 

Synchronous formative assessments
We recommend using PlayPosit to add pedagogical interactions into your live online courses. PlayPosit has a broadcast functionality that allows the instructor to push questions directly to learner devices and compile submissions in real-time. Simply launch Broadcast while sharing your screen with your learners on your video conferencing tool of choice (we integrate easily with Zoom). PlayPosit supports a broad range of pedagogically-rigorous interactions including open-ended free response, discussions, auto-graded fill-in-the-blanks, polls, multiple-choice, check-all, and website embeds. These interactions are fed in real-time to the learners during the instructor’s presentation and the resulting analytics inform the instructor’s live session while keeping learners engaged.

The PlayPosit team has released a super easy to use template that you can download to give you the freedom to conduct your course online with live questioning. Like Zoom, your institution may already have a license with PlayPosit.

Asynchronous online courses 
Below are our recommendations for the best tools to set up an asynchronous component to your online course. Successful asynchronous content must provide an engaging medium for instruction (video) with pedagogically-rigorous aspects (interactions). As well, the data needs to be easily digestible and available in real-time.

Depending on your instructional needs, you may opt for a combination of live and asynchronous learning. 

Screen recording
The first step is to generate a video that captures your instruction. Though there are myriad videos available on YouTube, we recommend capturing some of your own instruction, as it is suited to best engage your learners. 

Winner: Zoom
If you already have access to Zoom, it is most likely the easiest way to record videos directly to your desktop. These videos can then be sent to a video host of your choice (PlayPositYouTubeVimeo). 

Runner-up: Loom
Loom allows you to record your screen and export the recording to your desktop. It is as powerful as Zoom but requires you to use the Google Chrome browser. Loom also allows for minor video cutting and editing. 

You probably already have a slideshow tool, like PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides. We recommend you use what you’re most familiar with. Check out our guide on converting slides to video. 

Asynchronous formative assessments
PlayPosit offers quick and effective methods to assess your learners in a variety of ways.  Start with a template or build your assessment plan with individual interactions - the choice is yours.

In our template gallery, you’ll find the following assessments ready to apply to your bulb with a single click.  The templates, however, are fully customizable so instructors are able to add personalization and specificity. You can find out more here.
  • Learner Feedback: Add a poll question at the end of the bulb for learners to rate their experience, followed by a free-response question where they can provide more detail.
  • Learner Notes: Adds a reflective pause in a hotspot at the beginning of the bulb to teach learners how to use PlayPosit's Notes feature.
  • Discussion: Add a discussion forum in the sidebar that lasts the entire bulb so learners can comment at any time.   
  • Pre/Post Assessment: Add two free-response questions in the sidebar at the beginning and end to ask learners what they already know, and what concepts they mastered upon completion. 
  • Summative Assessment: Add four multiple-choice questions in the sidebar at the end of a bulb to prompt learners to reflect on what they learned in this bulb. 
  • Check for Understanding: Adds five stacked free-response and poll questions to evaluate learner understanding.
  • One of Each: A template that contains all of the interaction types, evenly spaced throughout the middle of the bulb. 
Interaction Types
PlayPosit offers multiple interaction types.  The following are useful for formative assessment and can be automatically graded:
  • Multiple choice: Present students with a series of options to choose from in response to a question. This question type has one correct answer and is auto-graded.
  • Check all: Present students with a series of options to choose from in response to a question. This question type can have multiple correct answers, but students will only receive full credit if they select all of the correct answers. This question is auto-graded. 
  • Free response: Allow students to demonstrate understanding with a text response and/or use the rich text editor to include images, audio, equations, and tables. This question type is manually graded.     
  • Fill-in-the-blank: Present students with a phrase that is missing one or more words. Questions can have multiple blanks and multiple correct answers. Learners can receive partial credit for their answers, and this question is auto-graded.
  • Polling survey: Present students with a series of options to choose from in response to a question. Students can only choose one option, and there is no right or wrong answer. This interaction is not graded by default, but you can change the point value if desired.
Video hosting
We recommend you use whatever video host you’re most comfortable with. PlayPosit, YouTube, Vimeo all offer drag and drop hosting. Your university may have a license with Kaltura, Mediasite, Panopto, or another. The important thing is that PlayPosit integrates with all of them. If you’re planning to use a video host other than YouTube, Vimeo, or PlayPosit, reach out and we will help your institution set up the integration.

Communicate with learners
Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind during the emergency school closures is the need to communicate with your learners. Establish how your lessons will proceed and set clear expectations. Encourage learners to communicate and to do so often and prepare to have some flexibility in cases where a one size fits all approach may not work. This will help to address the challenges that some learners may feel when experiencing remote learning for the first time. 

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