General Pre-Emergency Planning Tips for Instructors

At the beginning of each semester:

  • download class lists and student contact information from MyHeliotrope.
  • send your students a welcome email and Course Announcement in Moodle that includes your contact information. Encourage students to keep the email until the end of the course.
  • remind students to download/save and print a copy of the syllabus. Include your contact information in the syllabus.
  • backup copies of your teaching materials prior to the start of the semester, in the event you are unable to access the files on the Purchase College network.
  • consult the Moodle Basics Guide for detailed directions on basic Moodle functions:

Advice Guides & General Resources:

SUNY Drop-in Instructional Design Support Sessions
These live, drop-in virtual Zoom sessions have been created to assist with remote course preparation. Sessions will be staffed with instructional designers and online learning professionals to assist with your questions. Ask about how to move your face-to-face activities, assignments, assessments, etc., into a manageable, online learning experience for your students. Staff are available:

Monday - Friday: 7:00am-12:00am Midnight EST
Saturday: 10:00am-5:00pm EST
Sunday: 1:00pm-9:00pm EST

Staff are available, live, now to assist you!
To join a live, drop-in web meeting for Instructional Design Support for Emergency Remote Teaching:
https://zoom.us/j/160815050

How can I offer synchronous lectures/meetings for my students?

Zoom is a web conferencing application where many individuals can join the same meeting and share audio and video. It also allows for screen sharing and presentation mode. Free Zoom accounts allow anyone to set up sessions lasting up to 40 minutes.  The TLTC recommends that instructors sign up for a free Zoom account and download the latest version directly from the Zoom.us website. 

To use Zoom for longer than 40 minutes, please contact Campus Technology Services (CTS) or create a Work Order to request access to a Zoom Pro/Business account. Use the subject: Request Zoom License.

CTS is also offering Zoom Video Chat Tech Support during the following hours:

Monday-Thursday 8:00am-7:45pm, Friday 8:00am-4:45pm
(When classes are not in session) Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:45pm

Equipment you will need:

  • Device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone) with a good internet connection, preferably wired or Wi-Fi
  • Headphones or earbuds (optional)
  • Microphone (if possible; a separate microphone can be better than your device’s built-in mic)
  • Web camera (optional, preferred for face-to-face contact)

Directions for Hosting a meeting as an Instructor
Your free Zoom account will allow you to hold a live Zoom session for up to 40 minutes. Directions for captioning your Zoom session are available at the Zoom Help Center.

Directions for Joining a Meeting as a Participant
Students do not need to download their own free Zoom account, though some might want to have the application available on their own computer/device. In the case of students who do not want or are unable to download the Zoom application to their own computer/device, they can join Zoom sessions from a web browser.

Workshop Recordings:

Resources:

More information about using Zoom can be found at the Zoom Help Center, including Zoom Video Tutorials.

The Chat activity in Moodle allows instructors to create a text-based chat room for real-time interaction with and among students. The Chat activity is also an option for holding virtual office hours and even allows you to schedule future Chat sessions.

How can I pre-record asynchronous lectures and videos for my students?

VoiceThread allows you to set up slide shows including diverse kinds of media, where you can add comments through web cam, plain audio, or text, and also add annotations to your slides as you comment.  VoiceThread can be used as online lectures that your students can access anytime, or for asynchronous conversations among your class.  We’ve integrated VoiceThread into our Moodle system so that it’s available as an activity that you can add to any of your Moodle courses.  See our help guide for how to use VoiceThread to present lecture presentations to your students.

Workshop Recordings:

YouTube allows you to record a video right on your smartphone, laptop, or tablet and upload it directly to the video-sharing platform. YouTube makes it easy to Add Subtitles and Closed Captions. Using these directions, you can even upload a file or script. Contact TLTC  or Rebecca Oling (Electronic Accessibility) for more information or alternate ways to make your videos fully accessible.

Once uploaded, you can opt to make your video:

  • public (available to anyone),
  • private (only available to you), or
  • unlisted (available to anyone who has the link).

The TLTC recommends that instructors upload course-related content, such as lectures, to YouTube as unlisted. Users can control the availability of their YouTube uploads at their YouTube Studio dashboard. To share the recording with your students, provide the YouTube URL using the URL resource or embed the video in your Moodle course.

The H5P Interactive Content activity in Moodle has two content types in particular (“Course Presentation” and “Interactive Video”) that allow you to post course presentations and ensure students are engaging with the materials.

We are adding Poodll tools to our Moodle system, to provide more options for online recording activities.

Workshop Recording:

How can I facilitate course discussions with my students digitally?

The Forum activity provides an easy way to add discussions to your Moodle course when you can’t meet face to face with your students.  For whole class discussions on open ended topics, we recommend using the Single, Simple Discussion forum type.  If you want students to provide their answer to a framing question first before seeing what other students have said, and then be able to join into a larger conversation, then you will want to use the Question and Answer forum type.

You can also use the VoiceThread activity that we’ve added to Moodle, for conversations that allow you and your students to use webcams or regular audio to contribute.  Although still an asynchronous activity, this ability to have more social presence in the conversation beyond just text replies makes the conversations more engaging.  You can set up VoiceThread slides with media dealing with course content, and open the presentation up to student commenting in order to have the class conversation.

How can I have students do individual or group presentations?

If you are using Zoom sessions to hold synchronous online classes, then one of the students can share their screen with the presentation, while all of them can use their computer microphones or their phones to speak to the class.  It would be a good idea for everyone to do a technology check in advance of the presentation sessions. Additionally, we ask that you ensure any presentation files, like PowerPoint (.ppt, .pptx) are posted ahead of the presentation so that applicable students are able to follow along without barriers as much as possible. If you need a refresher on how to ensure PowerPoint files are accessible, please contact Rebecca Oling or the TLTC.

You can also set up a VoiceThread activity where everyone in the class can share VT presentations.  Students can do their presentations as VTs, share them to the class, and everyone can use the commenting function in VoiceThread to hold an asynchronous conversation on the presentation.

How can I collect student assignments digitally?

Moodle has a feature to collect assignments digitally, provide students feedback, and share student grades. The two most common ways to collect work from students through Moodle is by using the Moodle Assignment activity or the Turnitin  Assignment activity. Both activities are widely used by faculty at Purchase to collect papers and other digital projects.

You can collect more than just documents using the Assignment activity in Moodle.  Set up your assignment as a text submission instead of a file upload, and students can provide links to videos of themselves doing performance or other activities.  Moodle will automatically embed the videos from linked YouTube or Vimeo pages into the assignment submissions, so you can view the videos from within the Moodle grading interface.  (YouTube videos can be uploaded as ‘unlisted’ so they are not searchable, but still be available for Moodle submission by direct URL.)

You can also set up VoiceThread activities in assignment mode.  There are two formats available.  You can share one of your VT presentations, and assign students to make one or more comments on the VT.  Or you can set up the assignment for students to create and share their own VT presentation.  In either case, VoiceThread provides a grading interface where you can view and grade student work, and have those grades transfer to the Moodle gradebook.

How can I share student grades confidentially and digitally?

Moodle allows you to communicate individual grades and total grades with students. This is facilitated by the Moodle gradebook. Students will only ever see their own grades and not the grades of anyone else in the course. Keep in mind that the Moodle gradebook does not communicate with MyHeliotrope, where official course grades are submitted.

As a precaution, we recommend that you backup your grades outside of the Moodle gradebook environment. You can use a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel, Google Sheets) and/or backup on paper.

How can I communicate updates, changes, and other relevant information to my students?

The TLTC recommends that instructors use the Course Announcements forum that appears in each Moodle course to quickly and easily send emails to your entire course. Using the Course Announcements forum, Moodle will email the message to all enrolled students in your course as well as keep a copy of the email/announcement in the Course Announcements forum in your Moodle course.

How can I facilitate exams/quizzes digitally with my students?

Moodle offers a robust Quiz activity that allows you to create a variety of questions (multiple choice, short answer, matching, etc.), populate questions in your Question Bank, and then assemble questions in your Question Bank into a Quiz. Check out Moodle’s Building a Quiz step-by-step guide to get started. Be sure to develop quizzes usable for ALL of your students. Quiz questions containing images or tables and graphs should be described for those with low/no vision. Do NOT choose “description not necessary” if you can avoid it and don’t leave pre-populated information in the Image Description field without checking it first.

Testing Accommodations

H5P Interactive Content is another tool available in our Moodle instance that allows you to create dynamic and interactive course content, including quizzes. 

How can I conduct secure online exams through Moodle?

We now have Respondus Lockdown Browser and Respondus Monitor installed on our Moodle system, as a way to conduct secure online exams.  More complete information will come out through a broadcast email, but here are some quick points:

Resources:

Workshop Recordings: