Continuity of Teaching and Learning – Faculty Guide
Should the FCC Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) be activated, instructors should prepare for the possibility of migrating their classes online on short notice. In order to make this transition smooth for both instructors and students, Online Learning and Instructional Innovation (OLII) recommends that instructors prepare by planning for this transition of instruction and taking the necessary trainings.
Face-to-Face (Traditional) Courses: Please contact your academic department to confirm that your course will be offered or continue to run in the event of a closure. This will depend on several factors including the hands-on nature of your courses, enrollments, session duration, instructor comfort level with the Learning Management System (LMS) and technology, and other institutional factors.
Online and Hybrid Courses: These course modalities can continue sessions with minimal adaptations in the event of a College closure.
Course Design & Blackboard Support: If you need assistance from OLII, please submit a support request here: https://servicedesk.frederick.edu.
Planning for the Transition: Technology Options
- Sign up for the College emergency and closing alerts: FCC Alerts.
- Blackboard LMS allows you to administer and teach your courses online by providing students with access to course materials and the ability to interact with their peers / you through the LMS. Please review the Blackboard technology requirements and help resources.
- Blackboard Mobile Apps: Instructor and Student Mobile apps are available for you and your students to communicate with each other.
- FCC Office 365 has a range of tools available for instructors and students for teaching, learning, and collaborations including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and Stream.
- Video Conferencing tools help you to:
- Record your lecture and post it for students to view later.
- Set up student groups for online collaborations.
- Facilitate a real time class session that can be recorded and posted for students who may not have been able to attend your live session.
- Meet with students individually for office hour sessions.
- FCC administrative needs such as advising.
- Assess your course technology needs and access ahead of time so you are not caught off guard. Remember that access to on-campus labs, equipment, computer labs, and library services will also be affected. For example, do you and your students have a reliable internet connection at home? Do you and your students have a laptop or mobile device to engage with the course content?
- Use technology tools that are familiar to you and your students.
- Emergency events create a lot of stress. Be gentle and flexible with yourself and your students.
- Keep the transition simple: Introducing too many new tools and approaches may cause confusion and leave even less energy for learning.
- Use asynchronous tools when possible. Having students participate in live online conversations can be useful but be mindful of potential technology challenges based on personal location and/or accessibility needs of students. Bandwidth requirements for discussion boards are much lower than those for live video tools like Collaborate.
- Ensure accessibility of your Blackboard course for students with disabilities, as required for equal access under disability laws.
Transitioning Instruction to an Online Modality
Things to consider for migrating your face-to-face class to an online modality are outlined below. If you would like assistance for setting up a course in an online environment, please contact OLII and we will be happy to discuss best practices and assist you in setting up the content.
A. Setting Up Blackboard Companion Sites
- Start using the Blackboard companion site for your face-to-face course during the term. This way you will have content within the companion site should the need arise, and your students will already be used to going there.
- Keep the navigation for your course simple so students can find things easily. Inside of “Course Materials”, create modules for your material and place all the content needed to complete that module within the module folder.
- Be aware that you may have students accessing your course using mobile devices and bandwidth may be a challenge. Use discussion boards where possible in place of Collaborate or video conferencing software.
B. Communicating with Students
- In the event of a closure and migration, communicating with your students is paramount. Students will look to you for guidance on how they will proceed with their course. Email, Announcements, Discussion Forum, and Gradebook are the tools you will use frequently for communication within Blackboard.
- It is strongly recommended that students change their Blackboard notification preferences to alert them when a new Announcement is posted in the course. When you create an Announcement, select the box to have the announcement emailed to your students. Remind students to check their myFCC email regularly.
- Communicate any course changes such as assignment due dates or content availability with your students. Let students know your availability and when they can expect a response to their emails. Generally, an online instructor is required to respond to emails within 24 hours. These are special circumstances and that may not be possible, so let students know if this is the case.
- Set up a course Q&A discussion forum within your online course so students can post questions to you. If one student has a question, it is safe to assume that several others have the same question. By setting up a discussion board forum for questions, you can avoid having to answer the same question multiple times. Instruct your students to search / use this forum should they have a course related question.
- In an online course, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. If a student has only logged into the online course by the date that attendance is due, then you should report this student as “never attending.”
Academically related activities that count towards attendance can include, but are not limited to:
- physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students
- submitting an academic assignment
- taking an exam, an interactive tutorial or computer-assisted instruction
- attending a study group that is assigned by the school
- participating in an online discussion about academic matters, and
- initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course
- Use the Gradebook to communicate student performance in your courses. If a student is struggling in your course, consider sending a Student Success Alert (SSA) using the SSA link available in Blackboard (left navigation).
C. Rethinking Online Assignments and Activities
Leverage auto-graded quiz options, online assignment submission, grading features and rubrics, and community building discussion forums in Blackboard for class assignment and activities.
- Use online assignment submission feature instead of having students email you their work. Blackboard will track student submissions, automatically rename files (to include the assignment name, the student username, and the filename the student originally submitted), and enable you to notify students who have not submitted their assignment.
- Include the due date while setting up the quiz, discussion, or assignment. Blackboard sends reminders of upcoming work and helps students in their time management using these due dates. Keep due dates consistent over the term - Sundays 11:59 p.m. ET is recommended for assignment due dates.
- Consider revising your assignments to give students more time to complete their work. Access to reference material and the availability of research options may also be impacted by the situation. Determine if more time should be given and communicate this to your students.
- Recognizing that online assessments come with the risk of potential academic dishonesty, consider mitigating this risk using one or more of the following methods:
- Emphasize students' responsibility to uphold academic integrity and share the Code of Student Conduct Policy and Procedures with them.
- Consider having students sign the Academic Integrity Pledge.
- Create assessments within Blackboard using single-question formats with time-limits. This format dissuades cheating and researching answers. Keep mind that you can set the time-limits to adjust for students with extended time accommodations.
- Offer multiple assessment alternatives, and allow students to choose how they will demonstrate what they know and can do.
Note: Testing Center Limitations During and After COOP Activation
During COOP Activation: Should the COOP be activated, and teaching and learning moves online, please note that at this time remote or virtual proctoring service is currently not available.
After COOP Has Ended: Upon resuming normal activities, the FCC Testing Center will have limited space and service capacity to accommodate full-class make-up testing in the event that closure of the campus would affect a scheduled assessment. The exception to this is in providing specific testing accommodations for students with disabilities with a Success Plan from the SSD office.
D. Creating Online Content
- You may need to convert some of your classroom lectures to an online format. Section your lecture into a combination of text, readings, and short videos with captions (about 7-10 min).
- Record your lecture using PowerPoint (Resources section below), Blackboard Collaborate, or other tools (microphone needed). You can use captioned videos from other sources such as YouTube or other free resources (please review videos in advance and use only those with accurate captions).
For meeting accessibility requirements, post the recorded video (MP4) to Microsoft Stream to create/ edit captions (see the instructions in the Accessibility Section).
- If a textbook is required as part of your course, you can post accompanying publisher PowerPoints and reference materials online for students.
- Avoid large file sizes and zip files.
- If a live session is required due to a core learning outcome, have a Blackboard Collaborate Session during the regular time that your class would have met on campus. This will help maintain the continuity of learning, as students are accustomed to being in class at this time. Make sure to record the session and post the recorded video (MP4) with captions for students to access later.
- Contact Library Services if you have questions related to copyright of the materials you plan to post online (see the Resources Section).
E. Ensuring Accessibility
The most common academic accommodation is extended time for exams/quizzes as noted on a current Student Success Plan (student accommodation plan). Blackboard allows faculty to provide extra time on all timed assessments (quizzes, midterms and final exams). Ensure that all videos and multimedia used in your course (own videos and external sources) are captioned.
- Ally:The Ally tool is part of all Blackboard courses. The tool icon next to documents in your courses provides alternative formats for your students to access depending on their preferred learning style.
- Microsoft Stream (for video captioning and hosting):To address video accessibility requirements, Microsoft Stream allows for creating automated captions that you can edit for accuracy.
- Instructors can post videos they create to their FCC Microsoft Stream account within Office 365 and share them: Post video with autogenerated Closed Captions.
- The Stream video link can be posted to your Blackboard site for student access to your captioned videos: Post your video link to Blackboard.
- Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD): Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) at FCC assists and supports eligible students with disabilities. Please contact SSD in advance if you have questions regarding how to best accommodate students with disabilities while ensuring continuity of teaching and learning.
- FCC’s Web Accessibility Guide provides additional information and resources.
Below is a list of trainings provided by Online Learning and Instructional Innovation and IT to support the transition of courses online using specific Blackboard tools, as well as Skype.
|Blackboard Basics training addresses how to get your content into your LMS Blackboard site. The session includes instructions on uploading files, creating announcements, and completing other critical tasks and steps when moving teaching and learning to the online environment.
|On-site and Virtual Synchronous Sessions: Please visit the Employee Development Calendar to sign up for these sessions.
Self-Paced Session: Access anytime
|For more advanced Blackboard training, take the Blackboard Advanced training online. This session explains how to enter grades, set up assignments, and perform other tasks that you will find helpful.
||Self-Paced Session: Access anytime
|Blackboard Training for Students
||Self-Paced Session: Access anytime
Student Blackboard Training
(Required if you plan to record content or host live sessions)
|Collaborate is a web meeting tool that is built into all FCC Blackboard courses.
Please note that a webcam and/or headset with microphone may be needed to participate.
Access anytime - Registration Required
|Skype (available in FCC Office 365)
||Skype is a telecommunications application that specializes in providing video chat, voice calls, and instant messaging between computers, tablets, and mobile devices via the Internet.
||Please see Resources section below for training guides.
For technical support, submit a HelpDesk Ticket to IT
- Library Services
The Library is available online to support you and your students, and all resources can be accessed at www.frederick.edu/library. In addition, the link to the Library page is automatically embedded in your Blackboard Courses under the “Library Resources” button. The most relevant resources include:
If you or your students have any questions or need help finding resources go to https://answers.frederick.edu to submit questions. Librarians will be monitoring the queue during our usual hours Monday – Thursday, 8:00am – 7:00pm; Friday, 8:00am – 4:00pm; and Saturday, Noon-3:00pm.
- Online Tutoring
Online Tutoring: Students have access to online tutoring for many introductory courses, including English and writing across the curriculum, accounting, math, statistics, biology, chemistry, economics, and computing.
→To connect, students log into Blackboard and click “Online Tutoring,” under “Tools.” - Powered by ThinkingStorm Online Tutoring.
- Web Resources and Articles