Familiarise yourself with the staff remote teaching readiness checklist. We listed required technologies provided by the University in order to connect to the campus network, communicate with your students, and provide course resources and assessments.
Technology and software
For staff teaching from home, Connect IT has provided a technology guide for staff working remotely. Other considerations for teaching remotely are:
- If there is a new technology that you will need to use, familiarise yourself with that now. Ask an IT-savvy colleague to help you if you can or contact the Staff Service Centre.
- Make sure your web browser is up to date, i.e., Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge. Most browsers do this automatically, but if you are unsure, see a guide on how to update your browser.
- Install the University’s new VPN service (Virtual Private Network) to your home PC. This connects you to the campus network for access to systems that are behind the Firewall.
- Download the Two-Factor Authentication app to your computer desktop or mobile device and link it to your University login.
- Make sure you can connect to your Home drive (H: drive) from off campus. See the ‘Working from home reference guide’ on how to connect to your Home drive. If you are unable to do that, submit a Staff Service Centre request.
- In addition to your Home drive, you may wish to use the free cloud file storage available through your University Google Drive account. Log in to www.drive.google.com using your university login, e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you require specialist software in your labs, familiarise yourself with FlexIT and how it works. FlexIT enables off-campus access to software that would otherwise only be available on campus. Request access to FlexIT and check the available software list. If something is missing from the list, please inquire through the IT Portal.
- Install Zoom for hosting or joining online meetings (you will need a webcam or at least a microphone). Some people also like to use Skype for Business in order to text chat colleagues or make video calls. If you are using a University laptop or PC, this is available through the Software Centre for PC or Apple Mac Self-Service. For videoconferencing, your internet download speed should be at least 1.5Mbps (megabits per second). Check your speed at www.speedtest.net and talk to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if required.
- For any other requests for University licensed software, contact Connect IT software services through the IT Portal.
- If you wish to copy content from last year’s Canvas course into this semester’s course, please review the guide on importing a Canvas course.
- Incorporate messages into your course that promote academic integrity. Refer to the academic integrity summary checklist.
- Make sure your Canvas course is published. Similarly, remember to publish any modules, pages, assignments, discussions etc. that are ready to be released to the students. Do the same for any new materials that you create during the semester.
- In Semester Two 2020, you may have students in your course who are overseas. Find out how to identify offshore students.
Welcome your students to the course
Providing a personal welcome is a great way set the best possible tone and climate and develop a positive relationship with students. Create a personal introduction video and include it in your welcome announcement so students are introduced to teaching staff. Explain the course outline and let students know what they will achieve in the course (objectives).
- Consider using this welcome to the course template in your initial announcement.
- Consider also including the personal introduction template.
You can encourage students to introduce themselves too.
- Ask students to introduce themselves to each other in a discussion forum to start building a community, e.g., organise students in Canvas Groups and use the Canvas Discussion or some other activity (refer to the TEC-VARIETY article below).
Including off-campus students in a positive learning experience (The University of Sydney)
Adding Some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online
Contact details and virtual office hours
Have a communications plan. Let students know how they can contact you. You may have your own preference here e.g., either through Canvas (Inbox) or by email.
Instruct students to review their Canvas notifications settings. These are found under the Account button on the Canvas side menu. Advise them to turn on notifications for (at least) Announcements and Conversations, Due Date, and Calendar.
Ask students to ensure their University email account is forwarding to their personal email address (for those who prefer to use personal email only).
To-do list for preparing students
Consider when you want students to familiarise themselves with your Canvas course, when your course will be ‘viewable’ and what things they will be able to view at this time.
Create a to-do list for students using the to-do-list template.
- Explain where students will go to get their course information and updates (refer them to their Canvas Group space if used).
- Ensure students understand how the course will work by referring them to the Syllabus page.
- Explain how the assessments will work for Offshore Students.
- Have students check whether they are able to view your introduction video.
If you have students in your course who are overseas, or studying remotely from within New Zealand, ask them to download and install the University’s VPN service (Virtual Private Network). This enables them to connect their home computer to the campus network with access to systems that are otherwise unavailable from off campus. See more information about accessing restricted technologies from off-campus and blocked from various countries.
Talis readings list and copyright
- Make sure your Talis readings list is up to date.
- Check that your course readings are available electronically.
- Order electronic versions of course readings.
- Read about copyright provisions and course readings availability to students.
During the semester
- Provide a weekly guide for your course (download a weekly guide template). State what your students will learn this week (learning outcomes). What tasks do you need them to do? Give clear instructions of how you want students to prepare for and do during (and after) the class.
- Monitor weekly discussions. Be careful not to ‘jump into the conversation too soon’ – lecturer presence can sometimes stifle a discussion but you also do not want them to continue on with obviously incorrect assumptions.
- Make sure resources are available to all students – remember to publish your Canvas pages, assessments etc.
- Record your class sessions and making these available to Offshore Students.
- Consider conducting a formative evaluation of your course in order to understand your students’ pain points. You may be able to adapt your course delivery accordingly.