We’ve listed 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
Connect IT has provided a technology guide for staff working remotely. Other considerations are:
- Ask an IT-savvy colleague to help you with new technologies or contact the Staff Service Centre.
- Make sure your web browser is up to date. Most browsers update automatically, but if you are unsure, see a guide on how to update your browser.
- Install the University’s VPN service (Virtual Private Network) to your home PC. This connects you to the campus network for access to systems that are behind a firewall.
- Download the Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) 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 have problems, submit a Staff Service Centre request.
- In addition to your Home drive, consider the free Cloud file storage through Microsoft OneDrive. OneDrive makes your files accessible from any device. Log in to OneDrive using your University login e.g., email@example.com. If you don’t already have it, download the OneDrive app to your computer. The app looks just like a regular folder on your desktop but everything saved to it will synchronise with your Cloud storage.
- If you require specialist software in your labs, familiarise yourself with FlexIT. This enables off-campus access to lab software. 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 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 University licensed software, contact Connect IT software services through the IT Portal.
Familiarise yourself with the information sent to students by the University and what support services are available. This may help minimise duplication of effort and mixed messaging.
- 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.
- You may have students in your course who are overseas. Find out how to identify offshore students.
- Publish the course assessments on Canvas early. Provide clear instructions and marking criteria and make it easy for students to find assessment information. This also helps staff at Student Disability Services understand what assessment factors may pose a barrier to students with disabilities, in order to work with course coordinators to provide additional support.
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 using a Canvas discussion forum, to start building a community. 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 and let students know how they can contact you. You may have your own preference, either through Canvas (Inbox) or by email. Add your office hours to the Canvas site and include the time zone, e.g. NZST.
Instruct students to review their Canvas notifications settings. These are found under the Account button on 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. Note that you can use Canvas Announcements to message offshore students separately, as they will have been streamed into Canvas Sections by the University’s International Office.
- Ask students to install Zoom on their computer.
- Ask them to upload a profile photo to Canvas: https://canvas.auckland.ac.nz/profile, and the same for Zoom: https://auckland.zoom.us/profile. Let them know they can use a virtual Zoom background if they wish and whether you expect the to keep their cameras on or off.
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, for access to systems that are otherwise unavailable off campus. See information about accessing restricted technologies from off-campus and blocked from various countries.
Please note that not all students have a broadband internet connection. Some students also conduct their studies entirely via a mobile phone. Teachers should be mindful of document file sizes and not expect that all students can consume large files. Consider exporting large Word documents and PowerPoint files to compressed PDF files. ‘Chunk’ videos and upload them to Panopto where possible.
Talis readings list and copyright
- Make sure your Talis readings list is up to date.
- Check that your course readings are available electronically and order electronic versions of readings where necessary.
- Read about copyright provisions and course readings availability to students.
- Familiarise yourself with making the best use of Talis readings.
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 make 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.
Page updated 20/07/2022 (minor updates)