Moving Your Class Online – A Crash Course

In the event of a disruption to on-campus classes and / or normal business operations at GGC, you may need to act quickly in order to move your course(s) online; the following guidelines and resources are intended to help you do so as quickly and painlessly as possible. Note that you may need to log in to D2L in order to access some of the the links below.

Recording Your Lectures

Recording your lectures and making the videos available in Brightspace gives your students an opportunity to go over the material multiple times and on their own schedule, allowing them increased agency and greater opportunities for mastery of the content. You can use GGC’s Kaltura software to record yourself lecturing or to record your screen while you narrate your slides – it’s your choice. All you need is a laptop with an built-in (or external) webcam and microphone.

You can also use the Ink2Go application (which should already be installed on your laptop) as a virtual whiteboard / blackboard or to annotate any other program on your laptop. Ink2Go has the built-in capability to record your screen as you do so; you can then upload the video to D2L using the My Media link in your course.

Kaltura can also automatically caption your videos for greater accessibility (although you will need to go in and edit the text before posting your videos – automatic captioning is… shall we say… far from perfect). Try to break your recorded lectures up into manageable chunks for online viewing – the general recommendation is to keep your videos between 5 to 10 minutes long (and shorter is generally better).

If you would like to record the screen on an iPhone or iPad rather than your laptop, you can record directly from your device (be sure to complete the first step so that you can see the record button), or you may wish to download the Techsmith Capture app (which requires a free account to use). Note that you can also upload video from your iOS device, Ink2Go, and Techsmith Capture (as well as many other sources) to D2L using the My Media link.

Considering Your Content

If you are using a physical textbook in your face-to-face class, there’s no reason that you can’t continue to do so in an online course. If you are currently providing additional content in the form of PDFs and links to websites or online videos (or if you would like to start doing so), you can easily add those in Brightspace. Be sure to organize your content clearly and logically by creating modules (and submodules) first, and then add your content within the appropriate modules as necessary.

A welcome module containing the syllabus, an introduction to the course, and a welcome video from the instructor is great way to welcome your students and direct them to the starting point for the course. It is generally best to organize your content sequentially by units and to include all of the content for each unit (including links to any assignments, discussions, or quizzes) within the appropriate module. Be careful not to make your course structure too complex (no more than one or two submodules deep) so that your students don’t have to spend too much time hunting for the proper content.

Remember that the Kaufman Library has many resources that can legally be included in your online classes. Contact the library staff for more information.

Setting Up Your Gradebook

Before you set up any graded assignments or quizzes in Brightspace, you should make sure that you have set up your Gradebook correctly. This is probably the trickiest part about using Brightspace (but don’t worry; it’s not all that complicated, and we’re happy to help). You will then need to set up your grade categories and allocate the proper percentage weight to those categories (based on the weighting described in your syllabus), and then set up grade items in the Gradebook for each individually graded assignment, discussion, or quiz.

Setting Up Assignments in Brightspace

Assignments in Brightspace are essentially dropboxes in which students can submit files that they have created in order to fulfill the requirements of a particular assignment. Your students can submit Word documents, PDFs, images, or a variety of other media.

Setting Up Discussions in Brightspace

Discussions are a great way to have students interact with each other and demonstrate their understanding of the course material. One common practice is to have your students write a discussion post on a specific topic (or as a response to a specific question) and then have them read and comment on three other students’ posts.

Setting up Quizzes in Brightspace

You can also create tests and quizzes in Brightspace using a variety of question types, and have D2L automatically grade them and add the grades to the Gradebook (as long as the questions have quantifiably correct answers, of course). Remember that you will need to create a grade item in the Gradebook for every quiz and link the correct quiz to the correct grade item. You can also manually grade your quizzes and then manually enter the grades into the Gradebook.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous Learning

All of the tools above provide ways for students to interact asynchronously (whenever they have time) with the course and with each other. You may also wish to set up one or more synchronous class sessions, in which students log in at a pre-scheduled time for a live online class session. You can do this using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Both you and your students will probably need some setup and practice time with this tool, so it’s a good idea to schedule one or more test sessions well in advance of any crucial online class meetings.

Are You Ready for More?

Moving Your Classes Online Quickly – a Sway presentation based on some of the resources below

Creating a Brightspace Course for the First Time

Creating an Online Course: A Step by Step Guide

Three Quick Tools to Get You Teaching a Course in Brightspace

The Transition from Face-to-Face to Online Learning

Additional Resources

Brightspace 101 Guide to Teaching Online (includes a module on Moving a Face-to-Face Course Online Quickly)

Brightspace 101 for Students

Faculty Resources

Set Up and Deliver a Course (a comprehensive guide from D2L)

The Instructional Design Emergency Response (ID-ER) Network connects institutions and educators to online learning professionals willing to help convert face-to-face courses or course components to online offerings during times of crisis, such as natural disasters and epidemics.