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A conversation between Xavier's very own Tia Smith (Mass Communications) and Bart Everson (CAT+FD) on teaching, learning, media, and the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tia Smith

Dr. Tia L. Smith joined the Mass Communication Department at Xavier University in 2015 as Department Head. Dr. Smith received her Bachelors in Mass Communication, Speech and Theater from Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina. She earned a Masters of Arts in International Telecommunications with a Concentration in Women’s Studies, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Mass Communication from the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University.

Dr. Smith has worked as a corporate communications consultant, focusing on communication campaigns, media relations and international communication education. She has trained journalists and media professionals throughout the Caribbean and Latin American on covering taboo topics such as Child Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking. She has lived and worked in diverse cultural and learning environments in the United States, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago.

And, in addition to chapters and journal articles, her first book is Contradictions in a Hip-Hop World: An Auto-ethnography of Black Women’s Lived Experiences.


Bart Everson is a media artist and creative generalist at Xavier University's Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development. His recent work draws on integrative learning, activism, critical perspectives on technology, and Earth-based spiritual paths.

Links for this episode:

Transcript:

Coming soon!

Kim Vaz-DevilleToday's guest post is from Kim Vaz-Deville, Professor of Education and Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences

  • First you can inquire how the student is doing/coping.
  • Ask if she or he understands the emails that have been coming out from the department/division/dean's office and academic affairs.
  • Many students do not know what to expect for finishing the courses for the end of the semester. Address concerns and if you don’t know that is okay you can follow up with the right sources.
  • Let them know what academic supports are in place. Students can create a virtual meeting space that their group can visit whenever they want to study and they may also join an existing study group. They can also contact the relevant Academic Resource Center Coordinators to request a tutor or SI to work with your newly created study group. For more information, students should check their emails from Dr. Holmes sent on March 27, 2020 titled “XULA Zoom Study Groups”. For assistance from the Academic Resource Centers see the email from Dr. Holmes sent on March 17, 2020 titled “Academic Resource Centers - Online Tutoring, Review Sessions, and Resources”.
  • You can assign pre-work for the meeting -- tell students what they will need to prepare for the advising session.
  • You can reassure them that they are working toward the goals they have set for themselves. No matter what they are hearing or feeling they are moving forward. Though they are learning remotely/online, they are still in a rich educational environment and will learn what is needed for their success. You can remind them how much the faculty care about them.
  • While summer classes will be "on-line", this might be a good time to clarify the difference between "remote learning" and "online learning". Currently, if their class was face to face, it is now being offered remotely it includes an expectation that the student will login during the time the course is offered so their professors know they are there.
  • In planning for the fall semester, take into account what the summer is going to look like for them. Help them have an academic plan because that will reinforce that there is an endpoint/target.
  • If you are using your personal phone and are concerned about maintaining your privacy, you can use Goggle Voice. If you get the app on your phone, you can make work calls from that number.

Sources:

“Best Practices for Serving Students Remotely” Sponsor: eab.com. Thursday, March 26, 2020

“Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste: How the COVID-19 crisis is pushing liberal arts programs to cultural and institutional innovation.” Hosted by Christopher Malone, Founding Dean School of Arts and Sciences, Molloy College. Sponsor: Council of Colleges of Arts & Sciences. March 25, 2020

Reyna Romero, Director, Advising Services. College of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Houston and Crystal Guillory, Assistant Dean in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at UHD meeting with Kim Vaz-Deville, Associate Dean College of Arts and Sciences, Xavier University of Louisiana, March 31, 2020

Karen NicholsToday's guest post is from Karen Nichols, Distance Education Coordinator in Xavier's Center for Continuing Studies & Distance Education

In 2015, I gave a presentation in CAT which included Netiquette Rules for faculty to apply in their discussion board posts and email correspondence with their students.  The suggestions were fairly common sense:

  • Be polite, respect others’ opinions
  • Don’t use slang or vulgar or texting language
  • Be careful using humor and sarcasm as they don’t always come across correctly in written form
  • DON’T USE ALL CAPS—IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING

Fast forward five years later and we have a whole new layer of Netiquette Rules for live video conferencing.  Meredith Hart just posted a blog last week sharing video conferencing etiquette.  Here are her tips:

Video Conferencing Etiquette

  1. Mute yourself when not speaking.
  2. Be on time.
  3. Ensure your technology works correctly.
  4. Use technology to fully engage remote participants.
  5. Choose the proper software and hardware.
  6. Wear work-appropriate clothing.
  7. Frame the camera correctly.
  8. Have the right light.
  9. Look into the camera.
  10. Pay attention.

Let’s discuss a few of the tips.  

  1. Wear work-appropriate clothing.  I’ve taught online for over 25 years and even now, when I have virtual office hours, I put on make-up, wrap a scarf around my neck (I am a French instructor after all), and put on a pair of earrings for my students.  They don’t have to know that I’m still wearing my slippers, but I want them to know I made the effort for them, even if they are online in their pajamas and wrapped in a blanket.
  2. Frame the camera correctly.  This pertains to both you and your surroundings.  Zoom allows you to check what others will see before you join the meeting.  How do you look? Is the camera pointing up your nostrils or at your left ear?  What do you see in the background? Everyone has been commenting on me in my big easy chair (with a floral curtain pattern behind it).  I don’t have zoom meetings against my huge bookshelf with my artwork and urns of my deceased pets lined up. While comforting for me, they may not be to everyone else’s taste.
  3. Have the right light.  This is something I struggle with.  I wear eyeglasses and too much light causes reflections in the lenses and it’s hard to see my eyes.  Too little and you can’t see my face well. That’s a work in progress for me.
  4. Look into the camera.  This can be tricky if people are sharing screens but try not to be looking off in the distance at your television or out your window at the squirrels playing.
  5. Pay attention.  Yes, it’s so easy to be distracted while at home.  How many of us have had to quiet barking dogs or children coming in to ask questions while we are on a zoom conference?  But do your best to stay focused on the meeting at hand and to stay in the present moment and try not to multi-task too much—stay engaged, especially if you’re online with the students.
  6. This one is most important and not on the list but should be.  Be forgiving of yourself and each other when mistakes are made.  We have all been asked to accomplish a great deal in a short space of time, and no one can be expected to be an expert immediately.

Continue to take care of yourselves and your families. #KeepTeachingXULA

A conversation between Xavier's very own Asem I. Abdulahad (Chemistry), Lisa J. Schulte-Gipson (Psychology), and Steven J. Salm (History), hosted by CAT+FD's Jay Todd and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, on how we're adapting to remote teaching and life in general during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Asem I. AbdulahadDr. Abdulahad earned his B.S. in chemistry from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA in 2006. He then received his Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY working under the guidance of Professor Chang Ryu. Subsequently, Dr. Abdulahad worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Integrated Science at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. Here, he helped to develop laboratory curricula for the Integrated Sciences Curriculum at Virginia Tech and performed research on synthetic polymer materials for high performance and biomedical applications. Dr. Abdulahad spent three years as an instructor of General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry at Jefferson College of Health Sciences prior to joining the Department of Chemistry at Xavier in the Fall of 2017.

Dr. Schulte received her BS from Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). She attended SUNY Albany where she earned both her MA and PhD in Social/Personality Psychology.

Dr. Schulte has worked at Xavier University since 1993. Throughout her tenure at Xavier she has served both the University and Department in many capacities. Her current research focuses on both the scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) and positive psychology (specifically as related to enhancing well-being among students).

Steven J. SalmDr. Salm teaches courses in African history and popular culture, the Black Atlantic World, modern colonialism, and research methods. He has conducted fieldwork in several West African countries, including Ghana and Sierra Leone, and has received a number of awards and fellowships for his work, including a William S. Livingston Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities grant. He has published six books, as well as chapters and articles on topics as diverse as gender, youth, music, literature, religion, urbanization, and popular culture. He currently holds the Alumni Class of 1958 Endowed Professorship in the Humanities and serves as the Department Chair of History and the Division Chair of Fine Arts and Humanities.

Elizabeth Yost HammerElizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University.

 

Jay Todd studied writing with Frederick and Steven Barthelme and Mary Robison at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He teaches English and serves as Associate Director of CAT+FD.

Links for this episode

Transcript

Coming soon!

Last year we saw a tenfold increase in Xavier's participation for the Bike Easy April Challenge.

This year, things are different. Way different. We're not biking to campus now. Most of us haven't even set foot on campus for a couple weeks.

Bummer!

Here's the good news: In spite of everything, the challenge is still on. Instead of riding to campus, we'll just do solo bike rides around town.

As we all know, we are under a stay-at-home order. However, walks and bike rides are still allowed. In fact, they are encouraged, as long as we maintain appropriate distance (6' or more) from others.

We can all stay connected through the Love to Ride website (see link below) where we can share photos, send messages, and track all our rides.

It's a fun, free competition between organizations. Last year, Xavier's own Terry Watt was the top commuter not just for our team but in the entire city. It doesn't matter if you ride every day or if you haven't been on a bike in years. You only have to ride for ten minutes to be eligible for some truly awesome prizes. You can also win by encouraging others to ride.

New Orleans has a high percentage of residents who bike to work, compared with other American cities. Yet we could certainly do better by our bike riders, our transit riders, and our pedestrians. As I've argued elsewhere, safe transport is an issue of social justice and aligned with Xavier's mission.

Sign up for the challenge now at lovetoride.net/bikeeasy

I'm joining the challenge to get more Xavier faculty and staff riding bikes in New Orleans. Riding a bike can make you happier, healthier and wealthier. That's what I call professional development!

Help road signs

As you continue to teach remotely during this disruption, you may have questions. Here is a list of Brightspace help resources you can use to get answers to your questions.

Live Chat icon

Additionally, if you are having difficulties using any of the course tools, you can get help from D2L. This help is available 24/7 via Email and Live Chat. You will find links for Email Support and Live Chat Support in the Help menu on the NavBar (inside of Brightspace). You must be logged into Brightspace to access the Email and Live Chat Support links.

Help Menu

Want more information?

Visit our #KeepTeachingXULA wiki resource
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: Image by geralt from Pixabay

update

D2L (the company that owns Brightspace) uses Continuous Delivery to update our Brightspace system. The Continuous Delivery model gives us regular monthly updates allowing for incremental and easily integrated changes with no downtime required for our Brightspace system.

Our Continuous Delivery update occurs on the 4th Thursday of each month. D2L provides release notes to help users stay up-to-date with the changes.

Here are a few updates in the March 2020/20.20.3 release that were added to our system this month:

1) Announcements – Display author information

To provide more information to users, Announcements now supports displaying author information (name and timestamp) on new and edited announcements.

If a user has the new permission, when the user creates or edits an announcement, a new Show Author Information check box displays in the New/Edit Announcement page, allowing them to choose if they want author information to display.

Users reading the announcement may see some or all of the following author information:

  • the original author
  • the original date and time of the announcement
  • the author who edited the announcement
  • the date and time of the edit
The new Show Author Information option on the New/Edit Announcement page
The new Show Author Information option on the New/Edit Announcement page

Author information in an announcement
Author information in an announcement

2) Groups – Set exact time learners can self-enroll

When setting up groups that allow learners to self-enroll, instructors can now add an exact time when enrollment opens, and an exact time when self-enrollment expires. Previously, instructors could only set the date when enrollment opened or expired.

Example of setting exact time when enrollment opens and expires
Set exact time when enrollment opens and expires

3) Quick Eval – Support for anonymous marking

Assignments created with the Hide student names during assessment option selected now display in Quick Eval’s Submission view with learner names and profile images hidden. Instructors using anonymous marking can access Quick Eval with confidence that it supports their anonymous marking needs.

Example of Anonymous Marking check box
Anonymous Marking check box visible when creating assignment submission folders

Example of hidden learner names and profile images in Quick Eval Submissions view
Learner names and profile images are hidden in Quick Eval Submissions view

4) Rubrics – Confirmation message for partially unevaluated rubrics

To prevent publishing partially unevaluated rubrics, the publishing workflow in the new Rubrics grading experience now includes a confirmation message that warns users when the rubric is not fully evaluated. Instructors have the option to continue publishing, or cancel. Warning messages appear when publishing a rubric for an individual student and when bulk publishing rubrics. Users attempting to publish an incomplete rubric evaluation must now click Publish to complete the workflow.

Example of confirmation message when attempting to publish an incomplete evaluation
The confirmation message asks users if they want to publish anyway, when attempting to publish an incomplete evaluation for an individual learner.

Example of confirmation message listing names of learners whose rubric evaluations are not complete
When attempting to bulk publish incomplete rubrics, the confirmation message lists the names of learners whose rubric evaluations are not complete.

5) Rubrics – Improved accessibility in Rubric grading

In Rubrics, when using keyboard navigation to tab to a row of selectable cells, there is now a focus indicator to help orient users on the page.

6) Rubrics – Overall Score levels calculated after rubric criteria completion

In the new Rubrics grading experience, the Overall Score level is now only calculated after all the criteria in the rubric have been assessed. This change optimizes rubric performance by eliminating the calculation of incomplete Overall Score levels until the rubric evaluation is completed, and improves the grading experience for instructors and rubric evaluators.

If you are interested in getting more information about these and all the March Continuous Delivery updates, refer to the Brightspace Platform March 2020/20.20.3 Release Notes.

Additionally, refer to the Brightspace Release Notes for Continuous Delivery Releases, for details about current, past, and to preview upcoming continuous delivery updates.

Want more information?

View current, past, and preview upcoming Continuous Delivery release notes
#KeepTeachingXULA wiki resource
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by geralt from Pixabay

Do you want your students to take a quiz or test online? Do you have a test that you normally administer on paper and you don’t want to retype all the questions into Brightspace. Learning and Teaching Services at Algonquin College developed a Test/Quiz Question Generator that provides an easy way of creating a collection of questions that can be imported into Brightspace.

the word quiz written out

Quiz questions have to be in a special format in order to be imported into Brightspace. The Test/Quiz Question Generator allows you to reformat your questions and it will create a CSV file that can be imported into Brightspace. Refer to this question types and formatting guide for information on how to format your questions.

If you want to save time creating tests and quizzes by not having to retype test questions into Brightspace, try the Test/Quiz Question Generator.

ICYMI, follow this link to watch a recording of our Back to Basics: Tests and Quizzes workshop.

Want more information?

Test/Quiz Question Generator
Question types and formatting guide (for the Test/Quiz Question Generator)
Quizzes, Surveys, and Question Libraries
#KeepTeachingXULA wiki resource
View all the Brightspace training recaps
Brightspace Known Issues
Request a sandbox course
Sign-up for Brightspace training sessions
You can find Brightspace help at D2L's website.
Join the Brightspace Community.
Try these Brightspace How-To documents.
Visit our Brightspace FAQs for additional Brightspace information
or schedule a one-on-one session, email, or
call Janice Florent: (504) 520-7418.

Note: Are you doing something innovative in Brightspace or perhaps you've discovered a handy tip? Share how you are using Brightspace in your teaching and learning in The Orange Room.

Image credit: image by AnnCarter from Pixabay

1

A conversation between Xavier's very own Robin Vander (English), Terry Watt (Chemistry), and Sloane Signal (Education), hosted by CAT+FD's Jay Todd and Elizabeth Yost Hammer, on teaching and learning after our quick pivot online in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sloane SignalSloane M. Signal holds a BA in Spanish and an MBA in both Marketing and Management from Tulane University, and completed her PhD in Higher Education Leadership and Administration at Jackson State University


Robin VanderRobin Vander holds an M.A. and  Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Terry WattTerry Watt holds an M.S. in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology


Elizabeth Yost HammerElizabeth Yost Hammer is the Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Faculty Development and a Kellogg Professor in Teaching in the Psychology Department. She received her Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Tulane University.


Jay Todd studied writing with Frederick and Steven Barthelme and Mary Robison at the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He teaches English and serves as Associate Director of CAT+FD.

Transcript

Coming soon!

If you're like me, you spent a lot of time in the past week thinking about how you will hold your classes online, but not a lot of time thinking about how you will hold your office hours online. Office hours don't usually require much forethought. You show up and deal with whatever comes up.

But now we need to think about our office hours, in particular, how we will make ourselves available to our students during those times. There are a number of options for doing this, including Virtual Classroom and Google Hangouts. I've decided to use Zoom, since that's what I'm using for my synchronous class meetings. But instead of creating a new Zoom meeting for every office hour (which would make for a real mess every time I log into Zoom, even if I just did recurring meetings), I'm going to use my Personal Meeting Room in Zoom.

Personal Meeting Room

Zoom's Personal Meeting Room is a meeting you set up once (although you can change the settings whenever you want), but that you can start and stop whenever you want. This way, there's only one URL you need to provide your students. It's sort of like telling your student where your office is on the first day of class. Once they now where it is (theoretically) you never have to tell them again.

For the most part, setting up your Personal Meeting Room is the same as setting up any other meeting in Zoom, but you don't give it a special name or description, and you don't have to worry about any scheduling details. To change the settings, click on the Personal Meeting Room tab.

The toolbar for Meetings on the Xula.Zoom.Us web site.
The tabs available when on the meetings page on the Xula.Zoom.Us site.
The toolbar for Meetings when in Brightspace.
The tabs available when on the meetings page on the Zoom page in Brightspace.

Branding

One of the nice options with the Personal Meeting Room is that you can change the Join URL to make it more personal. Whereas with regular meetings, you just use whatever 9-digit code the system generates for you, with your Personal Meeting Room, you can customize the link. This makes it easier to for students to remember (just like how they remember your office location). It also gives you the opportunity to do a little personal branding.

A screenshot of the Zoom page listing the settings for my Personal Meeting Room.
With Personal Meeting Rooms, you can customize the Join URL to make them easier to remember (and to do a little personal branding).
Screenshot of the main menu on the Xula.Zoom.Us web site.
The profile settings, and many others, are only accessible by logging into Xula.Zoom.Us.

However, you don't change it on the Edit This Meeting page. Instead, you need go into Profile, but you can only do this through the Xula.Zoom.Us web site. You can't access your profile settings by going in through Brightspace. When you log into Xula.Zoom.Us, you'll see the following menu on the left of the screen. Click on PROFILE, and you'll be able to change a number of details about your account, including the profile picture that will appear in a meeting when you have your video camera turned off. You can also connect your Zoom account to your Google calendar, and many other things from this page. What we're interested in here, though, is your ability to change your Personal Link. Click on Customize, and you can change what follows the the main part of the URL (https://xula.zoom.us/my/). Instead of a randomly generated string, I plugged in my name: jason.s.todd. Your customization can be between 5 and 40 characters, but it can only contain letters (a-z), numbers (0-9) and periods (".").

A screenshot of the profile settings page on Xula.Zoom.Us.
From the profile page of the Xula.Zoom.Us site, you can change a variety of settings that you can't access through Brightspace.

So now I can add this link — just one link — on my Brightspace course. I can start and stop this "meeting" whenever I want, so when it's time for an office hour, I just go into Zoom, click on Personal Meeting Room, and click Start Meeting. I should note that this new URL I've created is just an alias of my real PMR link, that string of random characters. Still, it's a handy way to make it easier for your students to get in touch with you.

Calendar Events

I've also created recurring events in Calendars for each of my courses in Brightspace noting my office hours and providing the link. I've done the same thing with our regular class meetings. This way, when the students look at the Upcoming Events or the Course Schedule on Brightspace, they'll see, in addition to their upcoming deadlines, reminders with links for my office hours. In addition, if the student has installed Brightspace's Pulse app on their smartphone, they will receive notifications about these events.

This is a screenshot of the upcoming events section in Brightspace.
Using Calendar events and Due Dates in Brightspace provides students with clear reminders about what's coming up in your class. For new remote learners, this may have a significant impact on their ability to keep on schedule with your class.