Tips on Transitioning to Online Classes
Notes from Kelly Lester, Director of the Center for Faculty Development
- If you have been using Canvas all semester as a supplement to your course, then your
course is published and cannot be unpublished, BUT you can keep new content unpublished
until you are ready for the students to see it.
- If you have NOT been using Canvas for your course this semester, then you will need
to PUBLISH your course on or before March 30. Otherwise the students will not see
- Yesterday, I heard from a student in my honors course that she has a laptop, but is
sharing with her sister at home. This is one example of the changed situations that
our students are adjusting to at home. It is very important for faculty to offer
content in an asynchronous way. This allows flexibility for the student to complete
course work, and lessens the potential for technical glitches and failures due to
bandwidth. (Synchronous teaching requires all students in courses to be online in
a live lecture or conference at a designated time. Asynchronous allows students to
access material within a given time frame, like a week-by-week schedule, without the
requirement to be online at a specific time.)
- We suggest that faculty organize their courses in week-by-week modules with low stakes
assignments to keep students on track in the course. Some ideas for low stakes assignments
are discussion boards, low stakes quizzes, and submission of skeletal notes.
- The Office of Online Learning has created a video of “How to Move Your Lecture Online” (https://youtu.be/XXQpHJBLDvw).
- Faculty should take advantage of the companion software Yuja that connects to Canvas.
This is a great way to record or upload digital lectures. Yuja allows faculty members
to have 100G of space as opposed to the 1 G/course space that is available in Canvas.
I started using this platform this week and it is relatively easy to navigate.
- Faculty need to be mindful of accessibility in designing their course. This includes
having transcription for digital lectures. Yuja will automatically create the closed
caption for the videos.
- Faculty should put assignment grades in canvas. This includes the grades from the
first half of the semester. Students will be able to see their grades. Specifically
in the mobile app, the dashboard tiles will show the students total percentage in
courses. I suggest creating one assignment with a total for week 1-8, or listing exams
grades as an average if this task seems cumbersome. I also recommend getting the most
immediate material posted for March 30 and then attend to other components of the
course (including the gradebook). When students have misconceptions of their grades
in courses, then the grade appeals increases.
- Students who are using the mobile app on their phone can view, read, and look through
course material. If they submit an assignment on Canvas, then the document must have
the document on their phone. This means that if the document was not created on the
phone, then it will need to be uploaded to the phone before submitting it by phone.
For quizzes, it will appear to the student that the assignment was submitted HOWEVER,
the faculty will not see an assignment. Students should not take quizzes/tests/exams
on the phone. This is important to communicate to your students.
- If faculty need a course cross-listed, they need to email onlineFREEMississippi. In the email, please include the course and section numbers of all courses you wish
to crosslist. If you have multiple crosslist requests, please separate these in the
- If a faculty member needs more support in Canvas, the Canvas Crash course is the main
way to have the resources continuously available. Faculty will need to accept the
course. It will appear at the top of the screen in Canvas once logged in. Once faculty
members are in this course, it will show up on the dashboard. It includes modules
on how to create material, quizzes, discussion boards, Yuja, and more. This is the
link to register for this course https://forms.usm.edu/provost/view.php?id=170159
- Lastly, we have a new page to help students who have limited or no wifi access at home. The site lists free wifi hotspots throughout Mississippi as well as companies
that offer reduced rate internet access and computers to qualifying households with