We’re seeing more and more institutional responses to the most recent Coronavirus, Covid-19. Thankfully, Covid 19 doesn’t seem as serious as once thought, but some real people are suffering with it, so our thoughts are prayers go out to anyone impacted.
Some of us impacted indirectly are faculty who now have to quickly flip our face-to-face courses to an online format.
Institutionally, this means
- Identifying the handful of baseline tools everyone should be using; this benefits both IT support staff and students who aren’t suddenly stuck navigating a vast number of tools or apps from multiple instructors. At the least, that baseline should include streamlining course websites/LMS’ (ranging from Google Classroom to Moodle to Canvas) and selecting just 1-2 video conferencing tools (like Google Meet or Zoom).
- It also means verifying that both faculty and students can access and participate in both synchronous and asynchronous coursework. That’s no small task.
Once those tools are identified, faculty have two key considerations:
- You’ll likely need to adjust your assignments to accommodate online submission and assessment while also building in more and more structured feedback. (When shifting to online, we lose much of the natural, personal, feedback we—often subconsciously—provided during our traditional classrooms. We also can’t “read the room” as we once did. As a result, “online” requires more quick polls, discussions, or short quizzes to check for understanding incrementally and often.)
- One of the biggest hurdles faculty face when making the jump from a face-to-face course to online is building and maintaining relationships and that sense of community. This relationship building needs to occur between faculty and student . . . and between student and student. Here’s a link to an excellent 2017 post from Inside Higher Ed about how to do just that: https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2017/07/26/ideas-building-online-community
After faculty get comfortable with the tools, you just need get comfortable looking into camera, smiling, and delivering you content as naturally and personably as possible. Fake it until it becomes natural! Some of the content can be synchronous and a little rough around the edges. Some of that content, however, should be polished and cleanly delivered as a stand-alone video. Here’s where I recommend the Little Prompter. It’s a compact personal teleprompter that, with your existing camera, your smartphone, a teleprompter app, and a little practice, can help you deliver flawless instruction directly into camera. So, no matter what video recording or streaming tool you use, don’t forget that the Little Prompter is an inexpensive device that helps you create video flawlessly. By writing a script, importing it into a teleprompter app on your smartphone, setting that smartphone on your teleprompter tray, and pressing record . . . you can easily and flawlessly record your content while looking directly into the camera. More information is available at http://www.littleprompter.com.
Next up, keep yourself healthy by washing your hands, eating and sleeping well, and trying not to touch your face . . . and don’t forget that today is also an opportunity to improve your on-camera delivery when working remotely. The Little Prompter is one of those simple tools that can help you have a flawless delivery—when you’re suddenly in front of a camera, rather than a class.