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Smeal Academy Newsletter

Who Moved My Zoom? – Summer 2021 Newsletter 4

Summer 2021 Resilience – Week 4

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique teaching challenges of this time. Throughout the summer, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

Last week we discussed reshaping your Fall semester. This week, we share resources that can help you utilize Kaltura for your video storage and sharing needs.

Who Moved My Zoom?

Penn State is urging you to do a “Summer Clean Up” of Zoom storage. This announcement reflects a shift in the University’s video storage and delivery policy away from Zoom and towards Kaltura. Recording in Zoom is still recommended.

Accompanying the request to delete unused recordings from Zoom will be other changes coming this Fall which could change workflows related to sharing video content with students.

To ease the transition from Zoom to Kaltura for video storage and delivery we’ve provided an overview of Kaltura and its integration with Canvas below. We will also be conducting a “Who Moved My Zoom?” Smeal Faculty Academy session in the near future to discuss some of the Fall changes and updated best practices in more detail.

What Is Kaltura?

Kaltura is Penn State’s tool for storing, publishing and streaming media. It’s cloud based and works in conjunction with Zoom and Canvas to help incorporate digital content into coursework easily and seamlessly. The Penn State Web site that hosts Kaltura is named Mediaspace – so you may read articles that mention it.

Why Zoom Video Storage is Transitioning to Kaltura

  • Zoom storage is expensive. Penn State needs to reduce our costs.
  • Zoom videos are already automatically transferred to Kaltura for storage/delivery.
  • Providing captions to videos is easier in Kaltura.
  • You can structure your Kaltura videos into Playlists for easy access.
  • You can easily integrate your videos and Playlists into Canvas.
  • You can view robust viewer analytics on Kaltura videos.

How Zoom and Kaltura Work Together

  • Video content recorded in Zoom is automatically stored in Kaltura as well.
  • While Kaltura does have a tool to record video, it is not an optimal recording solution. We recommend recording videos using Zoom then using Kaltura to publish, store, and deliver video content through its seamless integration with Canvas.

How to Access Kaltura

  • You can go to the Kaltura Web Site.
  • You can access it directly at the Mediaspace Web Site.
  • You can also view your Kaltura videos from Canvas by clicking the “My Media” option on your Canvas Main Navigation.

How to Locate and Organize Your Kaltura Videos

  1. Locate Kaltura Videos
    Once you have logged into Kaltura or opened My Media in Canvas, you can search by keywords in Kaltura’s search functionality, or use search Filters to narrow your results.
  2. Organize Kaltura Videos
    Videos can be organized into Playlists (video collections in a list viewable by anyone) and Channels (video collections shared with specific users).
  3. Access Kaltura Analytics
    Instructors can view robust Kaltura analytics for both stand-alone videos embedded into course content as well as Course Media Galleries. These analytics can provide useful insights using metrics such as Plays, Minutes Viewed, and Completion Rate, to name a few. This data can be used to improve future content offerings, identify content that is under-utilized by students, and provide a means to hold students accountable for watching required content.
  4. Share Your Kaltura Videos in Canvas
    Rich integrations between the Canvas and Kaltura platforms streamline delivering video content to students. These integrations eliminate the need to log into multiple systems to find and deliver videos, reduce the chance of errors caused by copying long links or embed code, and provide the assurance that security, access, and analytics are at optimum levels.Videos can be organized within Canvas using the Course Media Gallery option. Each Canvas course contains a “hidden” Course Media Gallery. It must be activated by the instructor or other course editor within Canvas to be used. Using the Course Media Gallery ensures that analytics will capture individual student activity and that video permissions are set to allow students in your course to view video content.You can also embed individual videos into Canvas pages, announcements, quizzes, etc.

Upcoming Live Sessions

Clickers Be Gone: What Now?

With iClicker support ending in Spring 2022, this session will explore alternative technologies and strategies for interactive polling in your courses and explore some considerations as you transition away from iClicker use.

Join us Wednesday, August 11 from 12 to 1 p.m. via Zoom.

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

Tip 1: Access Help Docs About Canvas

Got a burning Canvas question and you need the answer NOW? Here are some ways to get that answer:

  • Access Canvas Docs: Visit the Canvas Community for great, step-by-step instructions on just about anything related to Canvas.
  • Access Canvas Help: In Canvas, click the Help button (a question mark) in the lower left area of the screen. From there you can text chat with or call an expert, access help documents, and more!

Tip 2: Write Better Discussion Questions

Match discussion questions with your learning objectives to evoke deeper, richer responses and interactions in online discussions. View this site on Online Discussions to learn more!

Tip 3: Use Low or No-stakes Quizzes to Elicit Learning

Research on low or no-stakes quizzes indicates that students perform better on the “real” quizzes and exams. It’s a great way for students to test themselves, discover their weaknesses and proactively address them.
Source: Ungraded Quizzes: Any Chance They Promote Learning? (2015). Teaching Professor, 29(5), 3.

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Reshaping Your Fall Semester  – Summer 2021 Newsletter 3

Summer 2021 Readiness – Week 3

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique teaching challenges of this time. Throughout the summer, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

Last week we discussed the Lessons Learned from the pandemic. This week, we share resources that can help you look to the Fall and how you will reshape your courses to meet the demands of students, and the need to keep them engaged. During your teaching in the last year and a half, you may have started using technologies you never used before.

Collaborative Technologies

You may have used collaborative technologies like discussion boards, slides, notes, polls, whiteboards, collaborative documents, Zoom chat features, and videos as a way of engaging students in constructing their understanding of your content. You may be thinking about your Fall courses and wondering how you can take the best of what you did and mix it with your teaching methods used before the pandemic. Students often want to use their technologies in the classroom, anyway, so why not leverage their tech and put it to work?! Consider having students bring their devices and connect to some of these collaborative technologies while engaged in your face-to-face teaching.

Informal Course Communications

Using Zoom chat and discussion boards or other technologies that capture students’ responses has become a new way for students to connect with you and each other. You may have found in some classes that you were challenged to get students to “unmute” and be engaged. We find that at times students are as unlikely to unmute and share ideas in virtual classrooms as in-person students are to raise their hand in a live lecture. However, the chat stream may have been very busy essentially forming something we call the “backchannel.” This channel permitted you to engage in less formal ways. Students may have felt it was less risky to answer a question in the chat interactions. You can continue to capitalize on this channel in the coming year if it aligns with your course and student needs. When used purposefully and with inclusive and respectful communication, backchannels can offer an important communication mode for students to interact with course content, the instructor, and each other.

Breakout Rooms

During the pandemic, if you wanted to facilitate small groups, you may have turned to using breakout rooms for collaboration between students. You may have used breakout rooms to ask students information about their prior knowledge, to have them work on problems or cases, or to wrap up and identify points of interest or confusion. You can continue to use these tools in your face-to-face learning to garner the benefits of the additional tools that came along with them, like whiteboards, screen sharing, and internet searching. In socially distanced, mixed audiences and fully face-to-face classrooms, a student can put on headphones and get to work together on meaningful activities. You might be surprised to find them doing this even outside the classroom if you leave your digital space open to students.

Come to this week’s Smeal Academy webinar to learn more about ways to reshape your courses this fall.

Resources

Glantz, E., Gamrat, C., Lenze, L., & Bardzell, J. (2021, March 16). Improved Student Engagement in Higher Education’s Next Normal. EDUCAUSE Review.

Current News

Zoom Storage

Zoom, Penn State’s video conferencing solution, has limited storage capacity and is not intended as a long-term storage solution. Penn State IT asks that everyone reviews and deletes recordings stored in Zoom which are no longer needed. All Zoom recordings are automatically transferred to Kaltura and are currently stored on that platform. While temporary links to videos stored in Zoom are fine, permanent links should always direct your viewers to Kaltura. Later this summer more extensive plans will be shared to help manage Zoom storage, including matching links from Zoom to Kaltura, updating permalinks that you may have, and documentation and help resources. For now, we ask that you review your old Zoom recordings and delete those which are no longer needed. For more information how to delete recordings in Zoom, please refer to Zoom: Delete Cloud Recordings.

Piazza Model Change

The Piazza vendor informed individuals at Penn State with Piazza accounts that they are reversing course on placing ads in its discussion platform as previously announced, however, Piazza will be shifting to a paid model. A free version of Piazza can be used, but starting August 1, 2021, premium features such as polls, statistics, and class locking capabilities will only be available in the paid version. Check out the full story in Penn State News.

VoiceThread New Assignment Interface

VoiceThread’s New Assignment interface is being turned on university-wide on June 30, 2021. Until that date, instructors may, if they choose, enable New Assignments on a per-course basis. After June 30, the New Assignment interface will be turned on for all VoiceThread users and the old interface will no longer be available. Read this article on how to enable VoiceThread New Assignments. To learn about the new features, check out the following resource: VoiceThread: Using New Assignments. Please refer to our knowledge base article How to Incorporate Learning Tool Integrations (LTIs) in Your Course to learn how to activate VoiceThread or any other integration into Canvas. If additional support is required, please email canvas@psu.edu.

Top Hat

Top Hat is a cloud-based student engagement platform that leverages student’s devices to increase in-class engagement and real-time feedback. Instructors can engage students in and outside of the classroom with interactive slides, graded questions, customized content, discussions, polls, and assessments. Top Hat is free for all Penn State faculty, staff, and students. Additionally, Top Hat offers free and low-cost textbook options to increase affordability for students. If you are interested in learning more about Top Hat, ITLD and Top Hat are offering “bite-sized” classes on how to help you get acquainted with the tool a little bit at a time. Visit the ITDL events calendar to get started.

Upcoming Live Sessions

Scaling Courses for Growing and Changing Enrollments

Student enrollments are beginning to shift to reflect the long-term desire of some students for flexible learning with the option of accessing the robust remote learning designs you offered during the pandemic. Enrollments may increase or may vary in delivery mode with students attending class from multiple audiences (face-to-face, hybrid, and/or online/asynchronous). In this session, we will discuss how to respond to the growing demands for your class and best practices in scaling your course for continued engagement shifts, regardless of course size or delivery mode.

Join us Tuesday, July 27 from 2 to 3 p.m. via Zoom.

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

Tip #1: Give more feedback with fewer grades.

A letter grade will never help a student grow the way specific and timely feedback from you will. You might give a lot of grades because you feel a certain number of points or letter grades should be posted on a regular basis. If you want higher quality learning to happen in your classroom, consider emphasizing more focus on student feedback as much as you can. Assign students more robust, collaborative, project-based tasks, develop strong grading rubrics, and prepare specific feedback to student’s submissions. Canvas now allows you to save frequently used comments in Speed Grader to make student feedback more efficient.

Tip #2: Offer open-resource tests and quizzes.

Offer students more open resource (“book”) tests, let them use a variety of non-print resources that they now have available to them. Academic Integrity continues to be a critical issue. Information is readily available in books, articles, online, and through many other resources and, as a result, memorization is becoming much less necessary. What we should be asking from our students is doing something WITH that information—like developing and defending an opinion about it or higher order tasks that require a level of originality that can’t simply be memorized. If designed well, our assessments could be open-book, open-note, open-resource, and still be an excellent measure of what our students have learned.

Gonzalez, J. (2021) No More Easy Button: A Suggested Approach to Post-Pandemic Teaching, Cult of Pedagogy, June 29, 2021.

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Inclusive Design for Mixed and Hybrid Delivery – Summer 2021 Newsletter 2

Summer 2021 – Designing for Students in Multiple Delivery Modes

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique teaching challenges of this time. Throughout the summer, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

This week, we share resources that can help you consider strategies for teaching courses to a mixed mode of students who will be joining your course both in person and online. A number of our students will not be able to return to campus this Fall due to the Pandemic and have indicated their need to participate remotely through the “Raise Your Hand” initiative in Starfish.

The future is flexible!

Flexibility in delivery modes is probably here to stay. According to the 2021 Chloe 6 Report, 83% of public universities expect to see an increase in undergraduate, online enrollment as a part of the long-term impact of the pandemic (NOTE: Study sample size = 361 schools: 26% Public 2 year; 35% Public 4 year; 35% Private 4 year; 21% For Profit). As we think about how this will affect teaching and learning, consider that we are entering a new normal where students are entering our classes with the experience and likely an expectation or need for some flexibility in participation modes and digital access to resources. The new normal is shaped by our experiences over the last 15 months, so remember that all learners (and instructors) will benefit when we continue some of the best practices we’ve adopted during this time.

Build Community

If we are not intentional about building community in our classes (regardless of delivery mode), students are more likely to:

  • Earn lower grades,
  • Withdraw from your course or dropout from school altogether, and/or
  • Have increased feelings of social isolation (Ali & Smith, 2015).

Though some courses have a “no technology” policy, when you have students who will be participating in your course both in person and from a distance, technology can help connect students both in the classroom and online and level the playing field. Here are a couple of strategies you might consider:

  • Use a tool like Top Hat for polling for synchronous and asynchronous participants with the same poll.
  • Group students with a mix of in-person and remote participants so they can get to know each other,
  • Use social icebreakers,
  • Consider merging sections in Canvas to connect students using Canvas tools, and
  • Extend conversations beyond the classroom by using tools like Canvas, Top Hat, or Packback discussions. This can help foster reflection, synthesis, and community-building.

Structure Your Course for Success

Have you ever had to go for a test at the hospital, been taken through various hallways and rooms and then tried to follow the signs to the exit, hoping you’d find your way out (and felt relieved when you found your way out)? Sometimes, there aren’t enough signs, and you can become anxious that you might be going the wrong way. Sometimes, you need to ask for help because you feel lost. Just as we don’t like feeling lost in a physical space, it’s important to ensure that students can navigate our course spaces with ease as well.

Imagine what it’s like for a student to enter your Canvas space for the first time. Do they know where to begin and is there an adequate road map that’s easy for them to follow so they know where things are and how the course is organized? There is nothing more frustrating than for students to feel like they are on a scavenger hunt when trying to navigate their way through their courses. Here are three things you can do that will help all of your students find their way in your courses:

  • Put your syllabus in the syllabus tab. Though this may seem obvious, not everyone does this.
  • Organize your content into modules and use Canvas pages to provide the instructions necessary to understand your expectations/requirements, locate and complete all activities and assignments successfully. Please refer to our Smeal Academy Canvas Space if you’d like some ideas about how to structure your course(s). Do not hesitate to contact eLDIG if you would like to talk about your course needs.
  • Use Canvas Announcements to reinforce key tasks and information. Students receive notification of announcements on their dashboards, in the Canvas inbox, in your course Announcements tab and/or “Home” page, and via email (if they have set up forwarding notifications). Canvas announcements can’t be lost or easily overlooked as easily as an email.

Resources

Current News

Canvas SpeedGrader: Comment Library

Instructors and graders can save frequently used comments to a Comment Library in SpeedGrader for reuse across multiple students and assignments.

New Penn State Sign In to replace WebAccess on July 7

Beginning July 7, Penn State Account holders will log in to applications such as Canvas, LionPATH, and Workday by entering their “userID@psu.edu” through a new Penn State sign-in screen. Read more on Penn State News.

Learning Design Summer Camp

Penn State’s learning design community, including instructional designers, instructional production specialists, librarians, faculty, educational technologists, educational web and multimedia developers, are cordially invited to register for this year’s online version of LDSC. Registration is open now and available until July 12.

This year, LDSC is scheduled for two half-day virtual format sessions on July 19 and 20. As in years past, the camp will be an informal, University-wide effort to explore innovative and creative ways to improve teaching and learning at Penn State. Join us to share what we’ve learned as crucial agents of change through the pandemic, and to explore how we’ll use the lessons we’ve learned.

Upcoming Live Sessions

Yes, You Can Keep Doing It! Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

As we prepare for the new normal in teaching and learning, let’s pause to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned over the past year. We will be joined by a panel of Smeal faculty sharing what they plan to carry forward into their teaching next semester.

Join us Wednesday, July 14th from noon to 1 p.m., via Zoom.

Scaling Your Teaching for Growing and Changing Enrollments

Enrollments by students may begin to shift to include their long-term desire to continue to have access to the robust remote learning you created during the Pandemic. Enrollments may be changing format to mixed audiences or be growing. In this session we will discuss how to answer the growing demands for your class and how to use best practices in scaling your course for continued engagement regardless of its size.

Join us Tuesday, July 27 from 2 to 3 p.m. via Zoom.

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

Tip #1: Use a Canvas Master Course to Prepare Your Class for Fall

You can request a Canvas Master Course to design and prepare your course for Fall in the safety of a space that does not have enrolled students.

Tip #2: Remember to De-Stress This Summer

This resource by the Faculty Education Subcommittee can help guide you to reduce stress and burnout.

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Lessons Learned from the Pandemic – Summer 2021 Newsletter 1

Summer 2021 Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique teaching challenges of this time. Throughout the summer, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

This week, we share resources that can help you reflect on the lessons we have learned from teaching through a pandemic.

As pandemic-related rules and restrictions continue to ease in our communities and campuses, we find ourselves needing to make decisions about how to move forward and prepare for the next semester in our classrooms. While we may anticipate the return of some beloved rituals and routines from our “pre-pandemic” practice, it is important to also reflect on all that we have learned over the past year, and how some of those practices may continue to be implemented to invigorate and enliven our return to on-campus teaching! The following are a few examples, as well as links to resources that may support your reflection.

Keep communicating!

Never has the importance of effective communication been more apparent than over the past year. Students will always appreciate clear communication plans and defined expectations around course participation delivered via Canvas. That will never change.

Not only that, but we have all shared in healthy collaboration around teaching and learning across the college, the University, and beyond. That sharing has made us all better educators. Let’s keep the conversations going!

Bring technology back into the classroom with you!

Yes, you can (and should) bring technology back into the classroom with you! Maybe now you manage Zoom breakout rooms like a pro or set up Google Jam boards with the best of them. Leverage that technology expertise to allow for greater flexibility in your classroom! The more ways in which students and instructors can participate in the classroom, contribute to discussions, and share their ideas, the more learning improves.

Focus on what matters most

Many of us found this year that we had to be very intentional about what to include in our classes due to time constraints. Continue to focus on what matters most. That is good guidance for teaching — and life!

Speaking of what matters most…

Our patience and compassion muscles have been majorly tested and strengthened through our pandemic experiences. We may be going back into the classroom and workplace, but we now have much more appreciation for the challenges we all face. Let’s continue to hold that in mind.

Resources

If you would like to read more reflections from educators preparing to return to the classroom, you may want to check out one of these articles. Also, join us in July for a Smeal Academy Session focused on what our teaching faculty plan to continue into the next semester.

Darby, F. (2021, May 5). 7 Dos & Don’ts for Post-Pandemic Teaching with Technology. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Glantz, E., Gamrat, C., Lenze, L., & Bardzell, J. (2021, March 16). Improved Student Engagement in Higher Education’s Next Normal. EDUCAUSE Review.

Gooblar, D. (2021, March 24). Our Slimmed-Down Pandemic Pedagogy. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Current News

New Penn State Sign-In

Penn State will replace its WebAccess portal with a new sign-in method starting July 7. For more information, please see this article.

Learning Design Summer Camp

Penn State’s learning design community, including instructional designers, instructional production specialists, librarians, faculty, educational technologists, educational web and multimedia developers, are cordially invited to register for this year’s online version of LDSC. Registration is open now and available until July 12.

This year, LDSC is scheduled for two half-day virtual format sessions on July 19 and 20. As in years past, the camp will be an informal, University-wide effort to explore innovative and creative ways to improve teaching and learning at Penn State. Join us to share what we’ve learned as crucial agents of change through the pandemic, and to explore how we’ll use the lessons we’ve learned.

Upcoming Live Sessions

Inclusive Design Strategies for Mixed Audience Classes

Not all students will be able to return to campus this Fall. Will you be teaching students both in the classroom and online? Come hear some best practices to ensure a great learning experience for all students (while keeping things manageable for you).

Join us Tuesday, June 24 from noon to 1 p.m., via Zoom.

Yes, You Can Keep Doing It! Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

As we prepare for the new normal in teaching and learning, let’s pause to reflect on the lessons we’ve learned over the past year. We will be joined by a panel of Smeal faculty sharing what they plan to carry forward into their teaching next semester.

Join us Wednesday, July 14th from noon to 1 p.m., via Zoom.

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

Tip #1: Collaborative Documents

Did you use collaborative documents like Google Docs or Jam boards to monitor remote synchronous group work? Keep using those in the face-to-face classroom! Collaborative documents are a great way to see what groups are talking about, especially in cases where students may “clam up” when you try to engage them in face-to-face conversation. It is an effective way to determine which groups might need some redirection, as well as capture and record what happens in small groups.

Tip #2: Engaged Classroom Strategy

Continue to make your classroom time active! Consider providing students with short, recorded videos ahead of class so that they come prepared to engage in more active-learning and discussion exercises in class. Note: Remember to make sure that you do not post video recording from prior semesters that include student names/comments/responses. All student images, names, chat, and other data must be deleted.

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Resources for Remote Teaching – Spring 2021 Newsletter 2

Resources for Remote Teaching – Spring 2021 Newsletter 2

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges in teaching during this time. Throughout the semester, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

This week, we share our list of top 5 best practices for mixed audiences. It can be challenging to have some students in the classroom and some students remote. But there are some suggestions that can help.

  1. Communicate clearly. Use Canvas tools to clearly and concisely communicate your expectations for student participation. Make sure that students know what you expect them to do.
  2. Make class time active! Consider posting lecture videos online and making your synchronous class time an active learning experience by incorporating strategies such as small group discussions, case-based learning, or brainstorming. This will be an opportunity to have students apply their learning from your lectures and readings during class time
  3. Technology is your friend. Tools like Top Hat, G Suite, and Office 365 can be your friend when creating interactive opportunities in your classes.
  4. Class time can be group time. Consider dedicating some of your synchronous class time for groups of students to work on projects face-to-face and/or in Zoom break-out rooms. Students can collaborate using digital tools such as Microsoft Teams or Google that provide workspace, communication, and file sharing.
  5. Check learning! Develop a participation survey/quiz for students to complete after each synchronous session. Ask students to either expand on content discussed or ask questions they would like covered in future sessions.

Current News

  • Sage Publication Resources
    Looking for cases to use with your class? Have you checked out Sage Business Cases? The Penn State community has FREE access to a wide variety of business cases and videos through the Penn State Libraries. You can explore them on the library website and/or reach out to one of our business librarians.
  • New Canvas Rich Content Editor
    The Rich Content Editor in Canvas now includes a pretty HTML editor in addition to the raw HTML editor. More information can be found on the Penn State Canvas website.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy – Optimizing Zoom PowerPoint Presentations
    Ready to take your Zoom PowerPoint presentations to the next level? During this session led by presenter Jessie Sorensen, participants will learn best practices for sharing content and we will discuss tips and tricks to help you feel more confident and comfortable during Zoom presentations.Join us Thursday, March 11 from 10 to 11 a.m. via Zoom.
  • Refresh and Recharge — Virtual Coffee and Conversation for Instructors
    Date: Friday, March 12, 2021
    Time: 3 to 4 p.m. (EST)
    Presented by: Faculty Advisory Group

Thirsty for more? The Penn State Faculty Advisory Group invites all Penn State instructors to reconvene mid-semester to reconnect. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and share your successes and challenges this semester at this low-key discussion. Instructors will have the opportunity to divide into smaller groups to exchange ideas with faculty from across the University. We would love for you to join us — and bring a colleague along!

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1:  Add your pronouns to Canvas and Zoom
    In accordance with Penn State’s AD84 Preferred Name and Gender Identity Policy and the guidelines set forth by the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Canvas and Zoom users have the option to add gender and identity pronouns to their display names. This article includes links to helpful instructions.
  • Tip #2:  Check that your assessments are set up to promote academic integrity.
    A recent Keep Teaching webinar highlighted strategies to promote academic integrity, engage students, and reduce stressors that lead to

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Resources for Remote Teaching – Spring 2021 Newsletter 1

Spring 2021 Remote Instruction Resources

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges in teaching during this time. Throughout the semester, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

This week, we share resources and strategies that will help ensure a successful course launch and first week of class as we begin the semester. Many of these are resources we have shared before in our newsletters yet may be valuable to you now, especially if you are starting your semester remotely for the first time. The following Remote and Online Teaching Guide for Instructors includes a number of helpful step-by-step guides.

As you finalize your course and prepare to open the Canvas space to students, consider what information and details students require to be successful. We recognize that no one really wants to redesign their course(s) or do more work than you have already taken on with COVID-19 changes. However, ensuring that your course is easy to navigate with a consistent design and provides online details about the tools, processes, and procedures used in the course will, overall, save you a lot of work (as well as help you avoid a flooded email inbox).

If you’re not sure where to start with your course design, Smeal’s Remote Teaching Canvas courses (organized by weeks and by modules) offer some layouts and resources that you can copy and use in your courses. With so many variables surrounding this pandemic, it is critical that courses have a clear and consistent navigation. The way students navigate your course online will overwhelmingly affect how they perceive their learning experiences. Use your Canvas home page as a “North Star” for students. It should guide students to where they want or need to go in the course. Additionally, as you organize your course, imagine if a student landed in the “middle” of your course instead of the home page (this happens frequently when students click on assignments in their Canvas dashboard “to do” lists). Your course should still have a clear navigation path in place for students to easily find what they need regardless of where they are in the course.

End-of-Semester Grading

As a reminder, final grade posting in LionPath must be completed by 12/22/20. If you are using the Canvas gradebook to manage grades this semester, consider saving time by allowing Canvas to transfer final grades directly to LionPath. Helpful resources to aid you in this process are listed below:

  1. Preparing Final Grades for LionPath
  2. Tutorial: Importing grades from an LMS (click “Try It” to begin)
  3. Entering and Importing Grades to the Grade Roster (doc)

If you have questions or would like assistance with the grade import process please don’t hesitate to contact eLDIG via eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Resources to Prepare for Spring

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the value of being flexible and the importance of being resilient. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few resources and a little food for thought for the Spring semester. Many who are teaching this coming Spring taught last Spring. It was more than a little bit overwhelming to transition to remote instruction with almost no warning. As you begin preparing your course(s) for next semester, it may be beneficial – whenever possible – to design the course as if you will be teaching at least a portion of your class remotely. This will ensure that you will be prepared for any eventuality. Here are five things to consider as you prepare for next semester:

  • Make the most of Canvas. Consider using one of eLDIG’s Canvas lesson templates to organize your Module content.
  • Convert your class resources to a digital format whenever possible. This includes readings, class handouts, videos that you might typically show in class, exams, and quizzes, and all homework.
  • Add a student “check-in” survey to Canvas to get a sense of your students’ well-being.
  • If attendance is part of your grading, consider using a tool like TopHat from the beginning of the semester to take attendance.
  • Consider recording your lecture content in advance and flipping your class or some of your class sessions, using class time for students to work on assignments, engage in active learning, and ask questions. This will make it easier if you need to transition to remote instruction and to support students affected by COVID because your core lecture content will be ready in advance.

We have a number of Smeal Academy session recordings available for your review as you prepare for the upcoming semester.

Current News

  • Canvas Editing Changes – New Workflow to Embed Kaltura Videos into Canvas ContentCanvas recently introduced a new Rich Content Editor (RCE) to improve ease of use when creating or editing content in your Canvas course. Along with new icons, the updated RCE also includes a new workflow for embedding Kaltura videos into Canvas content. The “Embed Kaltura Media” option, which was readily available in the previous RCE, must now be enabled before use. The steps to do so are below:
    1. Click the “Apps” icon in the Rich Content Editor (it resembles a two-pronged plug)
    2. Click the text that reads “Embed Kaltura Media”
    3. Select a video from Kaltura and click the “Embed” button

    After following these steps once, the “Embed Kaltura Media” option will automatically appear under the Apps icon for future media embeds (see Notes below for exceptions).
    Notes: You must select the “Embed Kaltura Media” text (and not the more intuitive “Media Gallery and Embed” option) to view your Kaltura videos. Also, you must repeat the steps when using a different browser or after clearing your browser’s cache.

  • Webcam PoliciesIn short, faculty shouldn’t require students to use webcams during any regular remote instruction. Instructors should adopt a camera-optional practice for teaching through Zoom. Instructors can require webcams for exams and assessments. Note that instructors must notify all students in the class of their intent to record the assessment via a written announcement at least 5 days in advance. For details about webcam policies, please refer to this document linked on the University’s Keep Teaching website.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy – Grading and Attendance for Remote Teaching This session will review Canvas gradebook setup and best practices for remote instruction and will also explore some basics tools (such as Top Hat) and approaches to help evaluate student attendance and participation in a remote context.NOTE: Core Top Hat features are available at no cost to instructors and students, and without the purchase of a standalone clicker device, students can participate in Top Hat activities with their smartphones or via the web for added convenience.   Join us Friday, January 29 from 10 to 11 a.m. via Zoom.
  • Smeal Academy – Key Lessons Learned from Remote Teaching Well, it’s Groundhog Day – and here we are teaching remotely again this semester! What have we learned from our past experiences of remote teaching? What real-world strategies work? Come and hear from Smeal faculty and staff about tips, tricks, and lessons learned as we continue to deliver instruction remotely. Join us Tuesday, February 2 from 12 to 1 p.m. via Zoom.
  • Smeal Academy Session – Active LearningThink about the last time you learned something. What was the topic? How did you learn it? What motivated you to engage in learning and stay engaged? What got you thinking critically about the knowledge you were seeking? What kind of innovation had you wished had been applied to the topic? What new tool would have been fun?This session will discuss active learning strategies in online learning that help faculty engage learners, and can lead to innovation in the classroom. Active learning is a teaching method that supports learning. The method uses techniques and activities that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation that guide students towards achieving learning objectives. These techniques and activities are based on ideas about how people learn and engage regardless of content discipline. Multiple strategies will be discussed in a very active session, be prepared not to sit passively for this session. Join us Wednesday, January 13, 2021 from 11 a.m. to Noon via Zoom.

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG  Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Include a Course Orientation in Canvas. We strongly recommend adding an orientation to your course. If you don’t already have one, you are welcome to import and customize the orientation from the Smeal Remote Teaching Canvas space.
  • Tip #2: Check Your Zoom Settings to ensure that your Zoom meetings or webinars are optimized for security and functionality and that you have updated Zoom to the most recent version. This website outlines steps for updating Zoom.

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: course-support@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Fall 2020 Wrap-Up

Welcome to the Smeal Academy: Fall 2020 Resilience

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges presented by COVID-19. This week we will focus on semester wrap-up, strategies for actually having a winter break, and things you need to know to get ready for spring. The eLDIG team wishes the entire Smeal community a very renewing and peaceful break.

Strategies for Self-Care Over Break

We are nearly there! Grades are (or will soon be submitted by the end of the day), and we can take a collective exhale to close out Fall 2020.

That being said, it is likely that your “cup” [read: energy/well-being/outlook] may feel pretty empty after what was likely one of the most challenging semesters of your career. Taking some time for you during the break is critical to refilling your cup.

Researcher and author Brené Brown has talked about the value of creating a “playlist.” She advises being intentional about making dedicated time to those activities through which you “lose track of time and self-consciousness.” Being intentional about making time for the activities that truly replenish us (as opposed to what society/culture/habit tells us we should do) can be transformative.

Another helpful tool is the practice of gratitude. Research shows that it is easy for our brains to focus on the perceived threats and challenges in our lives, but much harder to pick out the positives. Gratitude is a skill that we need to practice. The Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley shared the “Finding Silver Linings” exercise. This brief activity can help you avoid ruminating and refocus your attention on the bright side of tough situations. Research has shown that focusing on optimistic thoughts can increase your happiness and enjoyment of life. That sounds like a great way to approach a new semester and a new year!

And don’t forget the many resources we have available to us at Penn State. This might be a great time to make the Calm app a daily habit. Heide Gibson has many resources available for engaging more fully with the app.

In addition, Penn State has websites with updated information for managing anxiety and stress and staying healthy and strong. Resources include a variety of online wellness classes being held at convenient times throughout the upcoming semester.

At the very least, take time to exhale and feel grateful for the culmination of an amazing semester! We made it through Fall 2020 and learned a lot in the process. Celebrate all that you have accomplished and all the ways that you have grown. Happy New Year!

Resources:

Current News

  • Spring Semester Remote Until February 15! 
    As you prepare for Spring 2021 instruction, please note that courses will begin in remote format. If you would like to consult with an eLDIG designer about your course design, please email us at: eldig@smeal.psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.Find out more information about Spring 21 Remote Instruction here.We have a number of Smeal Academy session recordings available for your review as you prepare for the upcoming semester.
  • Wellness Day Themes Announced
    Wellness days and themes are as follows:

    • Tuesday, Feb. 9 — Financial and occupational dimensions of wellness
    • Thursday, March 11 — Intellectual and spiritual wellness
    • Wednesday, April 7 — Physical and environmental wellness

    Check out this story for more information.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Kaltura: An Introduction for Canvas Users (Presented by IT Learning and Development) 
    Do you have videos, images, or audio files to share with students? Learn how to share your media using Kaltura, Penn State’s media management and streaming service, in this one-hour demonstration session. Explore Kaltura’s key features and capabilities within Canvas, discuss ways video is being used in higher education, and discover which Kaltura tools are best suited for your needs. Join us Monday January 11, 2021 from 9:15 to 10:30am (EST) via Zoom.

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG  Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Remember to Take a Break over Break! Here are some more tips from the Faculty Education Subcommittee to de-stress and enjoy your break: https://www.smore.com/kedan
  • Tip #2: Use LinkedIn Learning Resources to Learn New Skills or Become More Familiar with File Sharing Tools That Will Replace Box.
    • OneDrive LinkedIn Learning Resources
    • Google Drive LinkedIn Learning Resources

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG Website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Fall 2020 Newsletter Holiday Presents—Grading, SP21 Course Prep, and Box

Welcome to the Smeal Academy: Fall 2020 Resilience

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges in teaching during this time. Throughout the semester, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

End-of-Semester Grading

As a reminder, final grade posting in LionPath must be completed by 12/22/20. If you are using the Canvas gradebook to manage grades this semester, consider saving time by allowing Canvas to transfer final grades directly to LionPath. Helpful resources to aid you in this process are listed below:

If you have questions or would like assistance with the grade import process please don’t hesitate to contact eLDIG via eldig@smeal.psu.edu.

Resources to Prepare for Spring

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is the value of being flexible and the importance of being resilient. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few resources and a little food for thought for the Spring semester. Many who are teaching this coming Spring taught last Spring. It was more than a little bit overwhelming to transition to remote instruction with almost no warning. As you begin preparing your course(s) for next semester, it may be beneficial – whenever possible – to design the course as if you will be teaching at least a portion of your class remotely. This will ensure that you will be prepared for any eventuality. Here are five things to consider as you prepare for next semester:

  • Make the most of Canvas. Consider using one of eLDIG’s Canvas lesson templates to organize your Module content.
  • Convert your class resources to a digital format whenever possible. This includes readings, class handouts, videos that you might typically show in class, exams, and quizzes, and all homework.
  • Add a student “check-in” survey to Canvas to get a sense of your students’ well-being.
  • If attendance is part of your grading, consider using a tool like TopHat from the beginning of the semester to take attendance.
  • Consider recording your lecture content in advance and flipping your class or some of your class sessions, using class time for students to work on assignments, engage in active learning, and ask questions. This will make it easier if you need to transition to remote instruction and to support students affected by COVID because your core lecture content will be ready in advance.

We have a number of Smeal Academy session recordings available for your review as you prepare for the upcoming semester.

Current News

  • Box Migration
    Smeal’s Box migration is scheduled to take place between February 8 – 10, 2021. View this Box Migration Checklist to see what this will mean for you.
  • Wellness Days
    Spring wellness days are scheduled for 2/9 (Tues), 3/11 (Thurs), and 4/7 (Wed). Please plan your course schedule around these dates. Check out Keep Teaching’s advice about how to adjust your course and factor in wellness days into your course schedule.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • University-Wide Faculty Coffee Break (Penn State Faculty Advisory Group Session) 
    • Date: Friday, December 18, 2020
    • Time: 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

    The Penn State Faculty Advisory Group invites all Penn State faculty to relax, debrief, and most importantly, connect! Session Info: https://keepteaching.psu.edu/webinars/university-wide-faculty-coffee-break/

  • Smeal Academy Session – Active Learning 
    • Date: Wednesday, January 13, 2021
    • Time: 11 a.m. to Noon

    Think about the last time you learned something. What was the topic? How did you learn it? What motivated you to engage in learning and stay engaged? What got you thinking critically about the knowledge you were seeking? What kind of innovation had you wished had been applied to the topic? What new tool would have been fun?

    This session will discuss active learning strategies in online learning that help faculty engage learners, and can lead to innovation in the classroom. Active learning is a teaching method that supports learning. The method uses techniques and activities that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation that guide students towards achieving learning objectives. These techniques and activities are based on ideas about how people learn and engage regardless of content discipline. Multiple strategies will be discussed in a very active session, be prepared not to sit passively for this session.

    This session will be delivered via Zoom.

NOTE:  Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG  Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Export Canvas Course Grades to Check Final Grade
    To ensure that your final grades that post to LionPath match your calculations, export your Canvas gradebook and check the “Final Grade” column in the .csv file. If there is a difference between the “Current Grade” and “Final Grade,” it is likely because you have not entered grades for all assignments in Canvas. You can set a default grade (example 0 for no submission) for assignments to help with this process.
  • Tip #2: Update Announcement Dates
    Remember to change the dates on your Announcements in Canvas when you copy them into a new course or previous semester announcements will be available when you publish your course(s).

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG Website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Fall 2020 Resilience Newsletter 3: TopHat and Other Top News

Smeal Academy: Fall 2020 Readiness

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges in teaching during this time. Throughout the semester, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

TopHat – Polls, Attendance, Whiteboards, and More

What is Top Hat? TopHat is a cloud-based teaching tool that leverages student’s devices to increase in-class engagement and real-time feedback. Instructors can engage students in and outside of the classroom with interactive slides, graded questions, customized content, videos, discussions, and polls.

TopHat integrates and syncs with your Canvas gradebook. The eLDIG team is exploring TopHat functionality so we can assist the Smeal community in integrating its tools into our courses. Some core features we think you will like are:

  • the ability to take attendance more easily, especially in remote instruction contexts
  • the ability to poll students and capture their results, if desired
  • the ability to engage in live discussion with students during class

We encourage you to attend our session on October 28th at 2 pm (see below) or consult with an eLDIG designer if you’d like to learn more or discuss how you can get started.

Current News

  • Helping Students in Need
    If you would like to help support students facing stress due to the pandemic, such as food insecurity or financial hardship, you can consider:

  • Spring Semester Dates
    Our Spring 2021 semester will run from January 18th (one week later than originally scheduled) until April 30th with no spring break and will include scheduled “wellness days” throughout the semester. This article outlines the Spring schedule.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Smeal Academy – Top Hat Tricks and Treats
    In September, Penn State adopted Top Hat, a tool that tracks attendance while creating engaged learning environments for students. The eLDIG team will review some Top Hat tricks and treats, including Canvas integration grade syncing and Top Hat engagement tools like polling and whiteboards. Come join the fun…no costume required!! Join us Wednesday, October 28 from 2 to 3 p.m. via Zoom.
  • Smeal Academy Lunch Discussion
    Smeal Students Talk About Academic Integrity. Join us Thursday, November 5 from 12 to 1 p.m. As a part of National Ethics and Compliance Week, the Smeal Integrity Advocates, along with the Smeal Academy, invite you to a Zoom session to hear from a panel of Smeal students about their experiences with academic integrity in a virtual learning environment.
  • Exam Strategies for Remote Delivery (University Session with Smeal faculty and staff)
    Friday, November 13 from 10 to 11 a.m. Presented by: Keep Teaching Faculty Development Group. Details: https://keepteaching.psu.edu/webinars/exam-strategies-for-remote-delivery/. This faculty panel discussion will explore strategies and best practices for synchronous and asynchronous exam delivery. We will discuss:

    • Academic integrity
    • Canvas exam setup tips
    • Proctoring International students and students in varying time zones

    Faculty: Jen Eury, Josh Wede, Constantino Lagoa, Schalyn Sohn, Felisa Preciado-Higgins

    Instructional Designers/Hosts: Brett Bixler, Kitt Camplese, Renee Ford

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG  Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Use “message all students who…” in Canvas to reach out to students who may be at risk. In the midst of this pandemic, students may need a little extra support. Here’s how to message students who haven’t completed assignments or scored below a certain grade threshold.
  • Tip #2: Regularly remind your students about the importance of Academic Integrity. Add an integrity question to the beginning of your quizzes or assignments. Consider adding an Academic Integrity lesson to your course content, providing Smeal resources, and inviting students to sign the Smeal Honor Code, online. Reinforcing Academic Integrity and the Honor Code helps promote a culture of honor and integrity and reduces the likelihood of academic integrity violations.

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG Website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.

Fall 2020 Resilience Newsletter 2

Resources for Remote Teaching – Spring 2021 Newsletter 2

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip everyone with best practices and strategies for teaching, learning, and technology to ensure the Smeal community is prepared to respond to the unique challenges in teaching during this time. Throughout the semester, we will be sending emails with practical tips and information, providing live sessions, and holding virtual consultations.

The Zooms, They Are A-Changing

Just when we thought we had Zoom all figured out…

Just kidding… you can handle this!

On September 27, Zoom is implementing changes worldwide to enhance meeting security. Beginning on that date, all Zoom meetings will require a passcode (formerly referred to as password), or a Waiting Room to be enabled for all meetings. Any Zoom meetings that have already been scheduled and do not have a passcode configured will automatically have Waiting Rooms enabled.  In summary:

  • Existing meetings: A Waiting Room will be added to your existing Zoom meetings if you have neither a Waiting Room nor a passcode (password) for the meeting already.
  • New meetings: When you create a new meeting, a passcode will be added to it.

Full details on Waiting Rooms and passcode requirements are available on Penn State’s Zoom website.  eLDIG has compiled some helpful information to prepare you for this transition.

Current News

  • Spring 2021 Instructional Modes Due Before Friday, September 25
  • The same flexible instructional modes used for the fall 2020 semester will be used for the spring 2021 semester at all Penn State campuses.
  • Instructors should identify the instructional mode for their spring courses, in consultation with unit leadership, by Friday, September 25. For more information, please refer to the Spring 2021 Planning page on the Keep Teaching Website.

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • Faculty Panel TEACHTalk – Real-World Synchronous and Mixed Audience Classroom Management Strategies
    Are you trying to manage simultaneous online and face-to-face students? Have you found solutions or do you have questions about classroom management, tips, and tools that improve your remote and/or hybrid teaching experience? Do you want to hear how others are managing lectures (to record or not to record), group formation, class discussions, or attendance? Come for a discussion with Smeal faculty and staff members to discuss common needs and solutions for managing synchronous remote and/or classes with a combination of students on Zoom and in person. Join us Friday, September 25 from 9 to 10 a.m. via Zoom.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG  Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Check Your Zoom Settings. On September 27, 2020, a Zoom update will affect your use of the tool in two ways:Existing meetings: A Waiting Room will be added to your existing Zoom meetings if you have neither a Waiting Room nor a passcode (password) for the meeting already.New meetings: When you create a new meeting, a passcode will be added to it.
  • Tip #2: Set Up Starfish Grade Thresholds in Canvas. Starfish is more important now than ever, as we consider the need to support students affected by COVID. You can streamline the Starfish reporting process by setting gradebook thresholds in Canvas. Of course, you will want to be sure your gradebook is accurate before completing Starfish reports!

Resources

Helpful Websites

Website

Check out the eLDIG Website for more resources and support.

Contact Us

Email us at: smealtlthelp@psu.edu or fill out our Remote Teaching Support form.