All material below was prepared in anticipation that CUNY might move all classes to a distance learning format. This material was developed and distributed to provide faculty the tools to reflect on and be prepared for this change. Faculty should not decide on their own to alter class schedules and format. If any particular accommodations are needed, faculty are urged to discuss those with department chairs and deans’ offices.
Resources for Teaching
In addition to the resources listed here, in the upcoming days there are a growing number of events that faculty might join. You can see the schedule under “Events“ on the CTL site. Please check daily as we anticipate adding more. In addition, given the current state affairs there might be some schedule shifts given our reliance on videoconferencing.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (2012) the College created a space on Blogs@Baruch where faculty shared tips on how to make up for lost classroom time. There were sections for writing assignments, discussion threads, and creating videos, along with tech tips on setting up course sites, synchronous videos. The site is still available: Making Up For Hurricane Sandy: An Idea Exchange for Baruch Faculty Using Technology to Make Up for Lost Time.
A winter with severe snow-storms led The Center for Teaching and Learning to develop it’s “Make-Up Class” Guide that explains how faculty can adapt a class meeting to an online format using widely available and free tools.
As a first step, faculty should look at upcoming assignments to determine what could work in an online format. Writing assignments, class discussions, and video presentations can be moved online using the applications listed here, and other assignments may be viable online with alterations. The resources and tools below can help with this decision process and guide faculty to appropriate technology options.
Online learning can be done synchronously and asynchronously. The synchronous format means everyone is gathering at the same time, such as use a video-conferencing systems. Asynchronous means that faculty prepare course materials in advance of students’ access. Students then access course materials at a time of their choosing and interact over a period of time. For example, a class meeting on Zoom from 6-7:15pm on Monday is synchronous. A recorded lecture posted onto Blackboard with questions on a discussion board that students have 5 days to answer is asynchronous learning.
Teach Hybrid is a web site developed by the Center for Teaching and Learning that offers resources for designing and implementing hybrid courses. It includes sample assignments developed by faculty.
Blackboard – Every course automatically has a Blackboard site. The instructor only needs to make it available to students by following the directions on How to Make Your Course Available on Blackboard. First time really using Blackboard? Watch this video that shows you how to get started using many of the functions you would use in setting up your course.
Blogs@Baruch – As an alternative or supplement to Blackboard, faculty may use Blogs@Baruch as a site for posting content and managing asynchronous class discussions. Faculty can log in to Blogs@Baruch with their Baruch username and password and set up a course site by clicking the “Create New Site” link in the navigation bar.
Vocat allows faculty and students to upload video, audio, or image files, and interact with those files via grading, annotating, and commenting. Vocat is frequently used as a way to have students upload their own oral presentations, whether done in class or remotely. Vocat can also host recorded lectures, narrated slideshows, or other instructional content so that students can view and comment on them asynchronously. To set up a course section, visit https://baruch.vocat.io and log in with your Baruch username and password, then click the “Request New Course” button in the top right corner of the page.
Sharing a video lecture with students is a two-step process. First, faculty will need to create a video and then it will need to be uploaded to a platform where students might view it.
Step 1: Record your video (following are different ways to do this)
The college offers all faculty three options of videoconferencing tools which can be used to create a video file:
Faculty can record a class meeting or a narrated powerpoint. The link of the recording can then be shared. Links to tutorials on are under the “Videoconferencing Choices ” section of this document.
Other options include:
- A simpler alternative to using video is voice-over narration on a PowerPoint presentation. Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 and later versions provide this function as Record Slide Show. Instructions are available on the Microsoft web site.
- Another option: Prof. Anna D’Souza from MSPIA shares that she has had success using an iPad Pro and a good stylus such as an Apple Pencil, particularly for drawing graphs. She cautions that the audio is not perfect, but it is pretty good. To record the screen:
- Go to control center and add the “record screen” button.
- Hold the button down to first put the record screen microphone on.
- Then tap the button to record and do the same to stop the recording.
- The video is saved in Photos.
- A third easy option: Use your mobile device to record a video/audio file.
Step 2: Share your video (following are different ways to do this)
Videos and PowerPoint presentations can be shared with students via:
- Vocat – Faculty who have set up a Vocat account may use it to upload video files, including ones recorded with a portable device such as a mobile phone. You can see what Vocat looks like and also see a sample assignment that uses Vocat. See above for log in and registration information.
Many faculty are asking which is the preferred system. It’s mostly a matter of personal preference. Coming shortly is a chart that compares and contrasts these tools.
While these web-conferencing tools are designed for synchronous meetings you can also use them to record a lecture, conversation or powerpoint that you might upload to Blackboard or Vocat or email to students.
Cisco’s WebEx is now offered to all CUNY faculty, staff and students through CUNY Central. Cisco’s Webex Meetings and Webex Teams platforms will help with online learning and meetings for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Faculty and staff can go to ConnectCUNY Webex.com and use their @login.cuny.edu username and password to begin using Webex Meetings now. Student accounts are being loaded over the weekend.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is the web conferencing tool integrated with Blackboard courses. Instructions are provided on the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra web page. If you would like to see what it looks like please watch this overview video. Annette Gourgey from Zicklin shared that she found this online video tutorial helpful. Here is a new guide “Teaching with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra at Baruch”. It includes technical directions, introduces best practices and offers ideas on how you might use it in your course.
Zoom is now available for all Baruch faculty, staff and students. Here is a new guide “Teaching with Zoom at Baruch College”. It includes technical directions, introduces best practices and offers ideas on how you might use it in your course.
If you would like to use Zoom, go to https://baruch.zoom.us/ and login with your Baruch username and password (the same way you log into the campus wifi or computers). A link can also be found under “Quick Links” on the Baruch College homepage.
Zoom is hosting webinar tutorials from their Professional Training team. It will be repeated during the week and you can register for them at Zoom Meetings for Education Webinar. Topics covered include:
- How to download the Zoom applications and join a Zoom meeting
- How to schedule a meeting and send out invitations
- Overview of In-meeting controls and Virtual Classroom tools
In addition, if you would like to informally try out Zoom in action, please join one of the CTL’s upcoming “Zoom Play-testing” sessions listed under events.
If you have questions about learning technology outside of what CTL is offering in sessions, you can request help via the helpdesk by emailing email@example.com.
To learn more about designing and conducting online quizzes and tests, with a focus on Blackboard, please visit this resource on TeachHybrid. Resources focusing on other assessments will be added soon.
The College is committed to ensuring accessibility as courses are moved to an online format. The Student Disabilities Office has developed this helpful set of Tips and Guidelines for Faculty Teaching Remotely that relates to teaching ALL students, not just those with disabilities.
In addition, the Student Disabilities Office is available to assist students and answer faculty questions.
You may have a student in your class who is registered with Student Disability Services. As a non-essential office, they will NOT have an on-campus presence, but will be working remotely, as you are. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions, they will get back to you promptly.
Your students will be taking exams via the online option that you have created for ALL students in your class. As you transition your class to an Online platform, please think about Accessibility.
The following are helpful resources on creating accessible materials:
Additionally, Student Disabilities Services created this list of tips:
- Provide as much written notes to students as possible (PDF/DOC format).
- Exams/quizzes on blackboard should be extended, either to time and a half or double time. The Exam Time window on BB can be turned off for those with extended time.
- You can give a particular student or a group of students extra time on a quiz by adding Test Availability Exceptions for tests in Blackboard.
- To change test options, navigate to the test in your course site, click on the downward facing arrow next to its title, then click on “Edit the Test Options.”
- On the next screen, scroll down to “Test Availability Options” and click on “Add User or Group.”
- In the pop up window that appears, tick the circle next to the users or groups that you would like to set test availability exceptions for and click “Submit.”
- Back on the Test Options page, you can now set exceptions for attempts, timer, and availability.
- If you are adding audio/video content for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, faculty should use audio content and videos that have transcripts or captions. If this cannot be done, a descriptive overview of the audio/video should be provided in written form.
- For assignments that may be challenging for a student with a disability given the presentation method and platform; alternate assignments should be considered that will demonstrate the student’s full knowledge and understanding of the content. For example, assignments can be submitted via audio files. For deaf/hard of hearing students, if transcripts/captions are not available for audio/video content, perhaps assignments can derive from required class readings.
- If you are adding visual information (pre-recorded or in real-time), you should describe all visual aspects of the presentation. For example, don’t say “what is the message behind this photo?” without describing what the photo is. Don’t say “move this here”, or “move that there”, etc. Say where “here” and “there” is, especially with mathematics.
Additionally, we want to reiterate and support what Provost James McCarthy communicated to the campus community last week. This applies in particular to students with disabilities:
“Adapt, in whatever ways possible, material unique to your course that presents particular challenges to distance formats. As the transition to distance teaching unfolds, we ask that all faculty have flexible attendance policies, recognizing that there will be some students who – for whatever reasons – might not be able to attend every class.”
All faculty have access to resources provided by CUNY Central in addition to what is provided by Baruch College. Please visit CUNY Central’s Technology Resources Page to see the latest list of software the University licenses or recently enabled to support remote work and distance learning.
Open Educational Resources (OER) – The College’s OER Guide can help faculty select materials suitable for a class or discipline. The TeachOER site includes sample assignments from Baruch faculty and introduces some digital tools that are free for faculty to use.
The Newman Library’s licensed digital collections offer a wide array of material types that could be incorporated into courses. These include books, business cases, videos, image collections, newspapers, historical archives, music, datasets, and journals and magazines dating back to the 18th century.
The Newman Library is keeping track of vendors and publishers that are temporarily providing libraries with free access to content. Please note, access might change at any time.
Chat Reference – Assistance with using library resources will be provided via the chat reference service available from the Newman Library home page.
Handling Administrative Tasks
Remote Access to Systems – The “Quick Links” drop-down menu on the College’s home page provides up-to-date links to access all our major systems, such as Blackboard, Blogs@Baruch, etc. Using “Quick Links” ensures that the address of a site is the most up-to-date.
Remote access to office desktop computers – In some cases faculty members may need a VPN account to work on their office computers from off-site. Some examples are:
- A faculty member who needs access to large amounts of research data that must be stored on College servers for security reasons.
- A faculty member who needs access to special software that is installed only on the office computer.
- An instructor who needs to work with confidential information, such as student grades, that cannot be stored on Office 365 or Dropbox.
Faculty may request a VPN account via an email message to the help desk. BCTC will respond with a set of questions that the user needs to answer about the offsite computer that will be used to access the desktop on campus. Once an account is approved, the user must download the VPN client to their personal computer using the instructions on the web site: https://www.baruch.cuny.edu/bctc/vpn/index.htm. VPN is not necessary for faculty who only need to access CUNY/Baruch systems (email, CUNYfirst, Blackboard, etc.) or want to access/share course materials and other non-private information. Baruch Dropbox and Microsoft 365 accounts are a much easier way for faculty to store and share documents that do not include personally-identifiable student information.
While on campus an employee can forward calls to a home phone or personal cell phone by following the instructions To Call Forward Your Extension.
Only a BCTC administrator can implement call forwarding from off-campus. If the campus closing occurs before an employee was able to put the forwarding in place, a request will have to be made to BCTC via Helpdesk@baruch.cuny.edu. Users can also update their voice mail greeting from off-campus to provide instructions to callers on how to best reach them by following the instructions on the voice mail web page.
To be prepared in case a closing occurs, faculty should take the following actions now:
√ Make sure that you can log into all the Baruch systems that you might need — Office 365, Dropbox, CUNYfirst, etc. Please keep in mind that some of the resources you will need require a CUNY login while others use a Baruch username/password. Contact BCTC or your school technology team if there is a problem.
√ Save your course teaching materials to your Baruch Dropbox or Microsoft 365 storage account where you can access them outside the office.
√ Make sure your students know the best way to reach you (email, voice mail, personal phone, etc.) in the event that the College closes, but instruction continues in a different fashion.
√ Consider that students have differing levels of access to technology and internet connectivity, and that the availability of computer labs, libraries, or other public access points would likely be limited during an event that causes campus to close. Alternate assignments or accommodations may be necessary on a case by case basis.
√ Check your access to technology from off-campus using your personal devices. For example, can you use a personal desktop, laptop and/or mobile device such as a phone or iPad to access our systems remotely? This is a good opportunity to make sure that all your operating systems are up-to-date and compatible with any software you might use. Contact BCTC or your school technology team if there is a problem.
√ Practice forwarding your office phone calls to your home phone or personal cell phone and changing your office voice mail message.
√ The Center for Teaching and Learning will shortly be announcing workshops on online assignment design and setting up Blogs@Baruch and Vocat. Check the CTL events page for updates.
The College’s usual support services will not be increased during a campus closing. They will instead face the additional challenges presented by the closing (e.g., working remotely and separately from work colleagues; inability to repair local systems when access to campus is restricted). It is important for faculty to prepare in advance of a closing when support staff will have a greater opportunity to work directly with them.
The following types of support are planned to help ensure that faculty are able to use College resources, circumstances permitting.
- BCTC Help Desk – In the event of a closing faculty should contact BCTC via email using email@example.com. BCTC staff will rely on the usual ticketing system to log and track requests from users.
- Teleconferencing Sessions– BCTC would schedule open teleconferencing calls around types of technology support issues. These would be announced on the BCTC web site and via College-wide email.
- Vocat and Blogs@Baruch support – the usual email support will be available via firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
- Moving assignments online – The Center for Teaching and Learning is available for remote consultations with faculty members on strategies for moving course content online or coming up with alternative assignments. Remote appointments can be booked via the CTL website.
- Library reference assistance will be managed via the 24×7 chat reference service available from the Newman Library home page.