As mentioned in Ed Feasel’s community letter, we are going to transition our instruction to online only after Spring Break and remain with online teaching until April 3. This is a very difficult choice for us – but we are working to assure the safety of our students, staff and faculty, and as many of our peer institutions are doing, we are responding proactively to reduce the possibility of infection to our campus community rather than waiting for infections to appear and risk a larger outbreak. This situation will require us to all work together to help us provide continuity of our classes to our students. To help faculty with the transition, we plan to use the rest of this week to provide information and training to faculty to enable you to be able to provide your courses online with the least disruption possible. The Dean’s office has been working closely with IT to set up training sessions for faculty to learn about how to teach online. We have three different options already available to us which can support classes and which can provide a very interactive learning environment. Below is a brief overview of each option with some links for more information.
Zoom – a very versatile videoconferencing software which many are already using. Students only need a link to click into a class and it will support live videoconferencing with your entire class, as well as screen sharing (for slides), screen annotation, and also even supports breakout groups. This is our preferred platform as it offers the greatest ease of use. It can be used in a standalone mode as a videoconferencing program, and also has been integrated into Brightspace. The IT team will be training faculty in using both modes during our sessions this week.
- https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697-Getting-Started – Zoom getting started page
- https://zoom.us/docs/doc/Zoom%20for%20Higher%20Education.pdf – overview of Zoom for Higher Education
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_O7rDILNCM#:~:text= – video tutorial describing “breakout rooms” for small group work in online environment
Zoom within Brightspace / Virtual Classroom – The Brightspace platform has extra features that allow you to have online videoconferencing and to schedule other kinds of meetings and interactive instruction with your students. Zoom has been integrated within Brightspace, and the IT staff have created a manual for training faculty in creating online videoconference sessions within Brightspace. Since all of us have our classes already set up in Brightspace, this offers some benefits in convenience over standalone Zoom usage since meetings with the class are easier to set up. Here is a link for additional information:
- https://www.d2l.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/D2L-Virtual-Classrooms-One-Pager-Final.pdf – overview of the Virtual classroom environment
- https://soka.box.com/s/dcdclpuppbaac4p3l2bllcc9di501loa – special manual written by SUA IT to train faculty for using Zoom within Brightspace
Microsoft Teams – a Microsoft product that allows for instant communication with groups of students, video chat, and online forum type discussions among groups of students. This platform has been used with our Study Abroad students, and an increasing number of students and some faculty are gaining experience with the program. Here are some links for additional information:
- https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/online-meeting-solutions – overview of Teams
- https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/microsoft-teams/ – some specific ideas for using Teams in a class
- https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-a-class-team-in-microsoft-teams-fae422eb-58b7-4431-9ff2-a4b9b6ae7c5b – Microsoft training for Teams
Since classes are cancelled for the rest of the week, we can use this week to prepare and provide training for faculty. We are working closely with IT to provide training sessions for faculty for the rest of this week, as well as to provide any needed computer or webcam hardware to help faculty offer their classes online. Barbara McGrath and Sophia Kawada from IT will be the point people from IT available to support faculty. They will be available by email at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and faculty can also call the IT Helpdesk – which will prioritise calls from faculty and route them to full-time staff. This number is (949) 480-4357. Our first training sessions will begin on Wednesday at 10:00AM, and will offer a chance to answer your questions, and to train you to set up your class using the Zoom and Zoom within Brightspace. Since classes are cancelled this week, this is a good opportunity for learning how to manage the transition to online teaching. Faculty are encouraged to attend either in person or via online using Zoom (links for remote attendees included below).
- Wednesday 10:00AM at Maathai 207 – link for remote attendees: https://zoom.us/j/886117961 (click to join) or use meeting number 886 117 961
- Wednesday 1:00PM at Maathai 207 – link for remote attendees: https://zoom.us/j/272487161 (click to join) or use meeting number 272 487 161
- Thursday 10:00AM at Maathai 207 – link for remote attendees: https://zoom.us/j/143484736 (click to join) or use meeting number 143 484 736
- Thursday 1:00PM at Maathai 207 – link for remote attendees: https://zoom.us/j/177696772 (click to join) or use meeting number 177 696 772
Please RSVP for these training sessions at the survey link (which also asks about your tech support needs and preferences for online teaching): https://soka.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b7XLZJupVxjikGF
In addition, we will be placing training materials online at our website which we have created for this purpose. This site will be available here: https://sites.soka.edu/online-teaching (and is just being set up). This website will be updated with more information on online teaching – including links to training materials for our three platforms for online teaching. Also our IT team will be available for additional one on one consultations. The Library/IT committee is managing a Brightspace Forum for faculty to share tips and answer questions about the online learning process. All of our faculty have been made instructors on this site – and it is a great place for sharing resources and ideas to help us with this process of learning about online teaching. This site is available here: https://soka.brightspace.com/d2l/home/16388. This site will have a Forum where faculty can share tips, answer questions and share ideas. If you have any additional questions on the Forum, or suggestions for other needed types of faculty support, you can contact Esther Chang, chair of the Library/IT committee. She can be reached at email@example.com. Finally – we would like to hear from you if you have any ideas or additional support needs. Please respond to the survey link below, which will ask you about whether you have sufficient computer hardware and bandwidth to offer your course online, and if not – which type of equipment you may need. IT has a number of modern loaner laptops with video capability available for check-out, as well as microphones and webcams. Please also indicate any additional hardware needs you might have on this form and we will do everything we can to help support your online teaching.
The survey is available here (please respond):https://soka.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b7XLZJupVxjikGF
Thanks for everyone’s help and patience as we work to respond to this situation. If you have any additional questions or concerns please do let me know and I will work with IT and our staff to help provide whatever support you may need and help to answer some of your questions.
Dean of Faculty