Offer virtual office hours using Zoom. If everyone is in the same time zone, it’s easier. All in the USA, still somewhat easy. Distributed globally, synchronous communication is difficult to schedule. If your office hours last more than 40 minutes, contact ITS for an Earlham Zoom account.
Post short video announcements or voice recordings about topics using tools like QuickTime (Mac), a webcam of your choice, or an easy audio recorder like Vocaroo.
Every [Monday], send an email, voice recording, or short talking-head webcam video reminding students of what is due for the upcoming week.
Ask open-ended questions not focused ones: case studies, open sharing, controversial issues.
Invoke: course readings (require cited references), student personal experiences, and learning activities from that week.
Clearly state what you want them to ask/discuss.
Give parameters for the length of the discussion post and due date/time.
Give parameters for the length of responses to one or two peers and due date/time.
Log into the discussion frequently during the week.
Read a few posts each day; interject if things go off-track.
Respond to some students per discussion but not all.
Could be counter-productive to do so and is time-consuming.
Respond to students:
Who seem to be struggling
Who ask questions only you can answer,
Who are doing really well (occasional spotlight praise).
Respond to every student at least 1-2 times weekly.
If a discussion becomes inappropriate or disrespectful, take it offline and respond to student/s via email or a personal phone call/Skype/etc.
Provide a grading rationale for students and maybe a rubric.
Provide netiquette guidelines.
Divide students into discussion groups of 5-7 students, possibly with different topics for each group. It makes it easier for instructors to track threads; it makes it easier for students to interact.
In an online environment there is not a real way to prevent students from taking quizzes and finals with open books or open note. Because of all the ways that students can look up information and talk to their classmates, it may be better to embrace it. Instead of thinking of quizzes as a way to assess student memorization before attempting a quiz, think of it as an activity, to reinforce or support lessons from class or course readings. Some examples of alternative approaches to quizzes:
If you do want to keep using traditional quizzes in Moodle, there are a few tweaks one could make in the settings that could make it slightly more difficult for students to share answers:
Moodle's default setting is to let students see all the complete answers as soon as they finish their quiz attempt. Instead, one can change it so that the correct answers are not revealed until after the time to take the quiz is over. Go to Quiz Settings, under Review Options. Uncheck all the options in the first three columns, making it so results and correct answers are not revealed until after the quiz is closed.
On the "Edit Quiz" page, which lists all the questions for the quiz, in the top right corner is a box you can click, "Shuffle". This will make it so all the questions are asked, but that the order will be different for each student attempting it.
You can set up a bank of questions -- many different questions and students get a random sampling of questions, so not every student gets the exact same set of questions. This is much more work for the faculty, and perhaps less fair for students if there is varying difficulty in the questions in the bank.
Answer order can be shuffled within questions, making it harder to share answers (i.e., the correct answer will be A for Student 1 and B for Student 2).
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