Online Ready: Successful Fall Instructional Readiness Initiative

OIT & CTEBetween July 1, 2020, and August 10, 2020, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) joined forces to develop and to facilitate a massive University-wide online teaching readiness initiative.  The purpose of this initiative was to ensure that all faculty, especially those approved to teach fully online in the fall semester, had access to courses designed to develop skills and knowledge required to elevate the quality and consistency of fully online instruction. Continue reading Online Ready: Successful Fall Instructional Readiness Initiative

FERPA & Class Recordings: What You Need To Know

Virtual MeetingAs every COVID-era instructional modality necessitates entirely virtual and online technological course elements, many faculty and students alike have many questions regarding how to best protect student privacy—especially privacy relating to class video recordings, since SMU faculty will be recording all synchronous class sections this fall.  Most simply, online and SMUFlex classes and any activities therein (course recordings, online proctoring, Zoom sessions, etc.) are covered by FERPA protections in the exactly same ways that traditional classes are covered.  SMU Canvas offers a password-protected, secure environment which makes it easy for faculty to share all class recordings in a safe, secure digital environment.  If you are leveraging non-SMU systems for hosting class recordings or any other media that feature students or their work—please review the information below and consider using Canvas and university-supported course management systems instead. Continue reading FERPA & Class Recordings: What You Need To Know

Student Zoom Expectations: Camera On, Please!

Shy on ZoomWhile clear behavioral and classroom expectations have always been routine for traditional face-to-face classes, the swift movement toward adapting routines in virtual and digital classrooms has generated many questions.  One particularly important question from faculty has been, “Am I allowed to request that my students enable their cameras during a live Zoom class session?”  As it happens—yes, faculty can absolutely request that students adhere to desired virtual online classroom etiquette, though expectations should be clearly articulated in each course’s syllabus. Continue reading Student Zoom Expectations: Camera On, Please!

Beyond Canvas’ Quiz Tool – Many Options for Online Quizzes, Tests & Final Exams

While the work of transitioning course content for fully online and SMUFlex instruction is new for many faculty, the work to transition all exams, tests, and quizzes online is an entirely new experience as well.  During the spring emergency move to remote instruction, the challenge to rapidly develop understanding and mastery of online testing options generated no small measure of confusion and frustration.  Many faculty asked questions such as “Do I have to use Canvas’ Quiz tool?”  “Do I have to use Respondus LockDown Browser?” “What other options do I have?” “What do I do if my student needs extra time on a test?” Fortunately, there are many, many well-established online testing, quizzing, and exam options—though this is the first time many of the SMU community will need to leverage them. Continue reading Beyond Canvas’ Quiz Tool – Many Options for Online Quizzes, Tests & Final Exams

SMUFlex, Our Innovative Necessity

Page of the Codex Parisinus graecus 1807While the original origin of the phrase is unknown, Plato’s Republic suggests that “our needs will be our real creators.”  An 1894 translation by Benjamin Jowett adapts this statement as “The true creator is necessity, who is the mother of our invention.”  The COVID-19 academic continuity necessities of this extraordinary time have spawned the innovative and unique SMUFlex mode of instruction.

At the heart of SMUFlex instruction is Continue reading SMUFlex, Our Innovative Necessity