The Center for Instructional Technology provides resources to help instructors as they adapt their courses to online learning formats. Along with the resources below, the CIT is providing a full schedule of webinars and assistance is available via phone, email, or Zoom.
UA offers several tools and technologies that can assist with flexible instructional modes.
Review our tool comparison chart to find the tool that fits your need.
Publish and Update Course Information
First, if details or expectations in your course have changed, be sure those changes are reflected in your course syllabus.
- Make your course available in Blackboard if it isn’t already.
- Remember, you can access Blackboard directly without going through myBama. The Blackboard URL for direct access Is ualearn.blackboard.com
- Update your syllabus to reflect any changes, then publish your updated syllabus in Blackboard.
- Use the Online Syllabus Management System (OSM) for pre-populated syllabus policies provided by UA.
- Keep syllabus up to date and include an Elasticity Policy as well as a Policy on Missed Exams, Coursework, and Attendance Policy
- Consider adding a syllabus statement regarding the recording and sharing of the course materials you create and provide.
- Include required syllabus statements that arise as operations change.
Let your students know how you will communicate throughout the semester, and in case of any future changes. Make sure that students have your preferred contact information, and let them know when you will be checking and responding to email.
- Send emails to students in your class with Blackboard.
- Note: Blackboard Learn keeps no record of your email, whether you send or receive it. Any email you receive from Blackboard Learn appears in your external email inbox.
- Send messages to students in your class with Blackboard.
- Note: Course messages are internal to Blackboard. They can be viewed in your Blackboard messages inbox and outbox. They can’t be forwarded to email inboxes, but you can adjust your Text Message and Email Notification Settings
- Post a Blackboard announcement.
- Send emails to students in your class from your UA email client.
- Click Detail Class List from the menu
- Create a group distribution list based on your students’ email contact information in your preferred email client.
Access Materials Remotely
By saving content in the cloud, you can be sure that you can access necessary materials from multiple locations and devices.
- Backup critical teaching materials including lectures, assignments, instructions, quizzes, discussion topics, syllabus, schedule, and other important documents. Store using UA Box so materials can be accessed remotely, and shared if needed.
- Have a backup plan for verifying DUO in case you cannot access your mobile device.
- Encourage students to use UA Box to keep backup electronic copies of their assignments.
- OneDrive is also available to faculty, staff, and students with Microsoft Office 365 Education.
Accessible course content makes it easier for everyone to read and access your materials and can help improve overall quality and usability. Take these steps to ensure your online course materials are accessible to students of all abilities. Visit the Accessibility Resources page for more in-depth guidance on how to create accessible documents, images, audio, video, and web content or contact the technology accessibility team for help.
- Blackboard Ally for LMS is available in all Blackboard courses.
- Convey content in multiple ways; don’t just use images, color, video, or audio.
- Follow these accessibility best practices when creating online course content: Blackboard Accessibility Checklist
- Use the Microsoft Office Accessibility Checker to make sure your Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other Office content is easy for people of all abilities to read and edit.
- Use the Adobe Acrobat Pro Accessibility Checker to ensure your PDFs have searchable text, tags, and other features to support reading and navigation.
- Ask for or create a captioned or transcribed version of any media you use.
- Captioning grants are available to caption and/or transcribe UA-owned video and audio that will be shared on public or campus-wide web sites and select online course content.
- Add and edit machine-generated captions and/or transcripts when recording with Panopto.
- UA Libraries has many captioned and/or transcribed videos available via video databases:Captioning Options for Streaming Video Databases at UA Libraries
- Foster awareness of accessibility and accommodations.
- If a student needs accommodations, refer them to the Office of Disability Services. Faculty and staff can contact the Department of Human Resources.
- Texthelp offers a collection of Mac and PC desktop software, Google Chrome apps and extensions, and iOS and Android apps that support reading, writing, language learning and STEM subjects. Texthelp tools freely available to all UA students, faculty and staff include: Read&Write, a literacy support toolbar with supports for reading, writing, research, and studying; EquatIO, an application you can use to type, handwrite, or speak to create equations, formulas, and other math and chemistry expressions; and Snapverter, an easy to use add-on for Read&Write for Google Chrome and iOS app that transforms papers and files into readable PDF documents.
- Access isn’t just about technology. These resources can help you make sure remote instruction is inclusive, equitable, and accessible.
- Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely (Rice University Center for Teaching Excellence)
- Accessible Teaching in the Time of COVID-19 (Aimi Hamraie, Vanderbilt University)
Grades and Student Data
Be prepared with secure gradebook and content backups.
- Maintain a backup working copy of your gradebook to ensure continuity of grading and reporting to students and administration if your primary online gradebook is not available for an extended period of time.
- Download students’ assignments when they are submitted so that you will always have ready access to them in the event of a system failure.
- Download and maintain copies of online discussions if relevant.
The University provides several options for meeting with your class virtually. See our Teaching and Presenting Tool Comparison Chart to compare!
- Set up a virtual class meeting using Collaborate or Collaborate Ultra in Blackboard.
- Have virtual office hours or meet with colleagues with teleconferencing tool Zoom.
- Link to a Zoom meeting to your Blackboard Learn Course.
- Learn to use Zoom.
- Review Zoom security settings to avoid ZoomBombing.
- How to Protect Your Zoom Meeting From Trolls (YouTube Video)
- View quick informational Zoom videos.
- Record lectures with Panopto.
- Use Discussion Boards to keep the in-class conversation going.
Tests and Assignments
Tests and assignments can be completed online with the resources below. Try to be available during scheduled exam times so you can work with students if any issues come up.
- Create Blackboard assignments for students to submit work that you can grade online.
- Use Turnitin plagiarism detection for big papers and final projects.
- Give tests in Blackboard.
- Use Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor to for more secure online exams.
- Respondus Lockdown Browser is browser that locks down a testing environment within Blackboard. Students taking exams which require Lockdown Browser will not be able to access any other browser functions or applications on the computer being used until the exam is complete. This is a tool new to many students who have not previously taken online courses. If you use Respondus Lockdown Browser in your course, please include instructions for students.
- Monitor is an automated proctoring technology which requires students to use a webcam to monitor or “proctor” their activity while taking an exam, in combination with Lockdown Browser. This is a tool new to many students who have not previously taken online courses. If you use Respondus Monitor in your course, please include instructions for students.
- Please use resources provided by Respondus to learn more, and let us know if you come across any issues. Respondus is also providing regular webinars for instructors for Lockdown Browser and Monitor.
- Respondus Support
- Visit lib.ua.edu for electronic resources and information about available campus computing resources.
Mobile applications are available for many instructional technologies. In most cases, to use an app with your UA account you must choose the Single Sign-on (SSO) option or use your [mybamausername]@ua.edu or @crimson.ua.edu email address.
- Students can download the Blackboard mobile app, and instructors can download the Blackboard Instructor mobile app.
- Participants can download the Blackboard Collaborate mobile app.
- Panopto offers Panopto Android and Panopto iOS apps to view recordings.
- On the Sign In page, choose Change Site in the top right corner of the screen.
- Set your Panopto site to alabama.hosted.panopto.com.
- Sign in using Blackboard username and password.
- Download the Box mobile app to have convenient access to content.
- Download the Turnitin app, available to iOS only.