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Make a Plan for Teaching Remotely

Contact your department chair or course leader for specific guidance. Other faculty within your department experience in distance education may be available to provide assistance.

Assess Your Course

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.

Note that online students need a good deal of support from you and interaction with their peers to feel a sense of connection, learn the material, and not fall behind.

Review Tools and Methods for Distance Education

Determine which tool(s) you will need to use distance education. You will need to:

1. If you have not setup a means for distance learning as of yet, you can download your course roster from CUNYfirst. The roster will include the student's email and their CUNYfirst ID. You have the ability to directly email the students from CUNYfirst or to download the contact info and use different tool.

2. The following tools can help you communicate with students:

  • Blackboard — If you have setup your course using Blackboard, use the Blackboard Announcements to communicate with your class.
  • OpenLab — Use your OpenLab course > Membership to message the entire class or individual students.
    Use your OpenLab course to post announcements, updates, recaps regularly.
    Use your OpenLab course to start a discussion topic.
    Use your OpenLab course site to create a post and request comments.
  • Email —If your course is setup in Blackboard or OpenLab, you can email students in your entire class or individually. If you have not setup Blackboard for your course, you can email your students through CUNYfirst Faculty Center. Alternatively, you can also email you students directly from your College Exchange E-mail.

Blackboard —If you have setup your course using Blackboard, you can distribute course materials via Blackboard. You can also use the Blackboard assignment tool which allows students to upload their work and organizes it in the Blackboard grade center for your review.

OpenLab — You can distribute course materials and students can submit their work through the OpenLab using the Files feature, by posting to the course site, or by integrating a Dropbox link or form. Students can create ePortfolios on OpenLab and post their work for collection and feedback.

Email — You can distribute course materials to students via email and you can have students email you a file containing their assignment. Be mindful of the size of the file and the type as the College email system will restrict certain types of files and sizes.

In all cases, be sure to follow best practices for copyright and accessibility; see Library Resources below for more information.

Blackboard— is the College's Learning Management system. Through the use of Blackboard tools, you can create a fully online course. Blackboard allows you to have your course material online, create and assignments and exams, collaborate with students and hold real-time video conference lectures. Faculty User Guides.

OpenLab — The OpenLab allows you to present your course material online, create assignments and exams, and collaborate with students using blog posts, comments and discussion forums. You can also use Webex to supplement your OpenLab course for real-time video conferences.

MS Teams — is a City University collaboration suite that allows you to share course content, collaborate and hold video conferences. User Guides.

Blackboard — If you are utilizing Blackboard, you can create exams, quizzes and tests through Blackboard.

OpenLab — Use OpenLab's WordPress plugins to create online quizzes and the OpenLab Gradebook for grading and comments.

Utilize alternative assessment methods — Consider using writing assignments or other student projects in lieu of exams. These types of assignments engage students and may be simpler to manage in the event of a temporary disruption.

Blackboard — If you are utilizing Blackboard, you can use the Gradebook feature to communicate grades to your students.

OpenLab — If you are utilizing OpenLab, you can use posts, comments and ePortfolios to provide feedback on student work. Use the OpenLab Gradebook to communicate private student grades and comments.

As you familiarize yourself with the tools and methods available, consider:

    Your comfort using the technologies concerned;

    The structure of your course;

    Student needs;

    The requirements of the content you use - books, pdfs, multimedia;

    The assignments and assessments typically used in the course, and the limitations caused by the shift in modality of teaching;

    Most importantly, we encourage you to set reasonable expectations for success and be sensitive to those who may have limited access to technology tools and the internet. Keep in mind that the availability of computer labs, libraries or other resources may be limited.

Finalize Your Teaching Plan

If appropriate, create or set up the online course resources you will be using. (Blackboard, OpenLab, Dropbox, Webex, etc).

Update your instructional materials to reflect your plan for teaching remotely, including due dates, methods for collecting assignments, and grading.

Communicate your teaching plan to your students.