These resources and guides should help you select and learn more about technologies that can support remote teaching and learning on short notice. Contact the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning if you would like assistance rethinking or modifying your course.
Blackboard provides a centralized tool for you to communicate with students, post and distribute learning materials, and collect and assess student work.
- Request your course in Blackboard - you must request your course each semester before you can use Blackboard
- Create and edit Assignments - collect student work electronically
- Grading Assignments in Blackboard - information on reviewing and grading student Assignment submissions and providing feedback
- Create Tests - deliver tests online with a wide variety of question types
- Teaching and Learning with Blackboard - extensive documentation and tutorials for using Blackboard for teaching
- Self-paced online workshop on teaching with Blackboard - series of video tutorials to help you get started with building your Blackboard course
- Help for students using Blackboard - steps and tips for the most common features that students might use in Blackboard
- Blackboard Collaborate Participant Tour [PowerPoint] - sample slides that you can use to provide an overview for students on participating in a Blackboard Collaborate session
- Blackboard Collaborate Office Hours Slide [PowerPoint] - sample slide that you can use for holding office hours in Blackboard Collaborate, with instructions for students
Sources of Content
If possible, we recommend finding existing content sources instead of creating your own, because it can take you less time. In addition to the resources below, check with your textbook publisher or professional association to see if they have anything available.
- Open Education Resources - OER are freely available or openly licensed learning objects such as media, textbooks, articles, and digital tools that can be used in your courses. The NIU University Libraries has created a helpful LibGuide with links to many OER repositories.
If you cannot find existing content or resources, there are ways that you can quickly create your own media.
- VoiceThread - VoiceThread is an online platform that allows you to put digital media such as images, videos, and documents at the center of an asynchronous conversation. VoiceThread allows people to contribute to discussions using a keyboard, microphone, web cam, telephone, or uploaded audio file. All NIU faculty and students have access to use VoiceThread.
- Screencasting - Record anything on your screen with audio and webcam video to create informative and engaging software or other screen-based demonstrations that are saved as a video file. Kaltura has screencasting capabilities within Kaltura Capture.
Both of the following tools also have free options.
- Kaltura - Kaltura makes it easier to incorporate media like audio and video into Blackboard. You can record media directly using Kaltura Capture or upload your own video files. Kaltura encodes and converts media so that it is optimized for streaming and able to play on most devices.
Hold entire class sessions or office hours with web conferencing tools.
- Blackboard Collaborate - Participants can share audio, video, and text chat; Presenters can share presentations, content on their computer screens
- Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams is a unified communications tool that allows for persistent 1:1 or group chat, video/audio calls and conferencing, and has integration with the full suite of O365 applications we’ve come to rely upon at NIU.
- Zoom - Available as an alternative synchronous collaboration tool for courses and instructional activities.
Discussion / Collaboration
Interactivity and community are important to ensure that students still feel supported by you and connected to one another.
- Blackboard Discussion Board - Have students share thoughts and ideas about class materials asynchronously (not at the same time). You can create multiple discussion forums for students to discuss and respond to course content and activities, share resources, and collaborate around projects and assignments.
- FlipGrid - Instead of text-based discussions, foster interaction between you and your students by allowing students to record themselves in a video format. Students can then share the recording either with you alone or with the entire class. This tool can be a catalyst for multi-media dialogue in your online course.
- Office 365 - All students, faculty and staff have access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office tools available in a web browser and desktop application. Faculty and students can collaborate on documents and presentations, share content and provide feedback online.
- OneDrive - OneDrive gives you 1TB of individual storage space in a secure environment that is FERPA- and HIPAA-compliant. Faculty and students can share any file stored in OneDrive for easy collaboration.
Tips and Advice
The following articles provide additional tips, advice, and encouragement.
- Recommendations to Increase Student Engagement in Online Courses
- Connecting with Students in Online Courses: Options for Virtual Office Hours
- Super Simple Videos: 5 Tips & 5 Reasons to Get On Camera
- Creating a Safe Space in Your Class During a Crisis
- Creating Accessible Digital Materials
- How to Look Your Best on a Webcam
- Student Agency in Uncertain Times
- Options for Delivering Exams via Virtual Instruction
- Online Teaching Toolkit, Association of College and University Educators (ACUE)
- How to Be a Better Online Teacher: Advice Guide by Flower Darby, Chronicle of Higher Education
- Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely by Robin Page, Rice University
- Please Do a Bad Job of Putting Your Course Online" by Rebecca Barrett-Fox
- Your Suddenly Online Class Could Actually Be a Relief by Alexandra L. Milsom, Inside Higher Ed
- Online Education and Website Accessibility, U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights
- Maintaining Equity and Inclusion in Virtual Learning Environments
- What Do We Need to Teach Now? by Deborah J. Cohan, Inside Higher Ed
- Perspective: Tips for Teaching Under Quarantine by David Gunkel, Northern Public Radio
- How to Quickly (and Safely) Move a Lab Course Online by Heather R. Taft, The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Hope Matters: 10 Teaching Strategies to Support Students by Mays Imand, Inside Higher Ed
- Moving Online Now: How to Keep Teaching During Coronavirus, The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Now is Not the Time to Assess Online Learning, by Thomas J. Tobin, The Chronicle of Higher Education
- How to Recover the Joy of Teaching After an Online Pivot, by Flower Darby, The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Videoconferencing Alternatives: How Low-Bandwidth Teaching Will Save Us All by Daniel Stanford, DePaul University
- NIU’s remote-teaching stars to help colleagues go the distance, NIU Today
- Free and Discounted Technology for Virtual Instruction
- Sample Adjusted Syllabus Statement by Brandon Bayne, UNC Chapel Hill
- State of Illinois new drive up Wi-Fi map tool
- Disciplinary Resources to Keep Teaching by University of Minnesota
- HyFlex Course Model
- Online Test Proctoring Tools
- A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus