An Example of a Shorter At Home Lesson

To continue my helps for teachers while dealing with this situation (COVID-19 and having to race to turn F2F classes into online courses) I am sharing some examples of an example of a simple at-home lesson and a quick assignment. Later, I’ll share a more robust version. I suggest having a few of these types of shorter lessons so that you can have some time to spend on creating longer lessons, fielding phone class, emails, virtual meetings, juggling family, (as we will all be quarantined together in a small space – more thoughts on that later!) etc.

This is a simple one (if my children or I are sick, or if I just don’t have a lot of time to prep because of said illness/emergency, etc). On those I try to emphasize a lot of choice – which gives the student the freedom to work on what they would like and to go at their own pace on the days and times that work for them.

Linking in a lesson or assignment

Sometimes it is too much with all of the material to have it on one page. So I create multiple pages and link them into the page I want to use it for. Linking is my best friend on canvas 😉

The Scripture Study link below (it is underlined and green, see the first bullet point) would take them to another page on canvas (our LMS system) that has a complete set of Scripture Study Skills (this was a page that they had to use for one of the major projects). I left them below as dead links so that you can see them. The red links below are live (just in case you want to do some family history). 😉

After the at home lesson, I have an example of the simple assignment that I give in connection with the lesson. If you create a few of these simpler ones, than you can spend some time working on learning the new tools for screen-casts, etc. (there is a learning curve for each one.)

Hope this helps (and I would love to see anything that you create as well). You can do this and I will keep adding ideas to help you. Feel free to send these posts along or to follow this blog if it is of use. I would also LOVE to hear your thoughts, comments, ideas, or suggestions.

Thanks!
Other Posts in this series –

Shorter At Home Lesson and Assignment follows:


Day 15: At Home Assignment Instructions

In place of class today, we will be doing an at home assignment. I have given everyone full points for the daily quiz, so no need to worry about that.

For this assignment, you have your choice of the following:

  • Do the reading for today – 2 Corinthians 6-13 and practice using at least 2 of the Scripture Study Skills  in your study (this should take  at least 3 hours)

OR

Please enjoy and take advantage of this opportunity to get your fingers on the pulse of family history work right now!

Report your findings here – Day 15 At Home Assignment (it is due on Saturday by 10:30 pm, but you can turn it in whenever you wish)


Day 15 At Home Assignment Report

Make sure that you have completed the prep work – Day 15: At Home Assignment Instructions

  • Please tell me a little ( 250-300 words, approx 1 page) about what you have done and what you have learned while studying 2 Corinthians 2-13.
  • Make sure to include the following to get full credit:
    • Tell me which two scripture study skills you used.
    • Share some of the verses that were the most important to you.
    • Share your insights from these verses.
    • How will you apply your learning into your life?
    • Any other thoughts and insights about the learning (using the scripture study skills)?

OR if you did the family history option –

  • An accounting of your time
    • Log your dates and hours for both NT study and the conference (should total at least 3 hours)
    • The classes that you watched
  • Share your insights from each class and from your study
    • What did you learn that you think will be of value in the future?
  • Give your overall thoughts about this experience

Thank you, I hope that this will be a very beneficial experience for you!

Teachers – Don’t Over Think It!

I haven’t slept tonight. I keep just writing post after post. I’m feeling driven by the Holy Spirit because I keep thinking of my dear friends and colleagues who are OVERWHELMED right now.  I have LITERALLY been doing this – teaching while the world has been burning down around me for the past 17 years. 😆 Anyone who knows me will tell you that the Waldrons just keep moving from crisis to crisis. In fact, I  JUST finished a Nov – Feb ordeal in which I was teaching my 6 classes at BYU-I as a visiting professor (each class meets 2 times a week with a total of approx. 300 students) and a daily Seminary class at Madison High School (add 5 more weekly classes, 23 students) to try to get hired on SOMEWHERE as a teacher when my BYU-I contract ends this July. Yes, that’s 11 preps for 17 classes weekly – all while, I am the mother of three and my poor husband (who already has other medical conditions) had a shoulder surgery (12/23/19) and then a bout with internal bleeding  at the end of January that left him zero energy for quite a few weeks. 

I GET how difficult this is for you, for all of us around the country and the world. My daughters’ schools are closing the same day that I am supposed to go live teaching my collage classes again – and we’re all going to be one big happy family in a two bedroom apartment as I try to teach students who are also in chaos (more on how to do that coming soon). Fortunately, I only have my BYU-I classes right now and my husband is doing much better – so this for me is like a vacation. 😉

My point is, these posts are here to help you. For whatever reason, I feel compelled to share, but I can’t get these posts into the hands of the overwhelmed teachers without your help.

So, breathe, and let’s start over –

Remember when you were a first time teacher and you did it one class at a time?

You only need to get one class up at a time.

Don’t overthink the whole few weeks at once, don’t stress.

Simple lessons and assignments.

(I have already written posts with more examples that are coming)

Here’s a quick example of something easy that you can do – (I sent this to my cousin who is an art instructor)

  1. Watch this video (use a youtube video from someone who is showing you how to use a certain technique, make sure to give that person praise, gratitude, and credit)  If you are worried about copyright and how it will effect you, here is some information Public Statement: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research
  2. If you can’t find a video on youtube or pictures on the web – grab your simple camera phone – 1-2 minutes video demonstrating the technique or procedure, or a succession of pictures (think old slide shows). Throw them up on a platform that you understand (Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) and send it in a link to your students in an email with a short lesson.
  3. Have your students try the technique and
  4. Answer these questions:
    • What did you learn as you used this technique?
    • What do you need to do to improve as you move forward?
    • How can you use this technique in the future?
    • What else would you like to learn about?

Take any/all of that – adapt it to your needs. Copy, paste, edit. I give you permission.

In this post – Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days I have a link to the first announcement that I gave my classes. Take any/all of that – adapt it to your needs. Copy, paste, edit. I give you permission.

In this post – Okay, Virtual Reboot, Now What?  I give tips and examples of instructions for the students to know what to do on the day that they come back. Take any/all of that – adapt it to your needs. Copy, paste, edit. I give you permission.

In this post – Tips for Virtual Conference Lessons I’m sharing some hard-learned advice and tips on video conferences. They are great, but I don’t anticipate that they are going to be what the classroom experience is. So I am trying to put up other options as fast as I can. Take any/all of that – adapt it to your needs. Copy, paste, edit. I give you permission.

In our short meeting tomorrow (see the instructions on the post above) I will likely spend the time doing the following (that is if the tech doesn’t crash)

  • Practicing the different features of the room – going in and out of breakout rooms.
  • I have some questions based on their prep for them to discuss. Oldest in the group leads the discussion, youngest takes notes, all are expected to participate) – we may or may not get to that, depending on the tech. Yes, I do think it’s going to be a problem, but that’s just based on my past experience. 😉
  • I have other plans for if the tech breaks down which you can read about in this post on – Tools for Teachers Who are Mired in the Middle of Converting F2F classes into Online Classes which is scheduled to be published in one minute and has a great suggestion for a discussion board that I can use in case it all breaks down. Take any/all of that – adapt it to your needs. Copy, paste, edit. I give you permission. 
  • I will give announcements like – I will be talking about asynchronous work  (I’m changing all of my due dates to the end of the week) and working on lessons that they can do anytime during the week. Because this is a hectic time for everyone!

YOU’VE GOT THIS!!!!

See, here’s an ugly picture of a whiteboard with instruction on it for a lesson that I did.  😉 Take simple pictures, take pictures of you handwriting something, of you demonstrating a vocal technique, or a dance move. It won’t be brilliant, but it DOSEN”T have to be perfect right now. I agree with this article from Rebecca Barrett-Fox, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Arkansas State University, Please Do a Bad Job of Putting Your Courses Online who reminds us to not take the prep and tech too high-end right now, because we are all in a crisis situation. Agreed! Use what you know. Be simple. If you have time, try out a new tech. If you need to do a quick discussion board for the first day, there is that idea again.

47506077-B7D8-4C02-B9D0-011DB74FA719 Again – YOU GOT this!!

Tools for Teachers Who are Mired in the Middle of Converting F2F classes into Online Classes


To continue my helps for teachers while dealing with this situation (COVID-19 and having to race to turn F2F classes into online courses) I am sharing some examples of tools to have in your “back pocket” as you begin to covert your face-to-face lessons into on-line lessons.

At my school (BYU-I) many are suggesting using online meeting rooms for the virtual classroom experience. Many of the teachers are working with screen capturing materials to create video lessons (more on that later) so that the students can watch them asynchronously. Both are great tools, and like anything, present their own unique challenges (such as the learning curve with tech, engaging the students, etc.). In this (and a few following posts) I will present some ideas to have as other tools in your “back-pocket” so that you can have time to learn the tech and deal with the myriad challenges that we will be facing shortly – think fielding phone class, emails, virtual one-on-one meetings for your office hours, juggling family, [as we will all be quarantined together in a small space – more thoughts on that later!].

Back-up Plans if “Zoom” or other tech wonders falter

I am concerned that with so many of us (think all colleges closed during this pandemic as well as businesses working remotely … worldwide) using technology (especially the more popular ones like the virtual meeting space Zoom  – don’t get me wrong, it is an AMAZING tool!) that some of these tools may falter. When I did conferencing in a hybrid set-up for an English course at SLCC (shout-out to Lisa Bickmore, Benjamin Solomon, Kati Lewis, and the rest of the team) we had many quirky tech situations and I learned to have a few things ready as back-up plans.

  • Make sure the students know where to go for further instructions if the tech fails (I’ve told my students to check the announcements. I have one pre-written (but not published) for each class linked to another option – like a discussion board. If I need it, all I need to do is hit “publish”.
  • Other conferencing tools (think of it as driving a different route when the freeway is at a stand-still) such as Google Hang-outs, and many, many others. Here is a list from Capterra (a software review company) of video conferencing software that is available. I’ve used Cisco, Big Blue Button, and Zoom in my teaching. Don’t overthink it and get overwhelmed. Start with what you know, what your school recommends, or those which your school has purchased a license.
  • Simple Discussion Boards (see below for an example)
  • Simple at home lessons (post on this topic coming tomorrow)

Virtues of asynchronous learning for this situation

Consider the power of asynchronous learning(where the students have the opportunity to study a common resource when they want to/can rather than at a set time) in addition to the virtual meeting spaces. If you choose this option, consider changing all due dates to a certain time at the end of the week. Then remind the students (in an announcement, or however you communicate with them) that they have all week to complete the work but that there is a common due time (see my late work policy below). Encourage them to work on assignments and turn in work early.

Taking time to learn new technologies and the learning curves

I suggest creating a few at home assignments, some group work, and some simple discussion boards so that you can take time to learn new tech. I also recommend, longer at home lessons instead of meeting in a conference each day (post with an example on this topic coming Friday, I believe). This will give the students a rich learning experience while affording you the needed time for all that is ahead.

Each one has its own learning curve, but you can learn them all with a little bit of practice. When I first started delving into tech, I felt like I was learning to write with my toes – everything was so foreign! But my job as a Technical Writing Professor (shout out to my awesome colleagues for encouragement and support – Brian Whaley UVU and Elisa Stone SLCC) demanded that I become proficient in web-design and many other proficiencies. Soon, each new tech felt like writing with my left hand, a challenge, but nowhere near as bad as when I first began.

So, I would recommend choosing one or two (or maybe even 3-4) new tech skills to master during this unique experience. It will change and bless your teaching in the future.

Simple Discussion Boards

Here is an example of a very simple board that you can get ready. Typically, I would have it “dolled” up with the course image, a title, and then have it linked to the lesson or reading that was to be prepared that day. This was for an REL 275 Teachings and Doctrines of the Book of Mormon course and was very successful, I think because of the pose a question and answer a question. There was a lot of rich created content from the students.


Please post the following and then reply to 3 (or more) students:

  1. A quote from the reading that you thought was really profound or answers a question that you had.
  2. A principle from the reading (that you can use to guide your life).
  3. A gospel question (can be about the reading or anything that you would like).
Go through and respond to 3 or more students, answering questions with a source (a source is a scripture, words of the living prophets, etc. ), discussing, adding insights, etc. (if one post has a lot of respondents, please move down and make sure another post has comments).
20 points for your high quality post
10 points per high quality response – to be a high quality response, it must have a source (see above) in addition to your thoughts (up to three, but you can earn a little extra credit for more than 3).
Thank you so much!!

A total aside as I share some thoughts on extra credit –

Some teachers absolutely HATE it – which is totally fine. I use it sparingly, I find it a funny little “motivational tool”.  I tend to not give a lot, maybe through the semester enough to make up a minor assignment, but certainly not enough to make up a major assignment.
On this discussion board, I ended up giving 5 points as extra credit for any worthwhile comments for a student who did more than 3. It wasn’t a lot of points, but I think some who were in desperate circumstances did gladly accept the opportunity.
I use our LMS canvas to automatically take off late points for any overdue assignments and I will not change that.
Here is a section from my syllabus (when my students ask to turn in something late, I just direct them to this) –  taken (with some tweaks to fit my style) from a dear colleague at BYU-I (shout out to Bill Riggins) with great gratitude.

Late Work:

God is both just and merciful and so I try to emulate him. If you miss a deadline, you can still submit your work; that is merciful! However, mercy cannot rob justice, thus you will be docked 10% per day that it is late. Please don’t ask me to waive the late points. I will not do this for any reason.  I give ample time for you to know what the assignments are and to do them, early, if need be. If something happened and you have to turn an assignment in late, do it, take the penalty and move on.  If you are really behind, work on what is current, and then see if you can go back and finish any old assignments. Stay as current as you can!


 

Thank you!

I wish you all the best in this work – feel free to comment about what you are doing (your ideas, questions, epiphanies), subscribe to get posts to your in-box, and to share with other teachers who need it right now.

Other posts in this series –

Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days

Okay, Virtual Reboot, Now What? 

Tips for Virtual Conference Lessons

Tips for Virtual Conference Lessons

photography of woman using laptop

Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

To continue my helps for teachers while dealing with this situation (COVID-19 and having to race to turn F2F classes into online courses) today I am sharing a few tips to help your video conferencing lessons. There are SO many posts right now:

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 3.59.42 AM

on how and what, etc. when it comes to virtual conferences that I decided to just hand out some practical wisdom for the teachers as we break into it (mine start on Wednesday, I know others have started and some are just a few short days away). Whatever your situation, here are some thoughts to help out.

Tips for Virtual Conference Lessons

  • Be aware that it is even easier for the students to be disengaged in the conference rooms (they can mute their videos and their sound, so they may or may not be present with you – in body, mind, or spirit!)
  • Be engaging – here are some ideas:
    • assignments to give them and have them break out into conference rooms for those discussions.
    • Share your screen – images, photos, polls, games (yes it’s okay to have a silly game or get-to-know you activity in the middle of all of this), videos
    • Make these times enjoyable to be there. I know that some of the content is serious – perhaps turn those more serious lessons into at home lessons (see posts Thurs and Fri this week).
  • Consider using the meetings for major general announcements, or teaching basic important principles and concepts.
  • Then put them into groups for:
    • deeper study,
    • to quiz each other,
    • small group assignments,
    • discussions based on prepared questions, etc.

Tips for Teachers Before and During Virtual Conferences

  • There are videos online of how to work EVERY new technology. Just google what you need, for example this search – zoom video conferencing how to use, scroll down and find the video that you can watch in the time that you have available.
  • Get into a test conference room with friends. See what it looks like from the POV of a laptop, a phone, etc. Use all of the gadgets a head of time.
  • You can have a word document, whiteboard, or slide ready in the room when they enter with instructions such as:
    • virtual classroom etiquette
    • virtual classroom rules
    • A starter assignment, question, or item to ponder
    • Something to quickly get ready based on the reading materials, etc.
  • Have everything practiced, pulled up, and ready to go well before the meeting (just as you would a class).
  • Have the students wait in a virtual waiting room if need be and then let them enter when you are all set up and ready for the meeting.
  • Have a word document ready on your computer with things to be copied and pasted on the whiteboard (It is AWFUL to try to write with a mouse – think signing your name on the digital pads).

Tips for not messing up

That’s hilarious! 🤣😂🤣

You will mess up. You will look incompetent.

Laugh at the problems – blame the corona virus, technology, whatever, but show the students that it is okay to have moments in life when we are not in control. This is real. This is human. Many of our students feel out of control right now (just as we do at times in front of a class). [Many of our students are celebrating not being in school and “carpe diem-ing” the crap out of life and they will freak out when they realize that yes, we were holding class the whole time, but that is a discussion for another time.] 😉

Teach them how to walk away from a moment and still move forward with dignity and a positive outlook – ready to show up the next day.

You’re a teacher. It’s what we do!


 

Enjoy! And please share it with those who need it, and comment on ideas that you have about tips and tricks for video conferencing.

Other posts in this series –

Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days

Okay, Virtual Reboot, Now What? 

 

Okay, Virtual Reboot, Now What? 

keep-calm

Hello – amazing teachers who are having to change your Face-to-Face (F2F) classes into virtual classes overnight! (See this previous post for more – Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days).

Here is another example of what I am doing with my classes. Feel free to use it as a spring board for:
  • ideas,
  • to change around to fit what you are doing,
  • to save time thinking of how to “word” things,
  • and/or to use as a template for your courses.
So you’ve contacted your students, now what?
May I suggest some of the following:
  • Make a general plan for the next few weeks (however long the semester or quarantine lasts).
  • Remember that EVERYONE is using technology during this pandemic (from the business sector to schools all over the country – not to mention everyone at home who is trying to keep busy and our default mode is to live online) so have a few different ideas up your sleeve in case the tech crashes.
  • Consider the value of asynchronous classes (in which you give the students the freedom to do the course work whenever they can throughout the week before the weekly due date).
Because we are all busy needing to learn new technologies (and each one will have its own unique learning curve) I am hoping that this will be something that can help save you time. Please pass this post on to the teachers you know that could benefit.
I put this (see below) where the students are used to finding the information.  In my classes I already have them working in the modules of Canvas (our course Learning Management System, LMS) for their classes, so the following is in our Week 10, Day 19. I suggest using what you have already trained the students to do – be it modules, announcements, emails, etc. This example is for a family history class and we were already on a semi-hybrid model.
Now, I can easily copy and paste it to my other courses and edit in the correct details for that class, letting them know what will remain the same and what will change as we move forward.
If you don’t have anything set up, consider the following:
  • What has your school been using?
  • What has your school already paid for? (At BYU-I we have specific licenses for certain tech, see if your school already has something in place)
  • Look into free options such as google hangouts or blogs (I’ll send ideas in another post)
  • Perhaps a weekly email with at-home lessons created within the message?
As ever, I know that you can do this and I will keep adding ideas to help you. Feel free to send these posts along or to follow this blog if it is of use. I would also LOVE to hear your thoughts, comments, ideas, or suggestions.
Thank you!

 

Example of my first day information:

Day 19: What Are We Going To Do Now?

Temple Banner

Hello, Everyone!

Welcome back to our virtual rebooted class.

It will work very closely to what we were doing before –

  • We’ll typically meet together once a week and the other day we will have an at-home type lesson with an assignment attached.
  • All of the assignments that were previously part of the class will continue to be due on their scheduled dates – follow the modules.
  • If you are behind and interested, you can check out extra credit assignments here: Resources

Here are some changes – 

  • I’ll be putting you into groups so that you can still have connection together during this time (more on that later).
  • You will need to be able to meet with us virtually – you can use your phone, a laptop, etc, in order to do that.
  • There will be a few added assignments to accommodate this new learning style. I will try to be flexible and understanding of your time, but I also need you to understand that these assignments will be necessary to make sure that you have an engaging learning experience .
  • Daily reading quizzes will be changed to reflect what we have done for that day’s work (I gave everyone full credit for the daily reading quiz for Monday’s (3/16) class. Please don’t take it again – unless you want late points or you don’t like to have full credit). 😉

For Wednesday’s (3/18) Class  – 

  1. Please complete Monday’s Readings and Questions (so that you can discuss with a breakout group): Day 18: Finding Connection Through Family History (What an amazing coincidence – the whole day was going to be about connections – and right at the time when we seem to be forced into a global isolation. I truly believe that the Lord wants us to be connected into our Father’s Eternal Family and into our own families. What a great opportunity to do this!)
  2. On Wednesday at our regular class time, please join me in our
  3. You are welcome to set the software up ahead of time (see #4 below to learn how), I have sent up a virtual waiting room so that you can do that. 🙂
  4. If you need to learn how to join this virtual classroom (hosted by Zoom), watch this video  (Links to an external site.)
  5. Should (Zoom)  the virtual classroom fail, (and with the current situation, and all of the colleges relying on this tech, it may) check the announcements and I will have a back-up ready.
  6. You guys are amazing –  keep moving forward!

Help! I have to change my face-to-face classes to online in just a few days

woman holding microphone standing in front of crowd

Photo by ICSA on Pexels.com

So, you’re in the same boat as we are? Because of the novel COVID-19 virus (a.k.a Coronavirus) we have been asked to change our classes from Face-to-Face (traditional model) to online in just a few days to finish out the Winter 2020 semester. I’m hoping that this post will give my fellow teachers some helpful tips with the transition. The posts will be written for college professors, but the ideas can be adapted to any teacher in any teaching situation (Elementary, Jr. High, High Schools, or even in the private sector).

First, some counsel for those who may be silently panicking – you are a teacher, which means that you are capable and creative. You’ve got this! Sure, there may be new technologies to learn (and there will be a unique earning curve for each one) but remember that you are in a profession that allows you to be amazingly creative – and the more creative you are, the more ability you have to enrich the lives of your students.

So, the venue has changed slightly – your knowledge and abilities have not. Take all that you have been doing, put it into a new format, and take advantage of this amazing opportunity for growth for you, as well as for your students.

Second, I am not trying to replace anything that your school, supervisors, teaching & learning teams, etc. are sending out. There is so much material on the web to help teachers – (what a great blessing!) I simply understand that sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start and some tips and encouragement go a LONG way.  Use the information in these posts as a springboard for:

  • ideas and strategies,
  • to change things around to fit what you are doing,
  • to save time thinking of how to “word” things,
  • and/or to use as a template for your courses.

Third – Communication! My first suggestion is to make sure to keep the channels of communication open to your students. They were used to coming to see you during office hours, or before or after class. Now, online, you need to make sure that they hear from you often. If you already have a channel that you have been using all semester (emails, announcements, blog posts, etc.) continue to use that. If nothing is currently in place, consider some of the following –

  • What are the students used to receiving from the school (What tools are already in place? Do they receive emails, blog posts, etc?),
  • Mobilize whichever medium you are good at using (this is one area that you don’t need to stress about learning a new tool – simply use what you have),
  • Be consistent in that medium for as long as either the course or the pandemic lasts.

Fourth – an example. Here is an example of an announcement that I sent up in canvas (our school’s LMS) on Friday (3/13/20). Our University cancelled all Face-to-Face (F2F) classes on Thursday late afternoon (3/12/20) and after a mandatory department meeting (in which they briefed us on what we would be doing) I sent out this announcement.

I suggest making sure to give your students the following:

  • Reassurance,
  • Information about what is going on with the school and with your class,
  • Keep the info simple – you don’t need to brief them on everything, just enough to move to the next step.
  • You don’t need to have a full plan for the next few weeks, just an outline of what to do when they return to your (now) virtual class.
  • Remember –
    • In this first letter, you don’t need to teach them how to use the tech or every plan that you have in mind, just where to go to find you and the class.
    • What leeway you will give for assignments, due dates, etc. that are effected during the transition.
    • Which overall major items will be different and which will be the same in the curriculum.

This is my first offering – introduction & encouragement as well as help in sending out your first item of communication. If this piece was helpful to you, I am so glad – there are no strings or requests other than to help those in our profession during this difficult transition – please pass it on to other teachers.

Best wishes for your success!

Laryssa Waldron

 

A little about me – I am a Visiting Professor at BYU-Idaho in the Religion Department and previous to that taught English Courses in both Writing and Rhetoric, and Technical Writing at Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) where we did a lot of work online and with synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid classes – mainly working on the canvas platform. I am so thankful to my  forward thinking colleagues and departments at both schools (and many others before) who have richly blessed me by freely sharing their knowledge, expertise, and help. It is thrilling to be in a group so willing to freely share their ideas. At every institution I have taught in, I have found this generous attitude. Thank you!