The Office of Teaching and Learning Excellence is here to help you transition your course to a remote or hybrid classroom. The checklist below is intended to support you through this process. Please reach out to us with questions!

☑ Determine your course delivery method and identify what tools you'll need 

Hybrid (face-to-face/remote split, in real time)
When to use it:
When you are still physically in class with some students but others need to "remote in" from home via Zoom or Webex. This model assumes that the remote students have reliable enough technology to participate in real time. One way to deal with this issue is to record the Zoom/Webex lecture.

Remote synchronous (remote, in real time)
When to use it:
When it's not feasible to meet in person at all but you would still like to "meet" virtually with students at the designated class time, via Zoom or Webex. This model assumes that the remote students have reliable enough technology to participate in real time. Oneway to deal with this issue is to record the Zoom/Webex lecture.

Remote asynchronous (remote, not in real time)
When to use it: 
When it's not feasible to meet in person at all and you are comfortable that students can work through lectures and activities in Brightspace on their own. This is also a recommended option if you have students who for any reason are not able to participate live because of internet access, etc. Often in this model, instructors create pre-recorded videos or written lectures that students watch on their own time. It's also possible to have a generally "remote asynchronous (non-live)" class but to then meet periodically via Zoom or Webex at the designated class time to check in. 

NOTE: Some faculty are mixing these methods. For instance, some are not comfortable with the F2F/remote split option and instead have created a "make-up" lecture and assignment in Brightspace for students who cannot be present.

To create real-time lecture between a physical classroom of students and students at home, you may need:
- A voice amplifier to be heard well through your mask
- A webcam on a tripod + Jabra omnidirectional mic OR an Owl camera/mic combo (most classrooms already have one or the other)
- A Zoom or Webex license and training on the software
- Training on using your classroom setup (Note: if you are in a lecture hall, the equipment may be customized, and we will train you on that equipment)

Remote synchronous
To create real-time lecture from your office or from home to students who are remote, you may need: 
- A designated "quiet space"
- A reliable internet connection and sufficient bandwidth (3.0 Mbps up/down to run Zoom/Webex)
- A computer or laptop with a webcam (some have them built in)
- A headset for optimal sound control (however: most webcams have a built-in mic that is sufficient)
- A Zoom or Webex license and training on the software

Remote asynchronous
To use Brightspace and create pre-recorded lectures, you may need: 
- A designated "quiet space"
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer or laptop with a webcam (some have them built in)
- A headset for optimal sound control (however: most webcams have a built-in mic that is sufficient)
- Access to screenrecording software like Screencast-o-matic (Zoom and Webex will also work for this)
- A YouTube account if you'd like to host your video online

See our Brightspace & Instructional Technology FAQ > "Instructional Video" section for step-by-step directions on setting up and using Zoom and Webex, and for creating pre-recorded videos.  

 Some types of labs are more difficult to create in a remote format than others. The image below outlines from the categories from easiest (top) to most difficult (bottom):

Lab categories scale

A number of remote lab resources have been compiled by faculty across the country trying to simulate hands-on labs. Consult the links below and feel free to ask OTLE to inquire with their network of faculty developers. OTLE is happy to brainstorm with you to figure out remote lab options that will work for your course.

Remote Lab Resources for Natural Sciences
Remote Lab Resources for Social Sciences
Remote Lab Resources for Trades & Technical Sciences 

Once you've determined how you are going to structure lab activities in a remote setting, OTLE is here to help train you with the following:

1. How to use Brightspace to facilitate your labs.
A number of faculty have used the Brightspace Assignment, Quiz, and Discussion tools to coordinate assignments related to labs.

2. Creating videos or photos to convey lab information to students.
A number of faculty have created lab scenarios by providing students with video or photo information. From there, students have carried out diagnostics processes, data interpretation exercises, etc. for lab assignments.

We have the following equipment available for checkout and are happy to help train you:
- A digital camera
- A GoPro video camera 
- A video camcorder
- An Obsbot indoor tracking video camera
- A Soloshot GPS-enabled outdoor tracking video camera
- Lens filters for recording welding, etc.
- A portable document camera 
- SD cards for video recording storage 
- Video lighting solutions
- A designated video studio in the library with a whiteboard and demonstration table
- A designated video-editing station in the OTLE lobby (staff will assist you with your editing)
- Various audio solutions if needed

Jason Geer is also available to help you record lab-related videos or create photos on-site. For an appointment, please reach out to Jason at or 406.265.3767.

 ☑ Determine what activities and assessment methods you will use

There are a number of ways to engage students in real time in a Zoom or Webex meeting. These include:
- Video breakout rooms (available in Zoom and Webex)
- Polling features (available within Zoom and Webex or through apps like Kahoot or PollEverywhere)
- Google Form surveys or collaborative Google Docs

 For tools external to Zoom and Webex, it's usually possible to share a link with students in the chat box so that students have immediate, easy access.

See our Brightspace & Instructional Technology FAQ > "Formative Assessment Tools" section for step-by-step directions on using the tools mentioned above.

If you are creating lecture videos or providing students with other videos or materials that convey course content, it's a good idea to follow up with an activity that engages them with that content, such as a short Brightspace quiz, a short reflection, or a discussion post. See the sections below to determine which kind of assessment is best for you. 

When should I use the Assignment tool?
Written assignments can enable a huge variety of assessment strategies: worksheets, reflection papers, journals, essays, research papers, etc. These can be lower-stakes assignments for formative assessment purposes, or they can be higher-stakes assignments that assess higher-order thinking and cumulative learning.

Setting up written Assignments in Brightspace
In Brightspace, you’ll need to set up a new Assignment folder for each individual graded writing activity. Here’s a comprehensive video showing how to set up an Assignment folder (or this video showing the process in the New Assignment "Experience"), how to grade and provide feedback, and what an Assignment folder looks like from the student viewpoint. Once your students submit a written Assignment to your folder, you can insert comments, edits, and other annotations directly in the submitted document in Brightspace. No downloading or uploading of files is necessary.
When should I use Quizzes?

Online Quizzes are primarily used for formative assessment: that is, helping you and the students gauge whether they are learning what they should be learning. For instance, Quizzes can test students’ basic comprehension of readings or lecture videos, or help them practice foundational knowledge.

Quiz questions in Brightspace can be created in a true/false, multiple-choice, short-answer, or written response (long answer) format. Generally true/false, multiple-choice, and short answer questions test lower-level thinking; however, they can be designed to test higher-order thinking. Here’s a Tech Snacks handout about designing higher-order thinking questions in Quizzes.

Setting up Quizzes in Brightspace
This video provides an overview of how to make Quizzes from scratch in Brightspace.

If you have quiz questions already created in a Word document that you use for paper tests and quizzes, you can convert them into Brightspace quiz questions. This question conversion tool will let you copy and paste text (with a bit of special formatting) and generate a Brightspace test bank that you can import into your courses. Read the instructions on that page carefully, and contact us if you need help.

Many textbook publishers offer pre-built quizzes and question pools, but we strongly recommend not relying on those if at all possible. Students can find virtually every publisher-created test question and answer on “study guide” websites like CourseHero, Quizlet, and Chegg. Here’s a handout we created on the topic of cheating and cheating prevention.

Admittedly, given the situation you might have no choice but to temporarily rely on publisher questions to supplement your assessments. If that’s the case, you should consider tweaking them and/or using them only for low-stakes, formative assessment and not high-value tests.

When should I use Discussions?

The Discussion tool in Brightspace can be used to engage students with important course concepts while also giving them an opportunity to interact with other students (and the instructor) about these topics. Discussions are typically used for formative assessment purposes and are usually graded as lower or medium stakes assignments.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using online discussion as a learning tool. Discussions in Brightspace, for instance, are not synchronous (real-time). This means that the instructor may have to work harder to facilitate timely contributions and conversational flow than they would in a live classroom. There are also advantages, however. For instance, students who are reserved in person may thrive with the opportunity to collect and organize their thoughts in writing.

Setting up Discussion Forums in Brightspace
Here’s a comprehensive video showing how to set up Discussions. You’ll also want to have your Gradebook set up before you start building discussions. 

Grading discussion activities can feel overwhelming, but it’s manageable if you use a Grading Rubric and the Gradebook. As demonstrated in the video above, OTLE has a generic Grading Rubric for Discussions that is available in all courses. You can use it as-is, make a copy and modify it to meet your needs, or create a new Grading Rubric from scratch. Feel free to contact OTLE with any questions about Rubrics.

☑ Decide how you will maintain presence and communication with students

A number of faculty are offering Zoom or Webex office hours by posting an "Office Hours" Announcement in Brightspace and/or an "Office Hours" module in the Content area, including the following information:

- A link to your permanent Zoom/Webex room or a recurring meeting link, with days and times indicated during which you will be available. 
- If appropriate, your phone number in case they would prefer to call.
- If appropriate, a message to students stating that they're free to simply email you during that time and expect a timely response. 

Your ability to maintain social presence in this strange time is going to be critical for keeping students active and engaged in their learning. If students feel like they’re being left adrift in a hastily prepared online course with no instructor guidance, they’re going to stop checking in and completing work.

How can I create social presence?
Craft weekly messages to the class.
Even in the best of times, students can feel anxious about their progress or isolated and lost without an overview of where the class has been and where it’s going. Regularly summarizing the class’s key conclusions and overall progress as a group can sustain a sense of direction and help students feel a “common experience” in the course. It also builds instructor presence. This message can be presented in text or video form in the Announcements section.

Call attention to model work or interesting points.
Direct the class to a particular discussion post or dialogue that is intriguing or meets your expectations well. Likewise, if a student excels in a written submission, you might ask if you can share a passage (named or anonymously).

Use social cues to humanize the course.
Now is the time to start practicing your “written voice.” When it comes to weekly announcements, emails, and discussion posts, strive to express authenticity and personality. When appropriate, use social cues that either reveal yourself as an individual, or recognize the individuality of your students.

Social cues that reveal the instructor
- Expressing humor
- Using personal stories
- Interjecting allusions to physical presence (and time)

Social cues that recognize other participants
- Using greetings
- Addressing people by name
- Complimenting others’ ideas
- Offering support/agreement for an idea

Organize virtual meetings even if you're asynchronous
Students are noting that they're feeling isolated and lonely, and that they miss face-to-face interaction. Even if you decide to organize your remote coursework in an asynchronous "work on your own time" format, consider creating periodic Zoom or Webex meetings for students to connect with you or each other during the designated class time.

If you'd like to receive your campus emails (through Exchange) on your phone or tablet for easier access, follow the ITS directions for an Android phone or for an iPhone.

If you need to forward your incoming office phone calls to your cell phone (local numbers only), consult this ITS page and/or submit an ITS help desk ticket for assistance. 

To access the campus network, you need to install the VPN client on your home computer or laptop, as described on this ITS page.

For more information about accessing your Z: drive files or Box files at home, consult this ITS page.


☑ Reach out to OTLE with any questions you have!

Jason Geer

Brittany Garden

Lindsey Brandt-Bennett

The OTLE staff will try our best to respond to your requests as soon as possible! In the meantime, our Brightspace & Instructional Technology FAQ page may be helpful.