Support for Remote Instruction

Support is available to instructional staff as they work on developing their classes and moving them into an online format. 

  • This (Going Online in an Emergecy) page provides ideas and instruction for moving classes online one short notice.
  • The Continiuity of Instruction pages have a 10-day tutorial to build skills in Blackboard skills.
  • Blackboard and Accessibility Labs -- currently held online in Zoom -- are opportunities to get one-on-one help from an instructional designer.
  • IDA.wichit.edu has a library of video tutorials on specific tools and functions
  • Contact IDA@wichita.edu if you have questions about building or running your class.
  • For problems with Blackboard Functionality, submit a ticket to the OneStop Online

Meeting In-Person Classes Online

Page update:  This webpage provides options for different situations leading to a sudden need to move a class online. To support the rapid response needed in the recent COVID-19 suspension of in-person classes at Wichita State, Instructional Design and Access has created a 10-step program to get in-person instructors online very fast.  If you are completely new to teaching online, please refer to this Building Continuity of Instruction program now.

Whether you are facing a short-term challenge to your schedule or something more long-term and serious, it is possible to hold in-person classes online if necessary. Please contact your department if you have any questions about policies or departmental norms regarding such an action. 

The goal of the options on this page is to ensure continuity of instruction in your course and all courses at Wichita State in the case of emergency or other serious interruptions. It is always best to meet a course in the original format if possible. This is not a guide for a permanent transition to online instruction. For more about developing an online class, contact Instructional Design and Access at IDA@wichita.edu

Flyer cover shows women in surgical masks leaving a buildingWhat Are Others Saying? The Chronicle of Higher Education has produced a guide for moving instruction online called "Moving Online Now: How to keep teaching during coronavirus"

It is important to note that Wichita State is accredited for distance learning classes but not for correspondence courses. The primary distinction between these two kinds of classes is the amount of sustained interaction. Even if you are delivering your content online or through some other distance delivery, you must maintain a significant level of professor-student interaction. Ideally, you will also provide opportunities for student-student interaction. For more about distance versus correspondence education, please check out this resource from the Higher Learning Commission. Online classes must also have parity with their in-person counterparts. If you are unsure whether your course meets parity requirements, please check out this short explanation of parity/equivalency

Instructional Design and Access (IDA) has created this page to help you sort through your options and to get the training you need as quickly as possible. If you have any additional questions, please consult our FAQ or email them to IDA. Information Technology Services (ITS) has also created a page with information about working remotely.

[COVID 19 NOTE: Campus is currently open and all instructors can teach remotely from their offices.]

Necessary Technical Knowledge

To get started, let's make sure you have the technical knowledge you need to be successful. If you are comfortable with computers and Blackboard, you can skip to your options.

  • Basic Computer Skills: If you are unsure if you have the computer knowledge necessary to be successful online, you might find these two short, free, online courses helpful. In order to take these courses, you will need to create an online account, but accounts are free and ask very little information:
  • Basic Blackboard Skills:  Wichita State uses Blackboard as our Learning Management System. Before you begin, you should bookmark or print the Blackboard Guide for Instructors, a handy guide to many of the things you will want to do in a Blackboard class. All classes at Wichita State have a Blackboard class area. You do not need to request a Blackboard class for the current semester. If you need to work ahead or if you would like an additional Blackboard class area for some other reason, you can request one by sending an email to Instructional Design and Access at IDA@wichita.edu with the name of the class.  If you have never used Blackboard before, you should watch this thirteen-minute video, "Introduction to Blackboard" to learn the basics of our Blackboard classroom environment:

  • Where to Take Problems: If all of this is new to you, you are likely to face challenges.  Here is where you should take questions and problems:
    • Computer Problems: If you cannot get your Wichita State supported computer to do what you need to do, please contact the Wichita State Technology Help Desk.
    • Blackboard Questions: If you have questions about how to do something in Blackboard or Panopto, please email Instructional Design and Access at IDA@wichita.edu.
    • Blackboard Problems: If Blackboard is acting up for you and you need technical help, or if you need technical help with Panopto, please submit a OneStop ticket

Your Online Options

Once you have mastered the basics of computers and Blackboard, it is time to choose your way forward. Generally speaking, you have three possible options for going online unexpectedly:

  • Option One: Short-term solutions (e.g.: Professor is ill; Professor will be out of town for a short time; Road conditions are poor but the University is still open)
  • Option Two: Long-term solutions (e.g.: Professor cannot come to campus but still wants to teach; the University has closed or made in-person attendance optional in an emergency)
  • Option Three: Blended solutions (e.g.: In-person class will meet on campus as scheduled but an online option needs to be created for an accommodation; Professor needs to use class time in an unexpected way and needs to "flip" the course quickly)

Option One: Short-Term Solutions

If you are facing a short-term challenge, it is possible to take your class online without necessarily moving it to Blackboard, although putting content on Blackboard is always a good idea if you can manage it. Your short-term solutions include the following, which are ranked from low technology use to moderate technology use:

  • Meeting your course at the normal time (i.e.: "synchronously") but remotely. Note: none of these options require captions unless your class is being accommodated for a student with a hearing impairment. If your class does require such accommodations, you may need to choose a different option or work with the Office of Disability Services to get real-time captioning (CART).
    • Low Technology Solution: If your class is very small, it may be possible to hold it via a conference call. An iPhone will support up to five people in a conference call (it may be fewer depending on your carrier), and an Android will support up to six people. 
    • Low to Moderate Technology Solution: If your class is larger or if you do not want to use the conference call option, you can hold your class via Zoom. Zoom provides free video calling for up to 100 people and 40 minutes per meeting. Instructional Design and Access provides Zoom training online. Keep in mind that even though the free Zoom service doesn't allow conferences to exceed 40 minutes, you can have as many conferences as you like, so you could hold a longer class period in a series of consecutive Zoom sessions. If you choose this option, you may find the University Libraries seminar rooms to be helpful.
    • Low to Moderate Technology Solution: You may also consider using a streaming service like YouTube Live. The advantage of YouTube Live over similar streaming services is that students would not need an account to view your video.
  • Meeting your course in an on-demand schedule (i.e.: "asynchronously") and remotely.
    • Low Technology Solution: You have the option to provide your class content in a written format.  In this case, it is probably easiest to create an email with attachments (written lecture, PowerPoint files, etc.) and/or hyperlinks to web content that you send to the whole class. 

Option Two: Long-Term Solutions

If you are facing a long-term challenge, you will need to master a few basic Blackboard skills to be successful. Blackboard is where students expect to go for online materials and putting content elsewhere will invite extra student questions and may introduce technical issues that are not supported by Wichita State technical assistance.

Before you decide upon your preferred long-term solutions, you may want to review the short-term solutions above as they may also be useful to you. Please note that while short-term solutions can rely completely upon synchronous meeting options, long-term solutions will have to have at least some asynchronous contact as well. This means that long-term solutions are slightly more technically challenging than short-term solutions can be. In order to be successful with a long-term solution, you should review "Intermediate Blackboard." This video will take about half an hour to view:

Because your long-term solutions all include at least some Blackboard use, they are all classified as "Moderate Technology Solutions," and the solutions range from easy to moderately difficult: 

  • Easy: Sending emails and posting announcements through Blackboard.  If you create an announcement, you can click the "send a copy of this announcement immediately," and your announcement will be sent to the shockers.wichita.edu address for every student in your class. Sending emails as announcements is well covered in the "Introduction to Blackboard" video above.
  • Moderately Easy: You can upload your own content to Blackboard through the "Item" or "File" tools in the "Build Content" tool of the "Course Content" area of your course. This short video will show you how to upload content easily.
  • Moderately Easy: You can set up discussion boards so your students have a place to talk through scenarios and other topics of your choice. NOTE: many professors and students report frustrations with online discussions, but we in Instructional Design and Access have found these frustrations are due more to the types of questions and expectations in typical online discussions and not something that is tied to online discussions themselves. If you choose to use discussions, please consider watching this short training in effective discussion boards. This short video will show you how to set up discussions easily.
  • Moderately Easy: You can ask students to submit assignments through Blackboard. Blackboard's assignment tool is linked to its grade book and to grading tools that make it easy for you to mark up submissions and return them in a FERPA compliant environment. Setting up assignments is well covered in the "Introduction to Blackboard" video above.
  • Moderately Difficult: You can use Blackboard to deliver tests and quizzes.  The Intermediate Blackboard video above covers the basics of test creation. Blackboard also has an in-depth discussion about how to create tests. The benefit of Blackboard tests and quizzes is that objective questions can by automatically scored by the computer, and tests you create using Blackboard tools are automatically accessible with most question types. Subjective questions, such as short answer and essay questions, are still graded by the instructor. If you have questions about how to improve test security, please contact Instructional Design and Access directly at IDA@wichita.edu. If necessary, you can extend test time for an individual student receiving accommodations. If you have questions about accessibility, contact IDA.
  • Moderately Difficult: Many instructors choose to create their own video lectures and upload them to their classes. In order to do this, you must master at least two separate skills: 1) creating video, and 2) uploading video to a hosting site. Under no circumstances should you upload video files (such as MP4's) to your Blackboard class directly. Doing so is expensive for the University and increases the chances you or your students will encounter serious technical problems with your class.  Also, keep in mind that videos must be captioned if you have a student who is receiving accommodations for a hearing impairment or if the video will be used again in another term. As a rule, the YouTube auto caption feature is very good and its caption editor is very easy to use, although Panopto also has auto caption functionalities as well. If the video you are creating is for one-time use in a class without a hearing impaired student, you will not need to caption your video. For more on captioning, check out our captions FAQ discussion.  Your options for online videos include:
    • Use Panopto to create and host your video. Panopto is the University's supported video platform. IDA has extensive training on Panopto here. You can use Panopto to capture, edit, caption, and host your video. Panopto integrates directly into Blackboard. NOTE, in order to use Panopto, you will have to download the Panopto recorder to your computer. If you do not have "admin access" to your computer, Information Technology Services (ITS) can help you download the Panopto recorder. If you are in the College of Health Professions, please contact your college's Office of Technology Services for this assistance.
    • Record yourself using your device (such as your smart phone) or your computer's video capture applications and upload the video to Panopto (see above) or to YouTube. You must have a Google account in order to use YouTube. If you choose to use YouTube, you can ensure that your video is not searchable on the Internet by choosing "Unlisted" as the privacy setting. Once you have uploaded your YouTube video, you can grab a link to it by clicking the "Share" option under your video in YouTube. Copy that URL and add it to your class as a content item.
    • Record audio on existing PowerPoint slides and export the file as an MP4. Microsoft's training on adding audio to PowerPoint is very good, and note that it addresses both Mac and PC use. ITS's instructions about recording slide show presentations is also excellent. Once you have your completed PowerPoint, export the file as an MP4 and then upload it to either Panopto or YouTube.
    • Record a lecture using the University Libraries' One Button Studio.  The One Button Studio is housed in the Ablah Library and can be reserved through the C-Space on the main floor. Using the One Button Studio is easy, but remember to bring a USB drive to save your video file. Once you have the file, upload it to Panopto or YouTube.

Finally, all of the long-term solutions above are categorized as Moderate Technology Solutions because they use Blackboard.  Blackboard is the University-supported technology solution for online course delivery. As an instructor at Wichita State, you are not required to use Blackboard, but if you choose other technology solutions they are likely to require significantly more technological skill and they are not going to be supported by technical assistance from the University. We classify non-Blackboard technologies as Difficult Technologies. Remember that choosing non-Blackboard technologies also shifts all responsibility for the assessment of accessibility, FERPA compliance, and other regulations to the instructor. You are not relieved of having to meet these standards regardless of the technologies used.

Option Three: Blended Solutions

If you plan to continue to meet your in-person class at the regular time and regular place but one or more students cannot physically attend, you may want to consider offering a blended solution so your students can continue to participate in the course. 

The solutions you choose in order to support the student(s) during a period of extended absence will depend upon your course content, the interactive nature of your course design, and a multitude of other factors that makes your class your own. In order to support your needs, you may need to choose solutions from both Option One and Option Two above.

As you plan, you need to know that Instructional Design and Access does not provide technology support or recommend any of the following choices:

  • Using an in-room Panopto/Zoom-enabled device, a personal smart phone, or a DSLR camera to capture the class as a video. If you feel it is absolutely necessary to record yourself giving a lecture, you should secure funds from your department and then make arrangements with the Media Resources Center for technicians and video/audio recording devices to support this effort. This can be an expensive option and should not be undertaken unless the need to capture a live lecture is compelling. Instead, please consider other options such as:
    • Any of the video lecture options listed in Option Two above.
    • Having the remote students call in to a conference call, as discussed in Option One above. Your students will be able to hear you better if you use your device's earbuds/microphone to improve sound quality.
  • Using email to distribute and receive assignments or grades. Email use of this kind is a FERPA violation. Instead, please consider other options such as:
    • Distributing assignments or grades via Blackboard.
    • Wait for students to return to in-person class before distributing assignments or grades.
  • Using third-party apps such as Quizlet, StudyStack, or TopHat to distribute content, assignments, or other assessments. Apps of this kind tend to not be accessible. Instead, please consider using Blackboard to distribute content and assessments.
  • Using social media solutions that require students to get an account. Accounts may reveal personal information in a non-FERPA compliant way. Instead, please consider other options such as:
    • Using options like the desktop version of YouTube Live, which do not require accounts to view content.
    • Using Blackboard solutions such as the discussion board.
  • Changing the time or place of the course meetings without departmental approval. 
  • Decreasing the amount or quality of course content for any or all of the students.
  • Making a change that impacts a student's accommodations without considering student needs and communicating with the Office of Disability Services.