Consider the following “Quick Guide”, sourced from Furman faculty who have participated in recent workshops, consultations, and conversations as well as the lessons we learned from spring 2020 remote instruction before launching your planning efforts. To access a series of email messages that distill key components of the online or FurmanFlex preparation process, please visit here. You may be interested in using this planning grid to support your process. For a downloadable version of this “Quick Guide” information click here.
Before your course launches, review your course(s) designs, polish up and post welcome announcements in online learning platforms, and make sure instructor information is current. Several pre-course preparation steps (below) will help your course unfold more smoothly for you and your students.
Once your course time and meeting modality are confirmed, communicate with your students your plans for achieving interaction. Especially for students who opt to learn remotely who will need to order books online, a two-week lead time to the start of classes will be crucial. The following pre-course design tasks will help you zero in on your course plans:
Preparing Your Online Learning Platforms
In the First Week of Class
The first week in an online or FurmanFlex course is a crucial time to engage students and address any questions or concerns your students may have about the course and learning platforms, especially those that may be joining you online only. Students will benefit from early modeling of the “go-to” technology you plan to use under various instructional scenarios throughout the semester. Your students will thank you in the event that infection rates require a totally remote transition. For information on Furman-supported technologies and tips integrating them into your course visit this link. Some ideas to consider:
A weekly note to the class with the week’s details and a link to your schedule (with any changes or updates) will prevent them from struggling to figure out the modes of instruction you will use (e.g. online forum, synchronous Zoom session) and what is due, so they can focus on understanding content and developing skills, rather than a confusing schedule. Announcements posted in Moodle are automatically emailed to all students enrolled in the course. For more information about how to prepare your students for success in hybrid flexible environments, visit our Preparing Your Students page.
To ensure you are prepared for a variety of instructional scenarios this fall, you might review your plans for access and use of the following:
Laptop or desktop computer with internet connectivity: If you are not able to come to campus, you will need access to online campus resources, files, and networks. Please ensure that you have a reliable internet network connection and hardware (desktop or laptop) in order to connect to Furman’s network. Academic Affairs has a limited supply of loaner laptops if this is needed.
Access to critical files: If you have important electronic files (lecture content, lab assignments, research data) saved on a local campus drive (e.g. office computer desktop), consider moving those to a cloud-based storage system. Furman provides access to box storage for FREE. Also, don’t forget print files as well. Be sure to have ready access any important paperwork from your office should our campus have to close for safety reasons.
Personal Webcam: In order to utilize any remote video, online conferencing, or video chat features from a remote location, please ensure that you have a working webcam on the laptop or desktop computer you would use off campus.
Online Learning Platforms and Applications: The good news is that there are lots of great applications and online platforms designed to support remote learning. We’ve distilled some of our favorite options for you here. There are two basic forms of online instruction that support online and Furman Flex learning:
Some learning technology requires registration, account set-up, or the use of a downloadable application. Double-check that you are able to login and operate the technology you plan to operate without problem from a remote location.
Voicemail Access: Please note that, in the event of a campus shut-down, all voicemails will continue to be delivered to your inbox as is the current practice. For information about how to check your voicemail remotely, see the ShoreTel Voicemail Quick Reference Card.