FurmanFlex Instructional Technology

Fully Equipped Classrooms

All University classrooms are now equipped so that students and faculty can participate in classroom sessions remotely, in-person, or in combination. Watch this short video demonstration of the new “remote ready” features of University classrooms or this video demonstration of the entire teaching station for more information.

At a minimum, on-campus classrooms include:
  • Instructional console with internet connectivity and projection capability with audio and video features. All rooms that had a computer as a part of the instructional console still have one – others have laptop connections with adapters for various systems as before.
  • Document camera capability
  • Built-in web cameras and microphones that integrate with existing Crestron controls and speaker system. The technology is designed to provide full room video and microphones out of the line of sight offering a high-quality video and audio presentation experience.
  • Presenters are also able to manage the classroom technology from remote locations and use input devices for which the rooms are already equipped.

In addition to the permanent multimedia in 116 rooms, 12 portable OWL systems provide portable remote, hybrid or in-person videoconferencing for smaller seminar room areas and other rooms where permanent fixtures are less practical. Four audio, conferencing and video setups offer complete remote system setups for alternative spaces not normally considered as classrooms, such as large meeting rooms or even some protected spaces out-of-doors.

Both on and off campus, you have access to:
  • Zoom Accounts
  • Microsoft Teams Accounts
  • Microsoft Email
  • Box Storage
  • Moodle
  • WordPress Blog
  • Confluence Wiki

Instructional Technology

Several options exist at Furman for effectively delivering content in hybrid flexible environments. Instructional technology and learning management systems can be utilized to engage students collaboratively, regardless of their specific mode of course engagement. For specific ideas about how to utilize many of these resources in your classroom, check out the information available here.

Below is an overview of some of the instructional technology that we recommend you utilize for your FurmanFlex instruction, ordered by the level of enterprise-level support provided by our ITS colleagues. As you consider the technology best suited for your needs, please remember:

  1. Keep the accessibility of your online content at the forefront of your instructional technology planning. Students who are receiving in-class accommodations (accessible media, transcription, captioning, testing accommodations) will continue to need accommodations in virtual environments. Some students may have found your brick and mortar curriculum accessible but need an accommodation in the new online delivery format. While the Student Office for Accessibility Resources reaches out to students who may need accommodations, please don’t hesitate to contact SOAR if you have any questions on how to provide accommodations in a hybrid flexible format. In particular, SOAR has helpful online learning resources for faculty and staff here and resources for students here. For tips about how we all might lead more inclusive meetings via Zoom, check out these ideas developed by Stanford IT.
  2. Student feedback from the Spring 2020 semester suggests that the use of too many types of instructional technology in one course can overwhelm students and run counter to your learning objectives for the course. Please consider your technology use carefully, working to select a small number of central learning platforms used throughout the course.

Moodle

At Furman, every student is automatically enrolled in Moodle courses and each faculty member is encouraged to utilize the learning management system as a “hub” of online course material. In Moodle, you can ask students to:

  • Respond to a discussion board prompt (see instructions for setting up a discussion forum here) and respond to other students’ ideas in a substantial way.  Be sure to set ground rules and provide benchmarks for successful posts and responses. One set of tips for students can be found here and several examples of discussion board rubrics can be found here.
  • Set up a quiz in Moodle so that students receive immediate feedback and evaluation on their work. For a detailed how-to guide for setting up quizzes, click here. If you’d like to import quiz questions from a word document, see this tutorial. Also, included here are instructions on how to regrade quiz items and how to vary the time students have to take a quiz. SOAR has also provided instructions for extending quiz time for students with accommodations here (see Test Taking Accommodations).
  • Develop assignments students submit online and maintain a virtual Gradebook. For a detailed how-to guide for setting up assignments and providing grades, click here.
  • Embed video, files, or external tools like Perusall (a document annotation application).
  • Design activities for students to create a wiki, track and share journal reflections, or elicit formative feedback from your students.
  • You can add other “teachers” to your courses by following these instructions.
Moodle Tutorials:
  • For a comprehensive how-to Moodle Resource visit here.
  • To access recordings of recent training sessions on Moodle Quizzes and Gradebooks visit here and for the session on Moodle Forums visit here.
  • You can also self-enroll in the “Moodle Basics v3.8” or the “Advanced Usage of Moodle v3.8” courses by searching available courses in the Moodle platform.
  • Want to explore Moodle further?  Contact Andrew Markovic (humanities and social science faculty), Joey Grant (natural science faculty), or Jean Childress (all other faculty) and/or click here.

Zoom

One of the best options for holding virtual synchronous class sessions is to utilize Zoom. As of July 10, 2020 Furman has a site license for Zoom, which means that all Furman faculty, staff, and students have access to a Furman Zoom Professional account. You are invited to visit http://furman.zoom.us and log in with your Furman network credentials to activate your account.

The Zoom interface, for example, includes video conferencing, a chat window, screen sharing, and whiteboard features that make virtual learning highly interactive. Students join via a link you provide.  For a comprehensive guide to educating through zoom, including tips on how to get started, instructions on setting up remote class sessions, and information about how to record videos or class sessions and utilize interactive features like small group breakout rooms, visit here. A full list of Zoom video tutorials and frequently asked questions is available online.

Zoom Operation Notes:

  • Starting Sept 27, 2020 all Zoom meetings are required to have either a Passcode or Waiting Room. If hosts do not want their guests to have to wait in the waiting room or enter a Passcode they can go to Meeting Settings and choose to “embed Passcode” into the meeting URL and then set a Passcode. If hosts do not set a Passcode or enable a waiting room, a waiting room will be added to the meeting automatically.
  • If you plan to record and share your synchronous course sessions with members of your class, you should follow these best practices to protect privacy.
  • If you’d like to record Zoom sessions on a classroom computer, please first save to the desktop, and then transfer to Box.
  • Note that users who join Zoom via a Chromebook or Chrome OS may be unable to use certain features like Breakout Rooms.

Box

Upload course readings, create collaborative work space, and invite students (or student teams) to annotate documents with questions, connections, or links to resources that provide more detail in Box. These documents can be directly linked in Moodle. In Box, you can set up folders for specific purposes (e.g. in-class group work), and then share that folder with all the members of your class (or post a link to the folder in your Moodle course). If you’ve shared the folder (or the link to an openly accessible folder), any of your students can create and edit shared documents in that folder. There are both word processing (word) and spreadsheet (excel) options within Box. Box also has features allowing for collaboration on documents via Microsoft Office 365. For more information about how to use Box at Furman, click here

Microsoft Teams 

Integrated into your Microsoft system, Microsoft Teams allows you to chat, meet, call, and collaborate all in one place, no matter where you are. Resources for exploring and utilizing this resource are available here, including a recorded workshop overview of the platform and a “Quick Start” guide.

Once a team is created (you can create teams for each of your courses), you can allow members to collaborate on group projects, set up video class meetings with up to 250 people and access, share, and edit Word docs, PowerPoint, and Excel files in real time. Teams also has a Real Simple with Pictures feature that allows you to play video with virtual meetings, or the Stream app can be used to show longer films and videos that can be shared with specific groups. A host of end-user tutorials for Teams are available here. To access Teams from your Outlook web browser, click on the grid in the top left-hand corner of your browser that says “App launcher” and select Teams.  From your desktop Window menu, click Start. > Microsoft Teams.

Outlook Email

Email can be an interactive and effective low-tech tool for online learning when needed. You might, for example, invite students to email you a non-conventional reading response that is short and non-replicable.  For instance you could ask students to:

  • Create a “bumpersticker reflection” that sums up the main ideas of a reading in 7 words or less.
  • Find a creative-commons licensed photo that sums up the reading.
  • Generate 3 questions (with answers) that you can curate for a quick in-class review during an upcoming synchronous sesssion.

If certain types of synchronous interaction aren’t available because of increased demand or if internet access is limited altogether, you may want to have email distribution lists developed for each of your courses as a back-up.

Additional Instructional Applications

OneNote for Education

With a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities, OneNote for Education is another free learning platform with numerous options for asynchronous interaction. Furman faculty have access to OneNote for free, but you will have to manually add students and set up rosters. For more information about OneNote, contact Jenny Colvin.

Microsoft PowerPoint

A simple and easy way to record lecture material for online access involves the development of recorded presentations in Microsoft PowerPoint. Narration can be recorded for each individual slide, you can advance slides to correspond directly with the pace of your lecture, and students can start and stop recorded lectures as necessary for review. For step-by-step instructions about how to record and save PowerPoint presentations, visit here.

Please note that if you have users with Chromebooks, you should save your narrated PowerPoint slides as MP4 files, not as “powerpoint show” files or a regular PowerPoint file as students with Chromebooks will not be able to open the narrations if they aren’t MP4 files.  

Camtasia

Camtasia is a software suite for creating video tutorials and presentations directly via screencast, or via a direct recording plug-in to Microsoft PowerPoint. The software is pre-installed on several computers in the Duke Library. For assistance with Camtasia, please contact Jean Schwab.

WhatsApp or Marco Polo

If you’d like to facilitate small group interactions in a digital environment, Whatsapp and Marco Polo both allows students to create group chats where they can send and listen to short recordings using their cell phones. Small groups of students could create a group chat that includes the instructor, and then use the recording feature to have a conversation with each other. The instructor can listen to the conversation and then record feedback if desired. For questions, consult the Marco Polo FAQ or the Whatsapp FAQ.

Duke Library Support

The Duke Library has a podcasting room where there is some audio recording equipment (and soundproofed walls!) that can be reserved here. Choose “Audio Recording Studio” in your reservation. The room is to the left of the IT Service Center. The Duke Library also offers many additional instructional services, including Scan and Deliver and resource digitization to support your online learning practices as copyright law allows. For more about these services, click here.

WordPress Blog or Confluence Wiki

WordPress is a free and open source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL that allows the user to create a professional blog with ease. Confluence wikis allow you to develop a website that facilitates collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users. For more about WordPress features click here and for details about getting started with a Confluence wiki click here. If you’d like more information about these technologies, contact Susan Dunnavant.

Video Capture & Editing

Sometimes you don’t need to create a full lecture or instructional video, but just want to put together a short video clip. In those instances, several tools like ScreenCast-O-Matic, Snagit, or Vimeo might support your instructional needs.

Some of Our Favorite Instructional Support Resources

For a comprehensive database of specific technology, online platforms, or applications, visit here. Some of our favorites include (click on icons for a direct link):

Primary Use: Asynchronous virtual collaborative document annotation. Click here for information about using Perusall in Moodle.

Primary Use: Real-time virtual collaborative group work  Click here for a Beginner’s Guide to Using Padlet.

Primary Use: Real-time virtual polling, quizzes, or live group response. Click here for a quick instructional guide for Mentimeter.

Primary Use: Virtual concept mapping. Click here for information on how to get started with MindMeister.

Primary Use: Online video message boards. Click here for details about how to get started with Flipgrid.

Primary Use: Create and display interactive text, maps, and multi-media. For a brief tutorial on StoryMaps visit here or contact Mike Winiski.

Primary Use: Virtual whiteboard that allows you to share, download, and create whiteboard groups for digital real-time collaboration.. Click here for details about how to get started with Whiteboard.fi.

Have other resources you’d like to share with your colleagues? Please send us a brief message here!