Information Technology - Teach Anywhere

Quality Matters Checklist

Quality Matters Emergency Remote Instruction Checklist 

(adapted from Quality Matters website)

Start Here: Preparing for Success

The Goal: Set students up for success by quickly preparing the environment before students begin work and orienting them to their new online classroom. Address the biggest questions students might have, and help allay any immediate concerns in moving to remote instruction.

Quality Matters Preparing for Success Table of Information
Recommended Actions for Instructors: WHY?

Provide explicit directions and comparisons of the structure of the online version with the F2F version, clearly identifying where students can find course components and what they should do to get started.

Priority TipExplain how the remote class will be structured, if students need to log on for synchronous sessions (and how), where they can find assignment information, and how they should submit assignments.

Quickly transitioning a course from F2F delivery to an online format is likely to modify the structure of a course in ways that students might find foreign or confusing. This is especially true for students new to online, the LMS, or new to the format being used.

Address communication and interaction expectations.

Priority Tip: Explain to students how they should contact you (email, via online office hours, through Canvas, etc.), how often they should log in to the class site, which activities are synchronous vs. asynchronous, and any guidelines for communicating with peers (we recommend looking at the “netiquette” guidelines on UW Bothell’s Student Help for Online Learning page.).
Setting communication expectations from the start, and modeling expectations in all communication, will help students engage in the online format more quickly and confidently.  Since it often isn’t obvious to students how to replicate their in-class interactions in the online environment, explain how they should interact with you, the course, and their peers.

Tell learners what to expect from you and when to expect it.

Priority TipTell students when they will receive an answer to any questions they pose through email or Canvas (e.g., 24 hours, 48 hours, etc.) and when they can expect assignment grades and feedback.

In face-to-face courses, you meet with students every week on the same day and at the same time. Bringing some of that regularity into your remote teaching by assuring students that you have a plan to be responsive can minimize the disruption for students. Sharing with students what they can expect from you might also make them feel at ease in a time of transition and uncertainty.

Provide instructions on how learners can access their grades.

Priority TipExplain to students how to view grades in Canvas. You will want to set up the Canvas gradebook so that students can see their grades. Sending grade information through email is a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). All grade information should be communicated through the Canvas gradebook.
Students may not be used to checking their grades in Canvas. Ensure students know how to view their grades, both their course grade and individual assignment grades.

Directly identify any relevant changes to any course and institutional policies.

Priority TipLet students know immediately if there are changes to due dates/times for assignments.

Students will need to be alerted to any changes in course or institutional policies or schedules caused by the rapid move from face-to face to remote teaching or by the underlying crisis that precipitated such a move. Examples might include amended policies for students who lack a stable internet connection or who fall ill.

Identify where you and your students can receive prompt support for technology used in the course and inform students in advance about what technologies they will need to acquire and/or use, and how to find support.

Priority TipRefer students to the UW Bothell Student Help for Online Learning page. Here they can link to a host of resources, including software downloads and technology help.
Students and their instructors may be challenged by technology requirements necessitated by a sudden move to online delivery. Students will need to be alerted to the technology required and will need assistance with accessing and using remote technologies. Consider options for students who are not equipped with the necessary technology for remote instruction.

Articulate quick and easy ways for learners to find appropriate academic or student services support offices and resources.

Priority TipRefer students to the UW Bothell Student Help for Online Learning page. Here they can link to a host of resources, including counseling and tutoring support.
Students faced with a changed learning environment may be unprepared for online study and uncertain about how to get assistance. Ensure that students have quick and easy access to contact information for technology help, academic support, and student support offices and resources.

Explain to students how to access the institution’s accessibility services and be responsive to learners who need assistance in accessing digital course materials.

Priority Tip Refer students to the UW Bothell Student Help for Online Learning page. Here they can link to a host of resources, including the office of Disability Resources for Students. Direct students to reach out early and proactively if they think they might need an accommodation. In addition, refer to UW Bothell’s Instructional Continuity page for tips on how to improve the accessibility of your course materials. 
The online environment may be especially difficult for students who need learning accommodations.

NEXT STEPS: Guiding Students and Their Learning

The Goal: Continue to ease the transition and build confidence by helping students to establish social presence online, providing guidance and explanation similar to what you’d say in class, and considering best practices for remote teaching with technology.

Next steps: guiding students and their learning table of information
Recommended actions for instructors Why?

Create a sense of community by encouraging and guiding learners to introduce themselves and engage in online discussions.

Tip:  An early “introduction discussion” activity gets students involved with using the Canvas discussion tool, which they may need for upcoming assignments. If the class has already begun, however, students may have already done an in-class introduction. In this case, consider a different angle for a “get to know you” discussion post, such as describing where they’re logging in from. Activities such as these may seem unimportant, but they can be vital in helping students feel connected to you and their peers in ways that build rapport and camaraderie.
Students who have not taken facilitated online courses may be unaware of the need to establish their own social presence and connect with others digitally.  This may be very important when the move to online is sudden or unplanned. Synchronous discussions can be held via Zoom or asynchronous discussions and collaborations can be done through the discussion tool, Google docs, or the Canvas group tool. 

Explain to your students how the learning materials help them complete courses activities and achieve the course learning objectives.  

TipReflect on how you begin your face-to-face class sessions and use that to create a module/unit introduction through text, video, and/or audio. You can post this as an announcement in Canvas or add it in relevant places in the weekly module. Use a Module Introduction to explain to students how what they’re reading or watching that week connects to the course learning objectives.

In class, students rely on your introductions and contextualization of instructional materials, and the same is true online.  A short explanation of what material they’ll be interacting with that week, any particular areas of importance, and how they’ll use the material to do well on the aligned assessments will improve their ability to engage with the material.

Specifically explain how each assignment is related to the course objectives and how you will evaluate submitted work.

TipJust as you would in a face-to-face class, introduce an assignment using text, audio, or video by going over the instructions, providing relevant examples when useful/possible, and reminding students how the assignment is connected to learning objectives/outcomes. Include clear information, whether through an assignment prompt, rubric, or other means, about how the assignment will be graded.

NOTE: Because some students may be struggling with low-bandwidth, UW Bothell recommends making sure that assignment instructions are always available in text format. Video or audio options should always be accompanied by a text-based instructions.
In face-to-face classes, instructors often provide additional information about upcoming assignments.  Students will benefit from clear and detailed information about what to do, how you will evaluate it, and why.

Provide learners with timely feedback to enable them to track their learning progress.

Tip: When teaching remotely, it’s important to include acknowledgement feedback. Provide informative feedback in a timely manner, so that students can use it to improve future coursework. If possible, consider including “knowledge check” types of activities by creating low-stakes, simple quizzes or simplified discussions that reflect the activities you’d already planned for in-class work.
Students may feel disoriented without regular classroom interaction. In the online environment, much of your interaction with learners can be through robust and timely feedback. Additionally, when teaching at a distance, it is crucial to provide lower-stakes, formative assessments so both you and your students can proactively address any confusion before higher-stakes assessments. The use of smaller, formative assessments, like quizzes or discussions, can replace some of the planned in-class interaction, and can also give you timely insights into how students are learning.

LONGER TERM CONSIDERATIONS: Teaching Effectively in a New Environment

The Goal: Develop additional components of the remote course to enhance the learning experience. If you feel you might be teaching remotely longer than anticipated, begin to acclimate students to the “new normal” by designing learning units within Canvas and/or creating online-specific materials or assignments.

Longer term considerations: teaching effectively in a new environment table of info
Recommended actions for instructors Why?

Consider using short multimedia pieces for interaction, and make sure students have easy access to any software, plugs-ins, etc. they’ll need to access the multimedia content.

TipExplore using video as a way to connect with your students by posting short video announcements, recording shorter lectures, or giving students video feedback for assignments. Whether it’s existing video material or a new recording you create, however, refrain from sharing videos longer than 10 minutes. Instead, consider breaking these up into shorter chunks.

NOTE: Because some students may be struggling with low-bandwidth, UW Bothell recommends using video strategically and always accompanying videos with a text-based transcript.
Multimedia can be used both for content and feedback. Consider that students may have limited internet connectivity so only use videos strategically and keep them short and clear. 

Organize your course to guide students along the learning path and help them progressively navigate through the course each week.

TipFocus on organizing weekly modules/learning units that contain the materials and assignment information students will need for that week. If possible, also add context by including a module introduction or summary, information on how materials and assignments are connected to learning objectives, and assignments prompts and/or rubrics.

NOTE: The UW Bothell IT and digital learning teams have created a 10-module Canvas template. Visit the UW Bothell Instructional Continuity page for instructions on how to access the template.  

Unclear navigation and disorganized materials present a significant barrier for all students. Creating an effective learning path in Canvas will reduce frustration for everyone and encourage students to be more self-sufficient. Consider organizing material by learning units/modules, and keep frequently-referenced items, such as the Syllabus, linked in the course navigation menu. Connect with the appropriate office at your institution to see if a Canvas template exists for organization.

Plan active learning opportunities and use course tools to meaningfully facilitate learners’ interaction and active learning.

TipConsider how students will continue to interact with one another, you, and course material by engaging collaborative tools (e.g., Google docs), synchronous tools (e.g., Zoom), and tools for asynchronous, online interaction (e.g., discussions, blogs).
Active learning and engagement are facilitated by the interactions your students have with you, the content, and each other. Keep the active learning of your classroom-based course going by bringing discussion and collaboration online.

Provide learners with information on protecting their data and privacy for tools introduced or recommended throughout the course.

TipAs the easiest approach, keep all course work inside Canvas. For anything outside of that where students will have to create an account, submit material, etc., ensure that FERPA and other institutional policies regarding student privacy are being followed.
Students may not be mindful of protecting their own data and may assume the institution has protections in place for remote engagement.  Check on any related institutional policies regarding sharing data and privacy.

Provide appropriate citations and permissions for the materials you use in your course.

TipFocus on material and images that are Creative Commons licensed and learn more about Fair Use and other copyright laws by connecting with your institutional librarians. Share your sources of information to help students better understand proper attribution and how to avoid plagiarism.

NOTE: Fair use and copyright standards account can change in times of crisis. See this Public Statement on Fair Use and Emergency Remote Teaching for information.

Additionally, if you have been given permission by another instructor to use materials they developed for their own online or hybrid course, consider acknowledging this to students by appropriately captioning or attributing materials to the original author.

Students will look to the way you use and acknowledge materials as an example. Materials you are putting online must demonstrate the academic integrity expectations you have of students through proper citations, references and use permissions. Especially in a time sensitive move to online, finding openly licensed material might be a solution.