When access to the physical campus is suspended, the virtual campus is always open! This page explores tools and strategies that can be leveraged to keep class(es) on track and maintain instructional continuity in the event of disruption due to weather-related incidents, campus emergencies, or closures.
To learn more about online/blended teaching and learning strategies check out our Online Course Prep workshop series!
Instructors have access to several communication methods to maintain communication with students; including COIN email, Outlook Mail, and using a myCourses site.
myCourses (also known as Blackboard) allows faculty to create sites for their classes where they can store files, have students submit work, post class announcements, and even keep track of student grades. Are you new to myCourses? If so, check out our handy myCourses Vocabulary Reference Sheet to aid your navigation and discovery of myCourses features.
How to get started with working in myCourses:
- Create a myCourses site for your course(s).
- Upload the myCourses Starter Kit to populate your site with important menu links and tools. Learn how to import the starter kit.
Communication Tools in myCourses:
The myCourses Email and Announcement tools connect directly to UMassD’s campus Outlook Mail for convenience.
- Create and send Announcements from myCourses to your students. Learn more about Announcements.
- Use the Email tool! Learn more about Email.
To distribute materials via a myCourses site, you’ll need to create a Content Area first. Once you have a Content Area, begin adding the materials and assessments that you need to facilitate your course!
Add an Item to a Content Area
Items are an easy way to add text-based information within a Content Area. Instructors use Items as headings at the top of Content Areas to provide context or an introduction to the materials and assessments that follow.
Upload a file
Files such as PDF, Word doc, PowerPoint, or any other attachable file can be uploaded to a Content Area as well.
Add a weblink
Web Links can be added to easily refer students to resources and other websites on the internet!
Additionally, visit Help for Faculty to view tutorials on adding other forms of content to your course sites, such as images, YouTube videos, and more.
Kaltura allows you to record audio narration over PowerPoint presentations, documents, or any other content that is visible on your computer’s screen. Many instructors use Kaltura to record lectures and other brief instructional videos from their office/home to share with students.
- Watch our tutorial on how to install Kaltura on your computer and record a video.
- Share your video with your students by posting it in myCourses.
Yes, you can! Many instructors hold virtual office hours, synchronous live meetings with students, and record meetings for later asynchronous viewing. Zoom is a web-conferencing tool that enables instructors and students to meet and collaborate using audio, video, and recording capabilities. Another helpful feature is that captions are auto-generated when Zoom sessions are recorded.
Zoom Video Conferencing is also available as an alternative form of web-conferencing. Learn more about Teleconferencing with Zoom.
There are several tools available in myCourses that can be used to accept student work:
You can create Assignments where students are able to privately submit their work (e.g. papers, presentations, or other documents/files) as attachments to you for grading.
A Discussion Forum can be used to post a topic, question, or piece of content for the class to discuss. Students are able to post their own responses as well as replying to their peers.
- Learn how to create a discussion forum.
- Learn how to grade student participation in a discussion forum.
The Tests tool allows instructors to create and deliver multiple-choice, true/false, ordering, matching, essay, and many other types of questions to assess students’ knowledge. Most questions can even grade themselves!
Need more help?
- Supported internet browsers, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome are the best choices when using myCourses.
- Clearing your internet browser’s cache solves most problems that arise in myCourses.
- 24/7 technical support is available anytime by phone, live chat, or email.
- Help for Students offers a collection of tutorials you can share with your students.
- Help for Faculty offers a collection of tutorials for faculty.