Help students who don’t have a computer keep up with remote learning

How do I make assignments for students if…

They don’t have a computer at home?

Many Moodle options will work through a smartphone if a student has a data plan. YouTube videos and audio recordings are all accessible over a phone. Readings that are posted in Google Docs or in the Moodle page resource format well on a phone; PDF files can be a little harder to read. Online textbooks really vary in how they work on a phone screen.

Writing assignments are more difficult to complete without a keyboard, but students can use the voice typing option on Google Docs to dictate their paper on a phone. Students can also hand-write their assignments and upload a photo or PDF of their work. Microsoft Office Lens is a free app for smartphones that lets you snap a picture of any document and quickly turn it into a PDF or even a Word Document (through Optical Character Recognition).

Moodle will accept photo uploads into assignments. If students are accessing Moodle over their phone, they can attach a photo to any assignment that you’ve set up to allow file submissions, including assignments and forums. When they click “Choose file,” they’ll see the option to turn on their camera. You’ll then receive a photo of their work.

They don’t have wifi/Internet at home?

If the student has a device (computer, tablet, phone) but no internet connection:

If they have somewhere (like Lane’s campus) where they can access the Internet once a week, you can outline a plan where they can download as much media as possible while on campus and turn things in during that single-access window as well. For example, readings and videos can often be saved for later viewing. If you need help making sure your files are downloadable, let the ATC know!

Tip: If you’re offering Zoom sessions, make sure you record these and post the link for where people can view them later. 

If the student will have no internet connection for most of the time:

If possible, provide class materials (textbook, handouts, syllabus) as a printed packet in advance or by mail. (Check with your department for information on whether this is a covered expense). Students can submit work by mail to your department or by telephone. An oral report or read-out of work over the phone could get someone through for a week or three until face-to-face class can reconvene.

You can also ask students to track their own work in a journal or log during our remote time/closure, and then evaluate that work with them when they return. This is not the ideal teaching situation, clearly, but for a temporary closure it might be enough to help a student stay in class. 

2 Replies to “Help students who don’t have a computer keep up with remote learning”

    1. This really depends on the situation. For some classes it will be possible to make advanced arrangements: The bookstore is offering free shipping at the moment. Course materials can be sent out from there, and instructors might be able to receive work by mail or once the college is back in session in person.

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