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. 

Get Ready Now: Instructor-provided resources

Even though this an evolving situation, best practices and practical supports can guide our work. The ATC and SHeD can only provide support for applications that have been adopted by the college officially.

These technologies include Moodle (our learning management system), Zoom (our web conferencing solution), and to a limited extent, Google Drive, Docs, and Gmail.

I’ve seen about a dozen great tips and recommendations come through this week so far, and I’d love it if more faculty felt willing to share what they’re doing to get ready for a potential pause in teaching/need to go remote. You can comment below or post to this collaborative Google Doc with advice, links to the guidance from your professional associations, or other tips that you want to share!

Get Ready Now: Practice Virtual Meetings with Zoom

Need to meet with your students virtually? Zoom Video Conferencing is a powerful tool you can use to meet synchronously and asynchronously. Zoom will let you share your screen, chat, and even record your meetings to be shared in real-time or uploaded later. Use these tips and tricks to practice using Zoom today.

What devices can I use Zoom on? 

  • Laptop/computer (PC/Mac) 
  • Tablet (Apple iOS, Android)
  • Smartphone (Apple iOS, Android)

Preparing for a Zoom Meeting 

  1. Download and install the Zoom Client Software (PC/Mac) or the Zoom app (iOS/Android) in advance. 
  2. Review Zoom instructions online: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362033-Getting-Started-on-Windows-and-Mac 
  3. Start or join a Zoom Meeting to test your computer or device’s capabilities. 
  4. Contact the ATC for training or to resolve any technical issues encountered during testing. 

Tips and Tricks 

  • Find a quiet space with strong WiFi that is free of distractions.
  • Test your headphones, microphone, and camera to make sure the class can hear and see you. More info on testing here: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362283-How-Do-I-Join-or-Test-My-Computer-Audio-
  • You may need to give Zoom permission to access your camera and microphone beforehand. Typically the request for permission will appear in a pop-up window the first time you open a Zoom Meeting. 
  • Close any windows or programs open on your device that are unrelated to your meeting. This focuses  your device’s power to provide the best Zoom meeting experience possible.  
  • If you can’t use video, upload a profile image to your Zoom account, give your students something to look at while you speak. 

We’ve also got Zoom training/practice available from 12-1 on Wednesday 3/11 and Thursday 3/12 in Center 219 (ATC computer lab). Drop by!