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Info & Resources:
Emergency-proof Your Course
Available to: Faculty & Staff
Service SummaryThis faculty academic preparedness guide has been designed to provide Mason faculty with strategies for dealing with instructional options that might be necessary in the event of an epidemic, long-term inclement weather crisis, or any type of disaster that would prevent students and faculty from attending class.
The process of “Emergency-proofing Your Course” will prepare faculty members to use technology in various ways to assist in student learning and engagement when Mason campuses are closed. Through the use of technology, the student learning process can be continued outside of traditional class sessions. This preparedness guide focuses on three key topics: 1) Top 5 Ways to Emergency-proof Your Course, 2) Getting Help with Technology, and 3) Just in Time Videos for Blackboard support.
This emergency toolkit will provide Mason faculty with alternative strategies for:
- communicating with students
- distributing documentation
- delivering lectures and presentations
- documenting what took place during class
- collecting assignments and providing feedback
- administering exams and make-up exams
- distributing grades
How to Get this Service
1. Build your technology and teaching expertise.
- Enroll in Mason Workshops to build upon your technology skills. These face-to-face and online workshops range from learning specific software applications (web, digital images, office applications, etc.) to incorporating various technologies into your course and other aspects of work life.
- Become familiar with Courses Support for faculty and students.
- Learn about technologies and online services through:
- University Libraries technologies and services
- Center for History and New Media technologies and services
- The Writing Center
Free and Open Online Technologies: Become familiar with free and open online technologies that can be used in education such as CourseSites by Blackboard, Google Docs, Skype in the classroom, youtube, Ustream, Wordpress, Screencast-o-Matic, and other free Internet services for both personal and group collaborative work.
NOTE: Although we have provided a list of these services, please be aware of copyright issues and privacy issues surrounding the distribution of student grades and assessment feedback, IT security, and technical issues that might arise in teaching with open, online services. These services are NOT supported by Mason’s ITS Support Center. For assistance incorporating technology into your course, consult an instructional designer in DoIT’s Learning Support Services.
- Examples of coursework matched to technologies:
- Group Work – Blackboard Collaborate, PBWorks, WordPress Course Blogs, Google Docs, and Thinkbinder.
- Recording Student Presentations – Kaltura, Screencast-o-Matic, Camtasia, Blackboard Collaborate, Prezi, Podcasts created with Audacity
- Class Discussions -Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Discussion Forums, Blackboard Blogs, Blackboard Wikis, WordPress Course Blogs, Piazza, Skype in the classroom
- Research / Research Papers -Catalogs, Articles & Databases, Course Reserves, Subject Guides, Archives, Data & Media
- Writing Assistance - The Writing Center (face-to-face and online assistance)
- Specialized Software – Check the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL)
3. Identify the primary method of communication and documentation distribution for:
Class Information and Cancellations: Let your class know how you plan to communicate cancellations, class information and live lectures. This can be done through Blackboard Announcements, Blackboard E-mail, and Mason e-mail.
Lecture notes and/or lecture recordings: These can be distributed to students through Blackboard Learn, iTunes U, Kaltura, and Mason e-mail.
Office hours: Let your class know when and how you will be available to meet with them such as through Blackboard Collaborate, Google Hangouts, Skype in the classroom
Contact Information: Use Contacts in Blackboard to provide information about office hours, phone numbers, and other links to help students find the people who have important roles in your course. Contact information should also be posted in your syllabus.
Feedback: Let your class know when and how you will provide them with feedback on assignments and exams. For example, use Microsoft Word track changes or In-Line Grading to provide feedback on papers submitted to Blackboard. Blackboard Grade Center also provides an area to include comments with a grade entry. You can also capture screen activity with instructor’s narration using Kaltura, Screencast-o-Matic, and Camtasia.
- The following software applications can be used to record mini-lectures with instructor narration: Kaltura, Screencast-o-Matic, Camtasia, Blackboard Collaborate, Prezi, and Podcasts created with Audacity.
After considering the strategies listed above, include your unique class policies for academic preparedness in your class syllabus. For information on designing an all-inclusive syllabus, visit the Designing Your Syllabus.
There is no charge for this service.
This service is available 24/7, excluding planned outages, normal maintenance windows, and unavoidable events. Maintenance windows are Sundays from 7 to 11 a.m. but may be extended to 2 p.m., if needed. If maintenance is required outside of these hours, it will be announced on the Planned Outages web page.
ITS Support Center
The ITS Support Center, located on the Fairfax campus in Innovation Hall Room 233, serves as the central point of contact in cases of an epidemic, long-term inclement weather crisis or any type of disaster that would prevent students and faculty from attending class.
Please contact ITS Support at 703-993-8870 or e-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-in assistance hours are Monday - Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and phone support hours are Monday - Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB)
The Collaborative Learning Hub supports effective teaching and learning with technology to enhance learning experiences and the quality of work life at the University for current students, teaching faculty, instructional support staff, and academic units seeking to improve instruction. The CLUB is located on the Fairfax campus in the Johnson Center Room 311. Please contact the CLUB at 703-993-3141 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Online Learning Resources (OLR)
Online Learning Resources helps advance instructional initiatives by providing support, administration, and training for the off-site hosted learning management system (LMS), Blackboard Learn 9.1, Organizations, and the university portal (myMason). The unit also provides strategies and best practices for fostering student engagement and interaction using the LMS and other instructional technologies including Blackboard Collaborate, PB Works, WordPress, Kaltura, iTunes U, and more. Questions and assistance with any of these technologies can be found at http://coursessupport.gmu.edu.
Instructional Design Consultations
The instructional design team offers a variety of services and expertise to faculty teaching courses at George Mason University, The main instructional design offices are located on the Fairfax Campus in the Collaborative Learning Hub (CLUB), Johnson Center, Room 311. Instructional design consultations are also available in the training lab on the Prince William Campus in the training lab, Occoquan Building, Room 231. Suggestions, comments, testimonials, and case studies are strongly encouraged. Please e-mail the instructional design team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need some quick help getting started with Blackboard? Want to create a quick video lecture for your students? Click here to watch the short videos. Mason's Blackboard support staff is available for help during snow and other emergency days using the Contact Us form on our Courses Support site.
Last modified date: August 1, 2014