Online Teaching Tools at CGU
Guidance For Faculty On Selecting Technology Tools for Successfully Teaching Online
This page is intended for faculty and other teaching staff at CGU, to provide information on specific tools the Office of Information Technology suggests and supports in optimizing your teaching efforts online. These tools are appropriate for faculty in any online, hybrid, or flex course; these tools may also be useful for enhancing traditional on-ground courses, too. For more information and support on teaching, working, or studying remotely, please see the to the page that is most helpful for you:
- Academic Continuity (Faculty)
- Online Faculty Resource Center (Faculty &TAs)
- Operational Continuity (Staff)
- Learning and Research Continuity (Students)
Teaching online may be challenging, but can still inspire student motivation, participation, interaction, and learning in students. CGU’s boutique model of small, intimate in-person class sessions can be reflected and enhanced through online tools. The online space provides an opportunity to experiment and try new approaches in teaching and learning that help overcome:
- The challenge to adapt to the new learning environment
- The challenge to ensure the teaching and learning is successful
- The challenge to keep motivations high
- The challenge to select the right teaching tools for the right learning moments
- and to learn how to use those tools for both the faculty member and the students
- as well as the challenge to receive the support needed from OIT or others, at the time the support is needed
Institutions across the K through 16+ education spheres are being inundated with new technologies, some intentionally designed for teaching and some not, during the current public health circumstances. Canvas, CGU’s learning management system (LMS), provides robust communication, teaching, collaboration and assessment tools for faculty. Additional tools like email, chat, video conference, recordings, video or audio media, PDFs, and quizzes and more can also enhance the student and teacher experience.
This page is designed to facilitate picking the right tool for the teaching moment, and to know the tools authorized and supported by CGU OIT. OIT should be your first avenue to acquire the tool but please note that there is a limited supply of hardware such as webcams, headsets and documents cameras on hand as well as in the supply chain.
There are two ways to read through the tools below, though both sections cover the same information from different perspectives.
- Use case based– This section is based off your approach to teaching and the tasks you’d like to accomplish in your online learning space (See section below for pricing)
- Technology-based – This section is based off your technical needs if you’ve already settled on your approach and need suggestions for technical tools supported by CGU IT
In general, images are protected by copyright. However, you are welcome to use Zoom Backgrounds provided by organizations explicitly for personal/professional use as long as they comply with university expectations and policies. Free options that may help you set the stage for class and/or provide instructional value include:
- Microphones – studies regular show that learners, when required due to poor video quality or other distracting factors, will still have a satisfactory experience if the audio quality is decent. If all other factors are good, then even better audio quality will lead to even better results.
- This microphone, or something similar, is what OIT suggests using if you find that your current microphone is good but not great.
- An upgraded microphone is suggested for faculty who create audio recordings or other asynchronous multimedia, including pre-recorded lectures, audio/video feedback, and online interviews for class
- Cameras – the ability to see the faculty member and one’s peers is definitely impactful on the student; however, the better the quality, the more impactful.
- This camera, or something similar, is what OIT suggests using if you find that your current camera is good but not great.
- An upgraded camera is suggested for faculty who record more than just a face (e.g. filming objects, spaces, documents, artifacts, or physical demonstrations). Articulated tripods and desktop stands can help maneuver a standalone camera in ways that a laptop cannot be maneuvered.
- Headsets – the better you, the faculty member, can hear and respond to your students, the more improved the student experience will be.. A headset is always preferred over using the computer’s speakers, as headsets can mitigate feedback or echo and help limit distractions; computer speakers are not recommended during live online communication. A headset can also provide a visual signal to other people in your household that you are teaching and should not be disturbed.
- This headset, or something similar, is what OIT suggests using if you find that your current headset is good but not great.
- An upgraded headset is suggested for all live meetings in Zoom, web phone calls, digital office hours, and other situations with live communication online.
- Lighting – Lighting is important for the camera you are using to pick up as much detail as possible. Even using a low quality webcam can be drastically improved by lighting yourself or objects, bringing the subject into the foreground and darkening the background.
- This personal light, or something similar, is what OIT suggests using if you find that your current lighting is good but not great.
- Upgraded lighting is suggested for online lectures, photographing/filming tangible objects, and pre-recording video content.
- Cabled network connection – Wireless internet connection is sufficient for most individuals in normal times; however, many people are sharing home wifi, and connections may be poor. To get the most out of your network connection, and improve any network-related issues with your online teaching, a wired Ethernet connection is needed. For help connecting through wired internet access rather than wifi, use an Ethernet cable. You may need to call your Internet Service Provider and/or your computer manufacturer for additional assistance. Necessary hardware may include:
- An ethernet adapter for your computer, if your computer does not already have one
- an ethernet cable of appropriate length to your computer from your router
- an unmanaged switch if your ISP did not provide enough ports on your router
- If your internet provider’s router is just too far, there are solutions to use your home cabling as an Ethernet substitute, like so here
If you write on whiteboards, provide handwritten feedback, or use document cameras to conduct most of your teaching on campus, you may want to replicate the experience in your online classroom. There are many options for providing digital versions of handwriting online:
- Zoom itself supports a whiteboard function that can be shared with the students, which can be drawn on using the computer’s mouse or a touchscreen surface. Canvas SpeedGrader also provides an interface for marking up student papers through mouse/keyboard functions or touchscreen drawing.
- A tablet, like an iPad or a Microsoft Surface, can be used in Zoom to share hand writing, even without a stylus
- A touch screen monitor can also be used as a secondary monitor for PC users
- A document camera can also be used to capture table-top documents and objects
Sometimes demonstrating an artifact is the only way to show something to your students, for that perfect teaching moment. If that is the case:
- Your phone or other mobile device can join Zoom call along with your main computer (just do NOT join the audio). And you can direct students to look at whatever it is you are pointing at.
- A phone or other video-recording device can also be used to tour physical spaces, such as labs or field sites, when students cannot visit the site themselves. Pre-recorded video can be provided to students asynchronously in the Canvas Media Gallery in your online course.
- If you need two hands, the most ideal solution would be a document camera, which can be used to share anything under the camera (an object, a transparency, an X-ray, etc.).
- YouTube EDU
- Small Business Administration Learning Center
- MIT Open Courseware Audio/Video Lectures
- EDUCAUSE Open Educational Resources (OER)
- Library of Congress Digital Collections
- Online Archive of California
The Claremont Colleges Library also houses information and resources to help you add digital material to your class:
- Films on Demand
- Fox Feature Films for Education
- Independent World Cinema: Classic and Contemporary Film
- Digital Campus: Streaming Film Database
- BBC Landmark Video Collection
- American Newsreels in Video
- Arts Premium Collection
- Open Content
- Archives and Special Collections
- Digital Collections
- …and more! For more information on library access to multimedia content, contact Jennifer Beamer, Scholarly Communications Librarian.
If you already know what you are trying to do, but just need help deciding which technology to aquire, OIT recommends and can support:
Please visit CGU Technology Purchasing Policy and Computer Standards for additional information and guidance. OIT has on hand some of the equipment listed above, please contact them before making purchases.