Resources for the COVID-19 Virtual Learning Period

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GW classes are currently being conducted online. Courses will remain online through the remainder of the Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 semesters. The resources below are provided to assist instructors in making a smooth transition to virtual learning and to promote best-practices in online education. 

Get Help or Ask a Question

Effective and Engaging Online Teaching

Technology for Online Teaching

Workshops and Training Sessions

Making Your Online Course More Accessible

Online Learning Resources for Students


Get Help or Ask a Question

Instructor Support for Blackboard, academic technology tools and teaching questions

For support for instructors with Blackboard, Echo360, Collaborate Ultra, and Lecture Capture, contact:

Instructional Core | Instructional Technology Lab (ITL) 

Phone: (202) 994-0485

Email: [email protected]

Support hours: Monday - Friday: 7:00am - 8:00pm, Saturday support tbd

Instructional Core professionals are available to walk you through any technical problems or questions until your problem is solved. For teaching questions (i.e. how do I do this type of activity online? how do I keep students engaged?), you will be connected with one of our Instructional Core professionals and/or paired with an expert online faculty member as part of our Peer-to-Peer Program. 

GW-Wide Technology and Software Support

For support with GW email, Adobe, WebEx, VPN and Office applications contact:

GW Information Technology Support Center

Phone: 202-994-4948, option 2

Email: [email protected]

Submit a Support Ticket

Support hours: Monday - Friday, 7:00am - 10:00pm*

*Blackboard support is available 24 hours by calling 202-994-4948, option 2

Student Blackboard Support

If students require support with Blackboard, do not direct them to Instructional Core. Instead direct them to:

GW Information Technology Support Center

Phone: 202-994-4948, option 2

Email: [email protected]

Submit a Support Ticket

Support hours: Monday - Friday, 7:00am - 10:00pm*

*Blackboard support is available 24 hours by calling 202-994-4948, option 2

Effective and Engaging Online Teaching

Peer-to-Peer Online Faculty Support

The Instructional Core has compiled a team of expert GW online teaching faculty from around the university. These faculty are available for one-on-one consultation by appointment to assist faculty new to online learning. The peer-to-peer expert group can share best practices, discuss pedagogical approaches, novel ideas to ensure high quality active learning, and share experiences and tips especially geared to online learning. Instructors interested in pairing with a peer should email [email protected] and request a contact. The Faculty Development Department will facilitate introductions with our Peer-to-Peer Team members, who are listed below:

Head shot of Diane Cline in front of green background

Diane Cline

School: CCAS    

Subject: History    

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: WebEx, Echo360, and making videos or audio recordings, Blackboard    

Diane Harris Cline, Associate Professor of History, specializes in ancient Greek historian and is a classical archaeologist. In her cross-disciplinary research, she is a pioneer in the digital humanities, applying social network analysis to study the social ties in ancient Greece.  Cline is the author of two books, The Treasures of the Parthenon and Erechtheion (Oxford) and The Greeks: An Illustrated History (National Geographic).  She has won two Fulbright awards for her research in Greece, where she also serves as an expert study leader for Smithsonian Journeys and National Geographic Expeditions. 

Head shot of Laura D'Antonio with a gray backgroundLaura D'Antonio

School: GWSB

Subject: International Business   

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: General

Laura D'Antonio, Assistant Professor of International Business, is currently teaching courses in management in developing countries. Her teaching focuses on understanding international business context, global business and international strategy. Her courses include a strong emphasis on global environmental and social issues. She has developed and taught several online courses.

Head shot of David Halliday with gray backgroundDavid Halliday

School: GWSB

Subject: Strategic Management & Public Policy   

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: Synchronous teaching

David Halliday, Assistant Professor of Strategic Management & Public Policy, has extensive online teaching experience, with focus on interactivity in synchronous classrooms. His teaching interests include engaging students online, business and corporate strategy, and business ethics and public policy.

Head shot of Anna Helm with a gray backgroundAnna Helm

School: GWSB

Subject: International Business   

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: General

Anna Helm is Director for the Center for International Business and assistant professor of International Business. She teaches courses on international marketing management, green business, the cultural environment of international business, and foreign market analysis. She has developed and taught several online courses and regularly offers courses with real client projects. Since 2010, she has taught international consulting courses in Sweden and other countries with projects in both the cleantech and healthcare industries, with a particular focus on high-tech startups.

Head shot of Shaista E. Khilji in front of windowsShaista E. Khilji

School: GSEHD    

Subject: Human and Organizational Learning & International Affairs   

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: General

Shaista Khilji, Professor of Human & Organizational Learning, teaches graduate level courses on leadership, change, and diversity & inclusion and has taught and trained a diverse audience in Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia, United States, Canada, India, Morocco, and Pakistan. Her research focuses on issues related to macro talent development, diversity & inclusion, humanizing organizations/ leadership, and individual experiences with inequality.

Natalie Millman standing in front of a bookshelfNatalie Milman

School: GSEHD    

Subject: Educational Technology   

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: General

Natalie Milman is Professor of Educational Technology and Director of the Educational Technology Leadership Program. She is a member of the interdisciplinary Human-Technology Collaborations PhD program and research lab (go.gwu.edu/htc). Her research focuses on the design of instruction and models for the effective leadership and integration of technology at all academic levels; online student support needs, engagement, and learning; issues of diversity, inclusion, and digital equity; and the use of digital portfolios for professional development. 

Head shot of Carol Rentas with gray backgroundCarol Rentas

School: SMHS

Subject: Biomedical Laboratory Sciences Department 

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: General

Carol Rentas, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, has more than 17 years of experience in clinical laboratory science and more than 18 years in education. She worked as a medical laboratory professional in hospital across the country before moving into education. Ms. Rentas has taught or is presently teaching online courses in laboratory operations, urinalysis and body fluids, clinical chemistry, and immunohematology.

Head shot of Lisa Schwartz with a gray backgroundLisa Schwartz

School: SMHS

Subject: Biomedical Laboratory Sciences Department 

Email: [email protected]

Areas of Expertise: VoiceThread, remote proctored quizzes/tests, wikis, discussion boards, and reflective journals

Lisa Schwartz is Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences who specializes in ethics and genetics. She is an education professional with more than 25 years of experience in the higher education and healthcare industries conducting program, curriculum, student, and faculty development, marketing, grant writing, and quantitative and qualitative research.

Ryan Watkins sitting on a river bankRyan Watkins

School: GSEHD    

Subject: Eductional Technology   

Email: [email protected]

Availability: General

Areas of Expertise: General

Ryan Watkins, Professor of Educational Leadership, is a member of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the American Evaluation Association (AEA), and has served a vice president of the Inter-American Distance Education Consortium (CREAD).He has worked with National Science Foundation and, routinely, with The World Bank on applying needs assessment, instructional design, and performance improvement to international assistance programs.

Online Teaching in Ten Minutes

These short videos, developed by GW instructional designers, can help instructors create more engaging online classes and activities.

Creating a Great Discussion Board: Setting Up Boards and Expectations from GW Libraries on Vimeo.

Creating a Great Discussion Board: Planning a Strategy and Writing Questions from GW Libraries on Vimeo.

Creating a Great Discussion Board: Moderation and Assessment from GW Libraries on Vimeo.

 

Designing Learner-Centered Assessments in Online Environments from GW Libraries on Vimeo.

Developing Asynchronous Activities from GW Libraries on Vimeo.

Hosting an Engaging Collaborate Sync Session from GW Libraries on Vimeo.

Supporting Student Well-Being Online from GW Libraries on Vimeo.

 

Engaging Students in Online Courses

How to be a Better Online Teacher (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning (Educause Review)

10 Tips to Support Students in a Stressful Shift to Online Learning (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Ten Ways To Overcome Barriers To Student Engagement Online (Online Learning Consortium) 

Synchronous Online Classes: 10 Tips for Engaging Students (Magna Publications)

Moving OnLine NOW: How to Keep Teaching During Coronavirus (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Best Practices for Synchronous Online Discussions (Higher eLearning)

Strategies for Participating in Discussion (by Natalie B. Milman, GW Associate Professor of Educational Technology)

The Flipped Classroom (by Natalie B. Milman, GW Associate Professor of Educational Technology)

Tips for Successful and Engaging Live Class Sessions

Use the right tools

Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard’s real-time video conferencing tool, allows you to communicate with students online synchronously without some of the issues of business-oriented tools like Webex and Zoom. Collaborate provides a secure platform to host a live class discussion. 

Prepare in advance

Test using the software by yourself before you have everyone there as an audience. Review this guide on getting started as a moderator using Collaborate or this guide on using Webex. Prepare your slides, visuals, questions, and activities for the session along with a short agenda to keep you on track and let your learners know what to expect. Save every file you need for the session in a folder in your desktop so you can find them easily when the session is live.

Engage with your learners

Try to take breaks in between lecturing to allow students to ask questions over the audio or in the chat window. “Chunk” your lecture into 5-10 minute sections in between questions or activities like polls, whiteboard, or breakout groups to keep attention and engagement higher.

Record the session or explore asynchronous options

In this time of continuity, you or your students may not be in the same time zone or may be unable to completely engage in the session due to illness, children at home, etc. Provide a recording of live sessions so everyone can catch up when they’re able. You may also consider using a blog or discussion board in Blackboard as an alternate form of discussion that students can respond to in their own time.

Technology for Online Teaching

Technology Guides 

Instructional Continuity Webpages 

The Instructional Continuity webpages have information and checklists for both students and faculty about how to transition to virtual learning. 

Faculty Guides to Blackboard

These step-by-step guides from the Instructional Technology Lab (ITL) cover a wide variety of functions needed to construct online activities. 

Collaborate Live Facilitator’s Guide and Collaborate Live Participant’s Checklist

These two guides walk through best practices on using Collaborate, Blackboard’s live conferencing tool for hosting synchronous class sessions. The facilitator’s guide gives guidance to instructors on preparing and hosting a Collaborate session, and the checklist shows participants steps to be a good learner in a live session.

Moving Class Online and Teaching with Technology Matrix

This document is a quick guide to getting started with teaching online, and includes a matrix of typical classroom activities (explaining concepts, having a discussion) and suggests tools to accomplish them online.  

Internet Slowdowns or Disruptions

Please be aware that as GW and other universities move to online instruction, most employers are also moving to telework, and most K12 students are at home using the internet for various activities. Given that we will be operating under unprecedented circumstances, it is essential to plan for the possibility of service degradation or interruption due to the load on the overall network. 

If you plan only to use synchronous communication to conduct classes, please develop a plan B in case your internet service at home is unable to connect to Blackboard Collaborate or WebEx during your class session. An alternate plan could be creating a Discussion Board for students to respond to questions asynchronously. Here is a guide on setting up a Discussion Board

If you experience this sort of interruption, don’t panic. Contact the GW Information Technology Support Center at (202) 994-4948, option 2, [email protected], or by submitting a support ticket. Support is available Monday - Friday, 7:00am - 10:00pm.

Remote Test Proctoring  

Respondus LockDown Browser (Free)

Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom web browser that works by locking down the testing environment within a Blackboard course. Instructors can choose to require the LockDown Browser for any existing deployed test in their course. When a student uses Respondus LockDown Browser, they are unable to print, copy, go to another website, or access any other applications on their computer. Once an assessment is started, students are locked into the test until it is submitted for grading. Exams are created on Blackboard and deployed using the Respondus LockDown setting (see tutorials below). Students can then test on their own devices by pre-downloading Respondus LockDown widget using a unique link.

Respondus Monitor is an add-on video monitoring service that uses the Respondus Lockdown Browser. It serves as a deterrent to students using secondary computers, phones, calculators, textbooks, or receiving assistance from other students. After a student has taken an exam, instructors can review sessions to check for any suspect behavior. Respondus Monitor is suitable for low or medium-stakes exams that require student monitoring. Students can use either an internal or external webcam with Respondus Monitor. 

Respondus Training Resources

Respondus Technical Support

All support requests from students should initially be directed to the instructor. If the instructor cannot resolve a problem, ticket-based support is available if you encounter an issue that cannot be resolved with the Knowledge Base or the in-application help systems. Respondus staff members generally respond to tickets within 24 hours, excluding weekends and U.S. holidays. 

The GW Instructional Technology Lab will assist with the Respondus Monitor in Blackboard.

Information for Students Using Respondus

  • Students must download the LockDown Browser from the unique to GW link.
  • Respondus LockDown browser only works on PCs, Macs, and iPads (chrome books and others are not supported.)
  • Students should ensure that portable computers are charged sufficiently and can last up to 3 hours on a battery charge during exam use.

Workshops and Training Sessions

Workshops 

Online workshops, conducted live on Collaborate Ultra, are available in multiple aspects of software needed for virtual learning. A special series on instructional continuity helps instructors make the transition to online learning. Registration is required

Teleconferenced School Training Sessions (Upon Request) 

The Instructional Core invites requests to provide teleconferenced training sessions to personnel from your school. Special requests should be made through [email protected]. One of our professionals will arrange for a session that suits your needs and schedule.

Collaborate Live After Hours Training Sessions 

The Instructional Core has created an after-hours training schedule to accommodate those who require it, especially adjunct faculty who may not be able to meet during the day. Registration is required.

Online Faculty Development Course

A self-guided training course on how to teach online has been revised and updated for use by everyone with instructor status in Blackboard (faculty and TAs). It is available on the MyBlackboard page under the heading “Special Use” as Online Faculty Development. The course has six modules, including online discussion, assignments, activities, media creation, and rubrics/grading ideas. Instructors are entered as students and are able to try several multiple choice tests, upload assignments, and see grades as students do. 

Making Your Online Course More Accessible

There are some easy steps to take to make your course more accessible. The easiest one is to ensure you’re including contact information in your course for the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) so students can request help should they need it. Here is a statement you can copy and paste into your Syllabus or into Blackboard:

Any student who may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) to inquire about the documentation necessary to establish eligibility, and to coordinate a plan of reasonable and appropriate accommodations.  For additional information, please call DSS at 202-994-8250, or consult disabilitysupport.gwu.edu.

DSS provides resources to help university faculty create inclusive, fully accessible course curricula. The Digital Accessibility Checklist provides a step-by-step plan to make improvements to the accessibility of online course materials.

Quick Guides to Accessible Content

The guides below have been adapted from the Portland Community College Accessibility Quick Guide. They are editable with Adobe Illustrator and licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Web Accessibility Guidelines

How to Make Accessible Powerpoint and Google Slides

How to Make Accessible Word and Google Documents

How to Make Accessible Complex Images

How to Make Accessible PDFs

How to Make Accessible Video and Audio

How to Make Accessible Math and Science

Linking to 3rd Party Online Materials

Using Automated Accessibility Checkers

Online Learning Resources for Students

Dr. Ryan Watkins, professor of educational leadership in GW's Graduate School of Education and Human Development shares strategies for students learning in online environments.