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Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

  • 1.  Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-17-2020 23:52
    Right before my campus (California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB)) announced the switch to "alternate modalities" I had sent out a Google form to my students to assess their concerns about possibly moving to an online class. I teach an introductory psychology class to mostly 1st and 2nd year students and I teach two sections of capstone for seniors about to graduate. Below I list some of the concerns that they noted. I am keeping these concerns in mind as I make the switch to online. Here are some of their concerns:

    1. I'm worried I'll procrastinate more than I already do.
    2. Will all the due dates be the same across my classes?
    3. I'm worried I'll forget when assignments are due.
    4. I find myself distracted when taking online courses.
    5. I hope you'll still have office hours.
    6. How will we work with others in the class?

    What are your thoughts about how you might address these concerns or others you think your students might have? I'm hoping to on put together another Google form this week to ask students' more questions about their thoughts and feelings about our courses. We start up again on March 23.

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    Jennifer Dyer-Seymour
    California State University, Monterey Bay
    Seaside CA
    831-582-3533
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  • 2.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-18-2020 14:18
    That's really interesting and helpful. I hadn't thought about some of these specific various anxieties that the students might be having and this will help me to think about how to structure my own classes as I take them online. t's great to have data on things like this. 

    I think procrastination is going to be a problem for students and faculty alike. Based on this, I think what I'll probably try to do is to break up the assignments a lot to try to keep them on-task more. I think one of the benefits of online teaching is that you can break the assignments up more readily. I'll try to have several little parts to assignments and maybe smaller and more frequent assessments, each with their own due date. The nice thing is too that maybe we can be a little flexible in due dates on some of the assignments. 

    Based on your survey, it also seems incumbent on us to be as clear about due dates with lots of different reminders. One thing that has helped me in the past when doing it online is to make sure I send out an email every day, in the morning oftentimes just touching base on things that are coming up and due in the short- and long-term, in addition to talking about whatever happens to be going on in the class at the time. 

    That's great that you have students who want to come to office hours. I can't say I've ever had that problem of having too many students wanting to come! That's one area where I think if you do Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate, that it could be readily available for the students that avail themselves of it. 

    My bet, although I have no data on it- is that if you set up the groups to work together, they will be able to work amongst themselves to communicate via text/social media/etc. 

    Thanks for sharing!

    ------------------------------
    Matthew Mulvaney
    Dr.
    Syracuse University
    Syracuse NY
    315-443-5654
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  • 3.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-18-2020 18:26
    Hi Matthew,

    Good point about breaking things up into smaller chunks. I'm definitely going to be doing that. And I like your idea about setting up groups of students to work together. I typically have teams of 5 but I'm thinking I'll need to increase that number because people will have all sorts of responsibilities and who knows when they'll be able to get online - if they can even get online reliably.

    jen

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Dyer-Seymour
    California State University, Monterey Bay
    Seaside CA
    831-582-3533
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-31-2020 07:54
    Hi Matthew,

    Thanks for these suggestions.  I like the idea of regular communication with my students.  I  assumed they would look at the course web page regularly, but that may not always be the case.  I decided to send a weekly email on Mondays ("Martha's Monday Motivator") laying out the topics and tasks due that week. 

    Students are responding to this situation in various ways, but one coping strategy has been to withdraw.  Those are the students we really need to keep our eye on.  If they aren't accessing course materials in a timely manner, faculty at Colby are encouraged to alert folks in the dean's office.


    ------------------------------
    Martha Arterberry
    Professor
    Colby College
    Waterville ME
    207-859-5553
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  • 5.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-18-2020 16:57
    Jennifer and Matthew,

    Thank you for starting the ball rolling on this. I will add a few things here. First, students are seriously concerned that their world will change forever! Some think the world is coming to an end. So the more communication we have with our students the better. Hearing nothing right now is seriously disconcerting. So even if you are saying; "working on a new syllabus for remote classroom, will be in touch no later than..."--turns out to be hugely helpful. Students are so worried about being disconnected. 

    Second, I am asking my classes to tell me what would be helpful for them in terms of online classes. They may suggest things we haven't thought of. For example, my students suggested small group video chats--because large numbers can get unwieldy. 

    Third, procrastination is something we all do--thanks Matthew for making that clear-- :). I set up weekly tasks that build up to the final project--in my case it is a  final research project and paper. But I give them points for turning these tasks in on time--it gives a buffer for grades but also keeps them on task. They get points for the task no matter what (e.g., 10 pts for outline of an introduction section). I grade based on larger assignments.  

    Finally, I decided for this semester to throw out some requirements--they just seemed too overwhelming for me and students to accomplish in a meaningful way. I gave up a couple of chapters in a text book; my thinking was: "Would I rather my students leave my class with a solid understanding of birth to adolescents or a diluted understanding of birth to death?" Sometimes it's better to intensify a limited focus than to provide a shallow and hurried examination of a lot of topics. I say this because now students are working under cognitive load--a lot emotionally and cognitively to think about outside of school. 

    In the end, we are their connection to a better world and the steady foundation during a rocky time. E-learning is the way to provide security and consistency, making students feel safe. We are helping to provide the infrastructure for a sane and productive civilization. Let's bring our students along in our mission. 

    Breckie

    R.B. Church
    Professor Psychology
    Director NIH MARC Program
    Director NSF Science of LearningThe role of gesture in mathematics learning: From research to practice
    Coordinator for Program Assessment Assessment Information 
    Bernard J. Brommel Distinguished Research Professor


    ------------------------------
    Ruth Church
    Dr.
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Chicago IL
    773-442-5837
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-18-2020 17:43
    Jenn, Mathew, and Ruth, was in zoom meetings with various psych department groups this meeting about delivering remote instruction.  In addition to your great points, we have several concerns:
    1.  Equity issues.  Students and faculty will need high speed Internet to be able to zoom or use Canvas conferencing, and especially for students who are going home, this may not be a possibility.  Even for faculty it depends on where we live, many of us pay for high speed internet but don't get it because of connectivity issues.  If you are a renter, other options may have to be vetted by our landlord.  So, remote teaching and learning will be a challenge for many, and especially, low-income, first gen students who may not have a computer and access to a library with public use computers.
    2.  An additional issue about equity is that canvas is not set up for universal learning, so giving extra time on tests to students who have learning differences is not possible--or least faculty who have tried it thus far on Canvas or Zoom following the instructions weren't able to get it to work; our teaching center and Instructional Technology are trying to figure out how to make individual modifications for students with accommodations.  The same goes for faculty and students who are parents and must now accommodate to having children are home who need them and still deliver instruction.
    3. Even if we have connectivity, the network may crash if everyone is using zoom (or another version) at the same time.
    4. In our research university, if undergraduate research assistants go home, then access to data that would normally be restricted to labs and encrypted computers would be compromised.  Many laptops or desktops do not have the capability of being encrypted.  I am the chair of the IRB so spent most of Sunday figuring compromises out.

    These are just a few of the issues that came up, with the broader issue being that our campus (and others) are gearing up for remote instruction very quickly, and most of us faculty and the infrastructure of the systems we have are not in place for such scaling up...and many of us are not very technologically competent.

    Margarita Azmitia, UC-Santa Cruz

    ------------------------------
    Margarita Azmitia
    Dr.
    University of California at Santa Cruz
    Santa Cruz CA
    831-459-3146
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  • 7.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-18-2020 18:23
    Hi Margarita (I'm saying hello from across town :))

    Absolutely, we have got to consider the whole landscape here and there will be great variation in people's tech skills and access to technology. We most certainly will not get it just right, but our efforts in that direction will serve us even after this challenge. I'm thinking about what can be done on phones only (knowing that there will be issues there as well.) Wireless carriers are offering increased or unlimited data during this time.

    As for tests - you highlight one of the many issues associated with tests, and that is serving students with disabilities who have accommodations. I know how to set up the controls in Moodle, but not Canvas or Zoom. Perhaps someone else can respond who has experience with those platforms. As for timing for parents - it's a big issue. I know I will be setting up assessments to be due over a period of days. I'll be breaking them up into chunks so students can work on just a little at a time.

    jen

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Dyer-Seymour
    California State University, Monterey Bay
    Seaside CA
    831-582-3533
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-18-2020 18:25
    Edited by Angela Chow 03-18-2020 18:28
    Jenn, Mathew, Breckie, and Margarita,

    Thanks a lot for sharing! I asked my students their concerns for all classes turn online. In addition to internet connectivity, I had students living in a different time zone. It would be difficult for them to attend a live online class which would be 5 am at their time. Any suggestions?

    Thanks a lot!

    Angela




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    Angela Chow
    Indiana University - Bloomington

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  • 9.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-20-2020 00:34
    Hi Angela, 

    I was thinking about the same thing as well as connectivity issues for some students getting online because they live in remote areas. Because of this, I've decided to have an asynchronous class. I will post a lesson at 9a on Monday mornings and students will have different parts of it due throughout the week. My lesson will include a short video of me discussing the purpose and outcomes of the lesson, a resource for students to use (video/podcast/reading) and short quizzes and assignments.

    What are you thinking about doing to address the different time zone issue?

    jen

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Dyer-Seymour
    California State University, Monterey Bay
    Seaside CA
    831-582-3533
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 04-04-2020 11:23
    Hi Margarita. Canvas does have a way to give students extra time or attempts on a quiz, but the feature is not obvious. If you click on a particular quiz link, there should be a button that says "Moderate This Quiz." Note that this is on the main quiz page; you don't need to actually edit the quiz - which is why I took me a long time to figure it out! When you click the Moderate button, you should see a list of all students. You can click the pen icon to edit time, attempts, etc. for individual students. At least this is how it works at my university. I don't know if there are variations at different institutions. The only hassle is that you have to do this for every assignment individually. I always have to double-check that I've made the accommodation for all assignments because I have lots of low-stakes quizzes rather than a few large exams.

    ------------------------------
    Heather Kirkorian, Ph.D.
    Laura M. Secord Chair in Early Childhood Development
    Associate Professor | Human Development & Family Studies
    School of Human Ecology | University of Wisconsin-Madison
    4105 Nancy Nicholas Hall | 1300 Linden Drive
    Madison, WI 53706
    kirkorian@wisc.edu | 608-263-4020
    https://sites.google.com/site/kirkorianlab/
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-18-2020 18:11
    Hi Breckie,

    Yes, yes, and yes. I think most of the work I'll do over the next three weeks especially and maybe for the rest of the term will be communication to support students during this time. And I like your point about choosing to focus on some things more deeply rather than trying to "cover" a lot in a shallow way. 

    jen

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Dyer-Seymour
    California State University, Monterey Bay
    Seaside CA
    831-582-3533
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-19-2020 11:01
    Hi everyone,

    Equity is a serious issue--Chicago is trying to open up internet access but many of my students have only phone access--I have not figured out how to deal with that!!

    Internet was supposed to address non-equity but there are some issues. I would hate for this crisis to support "The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer". 

    To add to this mess, my students are losing income and jobs. So we have to be mindful of this reality. 

    As for different time zones--maybe communicating with students in the same time zone--at a reasonable time-- would work. 

    My first step will be to see what kind of access my students have -- this conversation has helped me think through some things--so thank you all!

    Breckie

    ------------------------------
    Ruth Church
    Dr.
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Chicago IL
    773-442-5837
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-25-2020 12:29
    Many of my students are struggling with these same issues. A good chunk don't have laptop/desktop computers, so will be relying on their phones/tablets for their classes from here on out since they won't have access to the library. Even small things like what appears on the Canvas homepage looks different if you are using the app (as opposed to a web browser).

    I'm not doing anything synchronously -- in addition to the stress it might put on students, it puts too much stress on me.

    ------------------------------
    Jasmine DeJesus
    UNC Greensboro
    jmdejes2@uncg.edu
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-25-2020 12:59
    Hi Jasmine,

    I hear you!!  I am interested in how you will then deal with assignments--maybe this suggests that multiple choice assignments --which are more doable on a phone work better than written assignments. 

    There may be places where students can get WiFi--like the parking lot in McDonald's, Starbucks or the local library--if these places keep their WiFi going even if closed. Here in Chicago there has been a large effort to make WiFi available as I just described. 

    Any ideas about that anyone? I have an intensive capstone paper that I am requiring--I am hoping that my students have a computer to work on.

    Stay healthy everyone!

    Breckie

    ------------------------------
    Breckie (Ruth) Church
    Professor
    Northeastern Illinois University
    Chicago IL
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Students' concerns about suddenly switching to online

    Posted 03-29-2020 19:40

    Hi Everyone!

    I am using many of these strategies as well. Like Matt, I'm breaking the content into smaller chunks than I normally would and making recorded lectures asynchronous. Students have already commented that they like these small lecture segments and the ability to pause or go back. I am not changing any portions of their grade in any major way--I don't think that is fair. However, they were already graded on attendance and so I am making "attention check" questions (taken as quizzes in Canvas) their attendance grade for our 2 meetings each week based based on their viewing of the short lecture segments. I hope this motivates students to not procrastinate. I am also making modules in Canvas which have each task for the week and all resources in one place. We used to meet Monday and Wednesday, but everything is now due Sunday night for students who may have taken on new responsibilities during the work week.

    Also like Matt, I'm sending lots of reminders and notes to students. A nice feature of the Announcements in Canvas is that you can set them to post at a later date so you can create those for the week and not have to remember to send the reminders later!

    I have asked several times for students to let me know if they have issues with connectivity and accessing the content and I have not heard from anyone (I only have one small class this semester). I really hope that means they are all set, but I do wonder if they really are. However, if they have issues connecting, clearly they may not be getting my messages! And our dean is telling us that the students on our small campus are having difficulty with lack of study space at home, financial worries, etc. I wonder how others are addressing students who you are just not hearing from? 

    Virginia



    ------------------------------
    Virginia Tompkins
    The Ohio State University-Lima
    Lima OH
    567-242-6537
    ------------------------------