Preparing for COVID19

The following information has been prepared to assist faculty preparation in times of emergency – such as disruptions due to prolonged inclement weather or a pandemic. Please review these steps in the event you find yourself needing to quickly pivot course materials for online distribution to students.

TRU’s Learning Technology and Innovation team is available for support and to answer any questions you may have. You can connect with the Moodle Help Desk at moodlesupport@tru.ca or Brian Lamb, the Director at blamb@tru.ca.

Faculty and staff in the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) are also available to provide limited support to faculty in easing the transition to remote teaching. Please contact celt@tru.ca with questions related to communicating with students, course content, and assessment.

  • If you have not logged in to Moodle or requested Moodle shells for your courses yet this semester, please do so ASAP. Moodle will be the supported platform for online learning in the event of a campus shutdown. Course creation is currently a manual process. Use the Requesting a Course link at the bottom of your Moodle site (or click this link, login required).
  • Gather materials for the rest of the semester in the event that you will need to post them online. PDFs or DOC and PPT files of lecture notes and course slides are a good place to start. Please note DOC and PPT files are more widely accessible for those students using screen readers.
  • In the event of a complete campus shutdown, Learning Technology & Innovation will not be able to guarantee consistent support of synchronous online learning, and the expectation that students will be able to login at specific times places an undue burden on them. Plan for material to be delivered asynchronously (i.e. not “live”) and consider using discussion forums to replace class discussions.
  • Many students may only have access to mobile platforms (i.e. smartphones) to access course materials, and internet access varies widely among students. Please refrain from relying heavily on video or other large file-sizes to communicate essential course content.
  • Although we recommend asynchronous learning and remind you of the importance to limit file sizes for course content, videoconferencing will be made available within Moodle using BigBlueButton after Tuesday, March 17 after a necessary upgrade that will allow for a session to be initiated as a Moodle “activity type”. Please practice with BigBlueButton before attempting to use it to communicate with students. Remember that students may not be able to connect at an appointed time, so consider pre-recording your sessions (they will auto-post to Moodle if you do) and provide all video content in an alternative format (i.e. slides or notes) as well.
  • In the event of a complete campus shutdown, Learning Technology & Innovation will not be able to guarantee the support of a secured browsing experience for final exams. Please plan for final exams to be open-book or consider another final assessment option.
  • If you are not currently using the Moodle Gradebook, continue managing grades as you usually do. Final grades can be communicated to students by the creation of a single manual grade item, or the standard grade submission portal.
  • Please remember that students and staff alike may all be in the position of attempting to care for sick loved ones or themselves during this time. Please plan for flexibility in deadlines and response times.

Short screencasts and documentation in support of the above practices will be available in the COVID-19 Preparedness Moodle shell, to which all faculty will be given access. The discussion forum in that Moodle shell will also provide faculty with the opportunity to offer peer-led support in the event that Moodle Support is overwhelmed with demand.

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