Online course planning survey: Meeting students where they are today


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This morning I awoke to a frenzy of fantastic posts and tips in the various higher education groups I follow. What a wonderful community to belong to! So many people are stepping up, offering their services and expertise, encouraging knowledge sharing, and creating virtual collaborative settings where everyone can contribute. I will continue to play my small part by wading through the clutter and pulling out the information I think is most valuable to WSU faculty in the process of moving their in-person classes online.

One post on that struck me immediately today was from two professors at Elon University – the idea of creating and distributing an Online Course Planning Survey.

This is a simple concept but I like it. WSU faculty have access to Qualtrics or you can use Google Forms. Either one works and most students are comfortable with both tools. With this form, you can get a better idea of where your students are with access to technology, select software, streaming bandwidth, wi-fi access, and access to hardware (laptop, tablet, etc.). Here is an example form created in Google Forms that was shared on the #AEJMC Facebook group by Elon University communication professors Amanda Sturgill and Naeemah Clark:

Some questions you might want to include:

  • What devices do you have access to at home?
  • Will you have consistent access to high-speed Internet connection?
  • Will you have consistent access to a computer that you can install course-mandated software?
  • What video streaming services do you have access to?
  • How do you prefer to learn? Video conference with discussion? Recorded lectures? Written documents? Discussion board?
  • Do you have issues with technology I should be aware of (for example color blindness or challenges hearing)?

Once you create your survey you can access your Blackboard course space and send the link to your students via email or create an announcement. If you have not yet set up Blackboard, you can access your roster in myWSU, send a note to all students, and copy the link there.

This post is part of Rebecca L. Cooney’s Online Teaching Tips series. Check out more tips in the “Online Teaching Tips” category.

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