# Resources for alternative instruction delivery

Link to this page: keepteaching.math.illinois.edu

The purpose of this page is to provide a list of resources for teaching and working remotely. The page is still under construction, so be sure to check for updates regularly.

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# Message from the Chair: 3/12/20

Dear Colleagues,

This message concerns teaching and research collaboration in the department. There is a lot of information here. Please read carefully.

One quick note before we start: the most important thing that all of us should do is to lower expectations. We will all be working outside of our comfort zones and we are all being asked to try new delivery methods. If we can all just make it through the next couple of weeks without a significant degradation of instruction, that will count as a success.

The University has asked all instructors to be prepared to continue providing instruction as per:

Courses at each of our three universities will immediately begin migrating to online or alternative delivery mechanisms to provide the social distancing that helps limit transmission of the virus, with a goal of completion by March 23. Classes will be held at their currently scheduled times.

Please decide now how you would like to deliver the following elements of instruction, and familiarize yourself with the tools that you will need by Friday, March 20. Additional messages will be coming next week with requests for information as to how you plan to fulfill the stated requirement to migrate to alternative instructional methods.

# Lectures

These can be delivered either synchronously (e.g., Zoom) or asynchronously. However, CITL has officially discouraged synchronous methods for large lectures, and we are asking all instructors to have a plan for delivering lectures asynchronously. These lectures should contain both a visual component (e.g., slides, scanned notes/drawings) and an audio component (e.g., recorded voice). We ask each instructor to identify where they would post such lectures and post a sample five-minute lecture by the end of spring break.

One simple workflow would be as follows:

  1. Pre-record your lecture, using instructions found here: https://atlas.illinois.edu/teaching-online/how-do-i-put-my-lectures-online
  2. Post those lectures before class time (optimally, 24h ahead of time) in the standard location that you post course material
  3. Be available for questions and discussion during the regular course period using Zoom or other tools described in the “Keep Teaching” site

Obviously, one can do much more sophisticated deliveries, and if people are up for it, we encourage it! But this workflow is intended to be accessible to all of our instructors.

We encourage sharing during this process --- for example, instructors teaching the same course do not need to individually record their lectures, but can rotate and share in a manner that works for all.

# Office Hours

Instructors should offer students regular opportunities to have their questions answered. This can be via email, an online forum, or via individual or group synchronous online office hours.

# Homework

Instructors and graders should continue to collect, grade, and return homework. This can be done via email, or by setting up a box folder and letting students upload their assignments. We suggest setting up Box folders for all medium to large classes; see the Keep Teaching site for instructions on this. IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that FERPA regulations apply to course material: grades should not be communicated to students via email, and students should not have access to other students’ work and grades through access in a Box folder.

# Sections

TAs are expected to provide students regular opportunities for interactions. We strongly suggest that those times should comport as closely as is possible with the existing meeting times of the section --- the students will have to coordinate all of their courses and any changes in schedule will lead to cascades of conflicts. Instructors leading large lectures should decide now how they would like this to be accomplished by their own TAs.

# Exams

For any exams that were scheduled in the period March 23 --- April 3, instructors should decide now what to do for alternatives. Possibilities include giving a take-home exam, postponing the exam, or cancelling the exam. Obviously different courses will require different alternatives, and the instructors should make the best decision on this.

If the campus is closed for longer than this we will need to decide how to handle exams past April 3, and final exams, but for now we suggest deferring that question.

# Research Collaborations and Groups

University policy forbids in-class teaching and lecturing, and on-campus gatherings of more than 50 people. We recognize that there is a need for groups of faculty and students to work together on research projects and for group meetings. While there is no explicit prohibition against in-person meetings of this type, we ask everyone to be mindful of the need for social distancing in all aspects of our daily lives during this time period, and to consider whether meetings via Zoom, Skype or other online platforms may be suitable.

Thank you very much for your time and effort. We greatly appreciate your assistance in continuing to provide quality instruction to our students in these challenging circumstances.

Yours, Jeremy Tyson, Sue Tolman, Ely Kerman, Lee DeVille

# General Recommendations

CITL has several recommendations that apply specifically to the department. We highlight them below.

# Alternatives to face-to-face lectures

CITL provided several guidelines for alternatives to face-to-face lectures.


Please do not use synchronous tools like Zoom for classes larger than 150 students and only use such live sessions if you plan on interactive discussions (not pure lectures).

Instead, as an alternative to face-to-face lectures, we recommend either pre-recording lectures, or sharing notes.

# Synchronous session

Synchronous sections should be scheduled during regular class times

If you are going to plan to incorporate a required synchronous component to your remote teaching strategy, please make sure that you only use your regularly scheduled class times. This will help ensure students are available and will help balance the load on our systems.

# Equipment

Per Dean Hu's March 9th, 2020 email,

Web-ready devices

If you are currently teaching a course, you should ensure that you have a Web-ready laptop, desktop computer, or mobile device (with camera and microphone) suitable for streaming video and audio.

LAS is offering a limited number of laptops and desktops for use via from home via the ATLAS Share program. To obtain an ATLAS Share computer, please follow the instructions at https://atlas.illinois.edu/student-information/atlas-share.

# Learning Management Systems

Having a course in a learning management system allows instructors to easily:

  • Distribute course information to students
  • Distribute and collect assignments from students
  • Share course materials with students
  • Facilitate discussion with groups of students remotely
  • Permit students to take online tests and quizzes
  • Enable student collaboration

Campus currently supports two learning management systems: Blackboard and Moodle.

# Zoom for online lectures and meetings

Zoom can be used to:

  • Deliver online lectures
  • Meet with students online
  • Meet with other faculty and staff

It features clients for desktop and mobile devices, as well as the ability to record sessions.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is part of the Illinois Zoom Consortium, and as such has access to Zoom Pro licenses.

Here are some relevant Zoom links:

# Hosting videos

The university Mediaspace mediaspace.illinois.edu can be used to host videos. If possible, please how your videos there.

# Submitting content

This site is hosted on the departmental GitLab server: git.math.illinois.edu. To submit changes, you can fork the repository and submit a merge request, or send an email to keepteaching@math.illinois.edu.

Last Updated: 3/30/2020, 11:19:50 AM