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Academic Continuity for Faculty & Staff

What is Academic Continuity?

Academic Continuity refers to the continuation of academic services and support at NOVA through the use of instructional technology tools and online teaching & learning strategies during an emergency event or extended college closure. Help your students succeed by being proactive and knowing what to do during an emergency and how to do it.

Tips for effectively communicating with students online: 

  • Be consistent with the digital tool selected for online communications, and be sure to post this information in a prominent location, such as the Syllabus page in Canvas
  • Set expectations for how students should engage in the communication, including how they should contact the instructor. 
  • Set expectations with students for how quickly the instructor will respond to online communication.

Delivering a Virtual Lecture

There are many ways in which instructors can host lectures with their students, either synchronously or asynchronously with tools provided by the VCCS.  For a virtual, synchronous meeting Zoom web conferencing is a great solution.  In a Zoom meeting, both instructors and students can share audio, video and screen presentations.  There is also an option for the host of a Zoom video to record the session, which can be saved and posted to Canvas after the session ends. 

To optimize your synchronous Zoom lecture, we recommend: 

  • Use headphones or earbuds with a microphone to minimize surrounding noise and maximize your voice.
  • In your Zoom settings, opt to Mute Participants upon entry into the meeting.  As the host of the meeting, instructors are able to mute and unmute participants at any point. 
  • As the host of the meeting, instructors can turn on the Breakout Rooms  feature in Zoom settings for group discussions. In a Breakout Room, instructors can split a large class meeting into separate rooms for small groups of students to work collaboratively.  

As you begin transitioning your course materials online for remote instruction, please consider the following:

  • Communicate with your students early and often. Demonstrate that you are present with the students in a meaningful way.
  • Focus on learning outcomes even if you need to adjust specific activities that contribute to those outcomes. Keep students moving forward.
  • Prioritize course activities and focus on delivering the ones with the most significant impact on learning outcomes.
  • Maintain normal course scheduling as much as possible. Try to hold synchronous activities during the normally scheduled campus class time, to avoid putting students in the difficult position of having to choose between simultaneous activities for different classes.
  • Convert synchronous activities into asynchronous activities to ease scheduling challenges, as long as the new asynchronous activity promotes the same learning outcomes.
  • Rearrange course activities if needed to delay specific activities where face-to-face interaction is crucial. 
  • Replace physical resources with digital resources or OER where possible. Remember that some students who are not on campus may not have access to all of their course resources.
  • Use NOVA supported tools and commonly used resources that are readily available and familiar to you and your students.

Giving Tests Remotely

Need to give a test while teaching remotely? The best tool is CANVAS, and it supports all kinds of test formats and grading schemes. You will have access to two other tools to help you, but they only work in CANVAS.In CANVAS you can set a time limit and lock down the student browser with Respondus LockDown Browser. If you want to actually have a proctored exam, in CANVAS you can also use Respondus Monitor. With Respondus Monitor you get the results to review for possible cheating. The results are ranked to help you know which students might have issues to look at. Note that no one is monitoring the exams for you! 

Below are four documents to help you (online training will be provided too):

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