Below is a text-only version of the August 2020 Faculty Commons Newsletter.


What to do this week (August 10 – 14)

  • Submit requests for live, asynchronous exam proctoring by August 17th.
  • Building your course in Canvas
    • Check that your course has been set up correctly in Canvas. Here’s how.
    • Consider the pacing of your Canvas course. Will students see all the modules of your course when they log in or do you want to post modules as they are relevant? One option is to create prerequisite modules to direct students pacing in your Canvas course. Learn how to publish modules and create prerequisite content to control student access to course modules.
    • Enhance the sense of instructor presence by planning regular announcements. Many instructors post announcements weekly to check in with their class, highlight the week’s tasks, and elicit questions from students. Announcements can also be added as a feature to your course’s home page so that students can see your most recent updates. You can even schedule the posting of your announcements in advance!
    • Create a welcome page. Many instructors create a landing page for students with basic information about the course, an instructor bio, and recent announcements. Remember that students will be accessing almost all their courses in Canvas, so you want it to be clear which course they are visiting. Leverage the UD Fall Canvas template in Canvas Commons to quickly style your course and its home page.
    • Add a librarian to your course in the role of Resource Assistant to help you design content surrounding research, digital scholarship, or multimedia project support.
    • Incorporate Getting Started content in your course. Link to the UD Online Student Orientation to familiarize your students with the online modality.
    • Consider using the Syllabus page to make it easy for your students to locate your course syllabus.
  •  Save the date for Keep Calm & Teach On(line), August 13th, 18th and 19th!

What to do next week (August 17 – 21)

  • Check for accessibility in your Canvas course.
    • Review text in Canvas. Make sure you are using consistent text formatting, including headers, for easy reading and accessibility.
    • Review closed captions and transcriptions produced by UD Capture videos and make sure they are available to your students.
    • Use the Ally accessibility checker in Canvas to make sure images, PDFs, and other files are accessible.


July 31 Town Hall Highlights

5 tips for online learning

  • Have a communication plan.
    • Create a welcome video that sets the tone for the semester, lays out when, where, and how students will get further information. Use this as a first opportunity to connect with your students.
    • Create a general Q&A discussion forum in Canvas. Ask students to post general course questions about assignments, accessing materials, etc… Let students know when you will be checking in there, and what your expectations are for them answering each other’s questions.
    • Create a brief orientation video for the course and how you’ll use Canvas. You may even want to send this to students prior to the start of the semester so that they become familiar with necessary tools.
  • Establish presence.
    • Purposefully use multiple means of communication e.g., synchronous and asynchronous, video, text. Give students a sense of who you are, and give them an opportunity to do the same.
  • When appropriate, meet synchronously.
    • Think about course goals that are best met through discussion. Let students know what to expect during any synchronous meetings, and set expectations for how they will engage.
  • Promote student networking opportunities.
    • Create ways for students to work together, or to chat or message informally. This is especially important in larger courses. There are many platforms you can use for this, some of which students are already familiar with (such as Google Docs).
  • You’re not alone; Faculty Commons has many resources already available like the Teaching Online webpages and the Virtual Welcome Bar.

Watch the recording.


August 7 Town Hall Highlights

This Town Hall featured a presentation on engaging students online by Beth Morling.

Watch the recording.

Next meeting: August 14

Submit your questions for the next Town Hall.

See what questions have already been answered.



Encourage your students to visit the Tech at UD site

The Tech at UD website includes important information about devices and tools and resources available to students during their time spent at UD. It also provides instruction on how students can receive Tech Support, if needed.

Communicating with your students about online learning

At the most recent Academic Operations Town Hall, it was suggested that faculty send students an email prior to the start of the semester outlining how they can be most successful in your courses. We’ve updated our March document about communication to include language that you can cut-and-paste directly into your own emails to students.

 Content Chunking

Ever wondered what the appropriate length of a module or video is? Watch this short video explaining the concept of chunking and how to apply it in designing your online course

 Leaning into virtual learning: Taking advantage of digital products

With most courses moving online this fall, projects like videos, data visualizations, podcasts, and digital exhibits or websites, may be more useful than ever.


Request Materials to Pick Up from the Library

Through the new Library Pickup Service, UD students, faculty and staff can request books, DVDs, video games and multimedia equipment to check out and pick up from Morris Library. Items from Morris Library, the Chemistry Library, the Physics Library and the Education Resource Center can be requested in support of research, instruction or recreation. All requests must be submitted in advance through the “Get This For Me!” button in the Library’s catalog or through the Retrieval Request Form. We know it’s not the same as hunkering down in the stacks, but did you know that when looking for materials, you can virtually browse the shelves to find related content? Here’s how. You’ll be notified by email when your requested items are ready to be picked up. Once notified, you can retrieve your items between 1-5 p.m., Monday through Friday, from the entrance of Morris Library. Bring your UD ONEcard to pick up your items, and be sure to wear a mask or cloth face covering!


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