Remote Learning and Teaching

Bowdoin offers and supports a variety of tools that enable courses to continue when students are unable to attend class for an extended period of time or in the event that classes are cancelled unexpectedly due to weather or other disruptive circumstances.

Bowdoin’s Academic Technology & Consulting group provides tips and guidance in the event that you need to move your classes online due to unforeseen circumstances. If you need more help than you find here, contact Academic Technology and Consulting and our staff will find the support and expertise you need.

Use Blackboard as a central meeting point

Blackboard is Bowdoin's web-based course and organization management system. It provides many services and tools to faculty and students, including course web pages, discussion boards, and photo rosters. Additionally, Blackboard contains tools that can assist faculty in managing a course or enhancing learning activities with features, including an electronic grade center, online exams and surveys, assignment submission tools, and blogs, private journals, and wikis. Contact: Jennifer Snow

Sharing course materials

Log into Blackboard: blackboard.bowdoin.edu
Getting Started: Blackboard Getting Started Tips
Access my courses: Under Semester Courses, you will find the list of courses that you are teaching in Spring 2020 as well as the list of courses that you taught in previous semesters.
Make my courses available: Beneath the course menu in the left-hand column locate Customization in the Control Panel under Course Management. Click the down arrow to expand the options and choose Properties. In the Set Availability section, choose Yes. Click Submit.
Post my syllabus, readings, lecture notes, etc.: In a section (e.g. Syllabus), click the down arrow on the Build Content button. Choose Create Item. Give your content a name and scroll down to the Attachments section. Browse your computer for the file to attach. Click Submit.
Send emails to my students: Click the Send Email link on the left-hand menu. Choose who to send the email to: All Users, All Student Users, Single/Select Users and then draft your email. Click Submit to send it. Alternatively, you may also use your class email list from Polaris.

Recording presentations and making them available

There are a number of situations where you may want to pre-record a presentation for your students. This is a two-step process; capturing your presentation and then uploading it to Ensemble for student viewing.  

Recording your screen-based presentation

If you want to record a screen-based presentation, also known as a "screencast," you have a few options depending on the computer your are using. These can be used to capture a single application (e.g. Keynote or PowerPoint), or your entire desktop.
Apple macOS You can record your screen and voice using Apple QuickTime. View the QuickTime tutorial.
Microsoft Windows You can record your Windows screen, or a portion of it, as well as your voice with Microsoft Power Point.
Watch the LinkedIn Learning video on how to do this.

 

Recording your in-class or at-home presentation

If you want to record yourself or your classroom while giving a lecture, covering material, or having a discussion, you will need a camera ("webcam") and microphone or a computer that has one built-in. The following tools are available to help you capture and edit the video before making it available.
Apple macOS Video and audio can be recorded using your webcam with QuickTime. Minor edits can also be made with QuickTime; more in-depth editing can be accomplished using iMovie.
Microsoft Windows Microsoft Teams can be used to capture a presentation and participants.

 

Making your recording available to your students

You can upload your recorded audio and video to Ensemble to make it available to your students. Ensemble is integrated with Blackboard, which makes the process of getting the content to your students easier. You can also give them direct links to the video using the tools within Ensemble.
Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows Upload recorded audio and video to Ensemble and make that video available in your Blackboard course.
Note: The video shows the steps using an Apple macOS but the process is the same on a Windows PC.


* There are a number of other places you can host video and if you have something that is working for you, feel free to use it. We recomend Ensemble as videos uploaded there can be protected and limited to your students, they provide dynamic streaming based on the Internet connection of the person viewing it, and you can also attach subtitles and captions to your materials.

Enabling remote participation in your on-campus classroom session

To enable one or many students to attend your in-person class remotely we recomend Microsoft Teams. It has video, audio, chat, whiteboard, screen sharing, and a number of other features. It is a flexible and reliable tool for enabling remote participation. It is available on both Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows and is pre-installed on classroom computers. Video sharing requires a video camera (or webcam). You should check your classroom and familiarize yourself with how the camera works with Teams before your class session.

Option Get Started
Teams course site

Each course has a dedicated Teams course site that is already populated with the faculty and students. Learn more about activating your Teams course.

Add a direct link to your team in Blackboard

In the team click the ... and choose Get link to team. A window will open with a URL. Copy it.

Go to Blackboard, enter your course, and go into a section from the left-hand menu. Choose Build Content and then Create Web Link. Provide a name, paste the link, and click Submit.


Students without cameras can still participate in remote sessions. They can see and hear you, but you will not be able to see them. They will have to install Microsoft Teams on the computer they are using. (Link to office365?)

This option is not recomended if you have more than 12-15 students in your class. The audio may not get picked up adequately in a large noisy room for remote students to hear well. Consider recording the session and making it available online for remote students.

Hosting virtual and live sessions so you can interact with your students remotely

If you want to host your entire class remotely or have virtual office hours, you can use Microsoft Teams. The College has a site-wide license to use Teams for video, audio, chat, whiteboard, screen sharing, and general group organizational purposes. It is a very flexible tool with a lot of easy to use features for remote participation, including recording video sessions. It is available on both Apple macOS and Microsoft Windows and is pre-installed on College provided computers.

Option Get Started
Teams course site

Each course has a dedicated Teams course site that is already populated with the faculty and students. Learn more about activating your Teams course.

Create video meeting with Teams Quick Tutorial
Host virtual office hours with Teams Quick Tutorial
Add a direct link to your team in Blackboard

In the team click the ... and choose Get link to team. A window will open with a URL. Copy it.

Go to Blackboard, enter your course, and go into a section from the left-hand menu. Choose Build Content and then Create Web Link. Provide a name, paste the link, and click Submit.


Students without cameras can still participate in remote sessions. They can see and hear your, you just won't be able to see them. They will have to install Microsoft Teams on the computer they are using.

Encouraging interaction and engagement asynchronously

Blackboard offers a variety of tools that you can enable to encourage interaction and engagement amongst your students.

Blackboard Tool Get Started
Create Announcements: Add Announcements to the left-hand menu via the Tool Link. Then choose Create Announcement, enter your message, choose the date/time restrictions, and click Submit to share it with your students.
Discussion Boards:

Quick Tips for setting up the Discussion Board

Quick Tutorial

Blogs, Private Journals, and Wikis ... Instructions forthcoming

Posting assignments and administering quizzes and exams via Blackboard

With Blackboard, you can create assignments and students can submit them. Additionally, you can administer quizzes and exams with timed features and exceptions for students requesting accommodations.

Blackboard Tool Get Started
Assignments:

Quick Tips (includes student submission steps)

Create Assignments: Quick Tutorial

Downloaded the submitted assignments: Quick Tutorial

Grade the submitted assignments online via Blackboard's grade center: Quick Tips

Create Quizzes and Exams Quick Tips for creating tests and quizzes in Blackboard (Courtesy: The University of Kansas)
Manage Grades To use the Blackboard grade center, contact Jennifer Snow.

Accessing software and systems remotely

Many Bowdoin systems and software are available online both on- and off-campus, including Blackboard, Polaris, Voyant, etc. However, there are a number of tools that are only available via Bowdoin's Virtual Private Network (VPN) or for on-campus use in computer labs. 

Some important systems that are limited to keep in mind and their requirements

  • High Performance Compute (HPC) is available via VPN
  • JupyterHub is available via VPN
  • Course folders on the Microwave are available via VPN
  • ArcGIS is only available via a virtual workstation by request from faculty.
  • Stata and SPSS are offering their software for free until the end of May.

It is also important to remember not all students have the same computer type (Mac or Windows PC) and they often rely on College computers in computer labs to access software to complete their assignments.