Information for Teaching Faculty

Teaching Questions

In addition to the questions and answers below, information regarding teaching and learning is available on the Teach Anywhere website (a website for NIC Instructors to support them with teaching and learning via digital formats).

Blended includes: Both Digital Delivery Unscheduled or Scheduled and In Person

Scheduled meeting times. Fixed Start/End Dates. Blended courses are partially held through in- class, on-campus learning and partially digital. In-class learning is scheduled, and the digital learning is done independently following instructor expectations and due dates.

Unscheduled, Digital Learning Delivery, Fixed Start/End Dates. Unscheduled courses only use digital formats. Student learning is done independently following an organized set of content and activities. Sometimes there may be an optional live online gathering for office hours, review sessions or group activities following instructor expectations and due dates.

Scheduled, Digital Learning Delivery, Fixed Start/End Dates. Scheduled courses only use digital formats. They include scheduled live online class times are at specific times according to the published schedule. Student learning follows instructor expectations and due dates.

If the learning outcomes (or equivalent) for your course require in-person manipulation of 3 dimensional objects (e.g., sculpture, welding, medical equipment) and cannot be achieved in any other way, you will be assigned a Blended designation. All other courses will be conducted digitally in either Unscheduled or Scheduled formats; you do have choice over whether to use U or S formats. If you choose S, video contact hours need to be conducted during your regularly assigned class time, except for office hours. Work with your department chair or director and dean to ensure that you have the correct designation.

No. In the interests of safety and clarity only the three digital options: Blended, Unscheduled and Scheduled will be available in Fall 2020 and Winter 2021.

The Unscheduled format does not allow for required video conferencing classes or sessions.  Drop-in video conference times, like regular office hours, are recommended.  You may also want to include voluntary study sessions and tutorials, mini lectures, or group work via video conference. In these cases, however, you will need to provide a recording or other alternative activity for students who are unable to attend your video conference sessions. 

If you are planning to record a session with live students, you should notify students and allow them the choice of turning off their video or turning off their display name.

Any video conference activity or other required attendance activity, other than office hours, must take place during your assigned meeting times.

No. Use the scheduled time as you see fit. Uses may include, for example, mini lectures, group work, or reading followed by discussion using a single video conference room or breakout rooms. If you want to show videos, it is advisable to give the video links to students, then close the video conference room after giving student a specific time to return and have them watch on their own.

There are many teaching and learning sessions and training handouts provided by the Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation. See the Teach Anywhere page for the current listing.  Most of the emphasis in sessions and handouts is on platforms supported by NIC: Blackboard Learn – course learning platform, BlueJeans – web/video conferencing platform, Kaltura – video streaming and storage platform, and WordPress – blogging and website platform. Other sessions are devoted to pedagogies, digital practices, course design and supporting students. 

You have a large task ahead of you. The first thing to keep in mind is that you are translating your already successful courses into a digital format for delivery. You are not developing robust online learning courses with lots of media and interactions. There will be a Course Re-Design Sprint, running from August 18-21 to help you focus your development work (send email to ctli@nic.bc.ca to register). In addition, self-directed versions of the Sprint material will be placed on the Teach Anywhere website under “Course Design” tab when they become available.   If you are new to the College or are teaching a course for the first time ask your department chair for a copy of the relevant Authorized Course Description and attend the Sprint if possible to help get you up to speed quickly.

If you are new to the College, check with your Department Chair to see if a pre-populated or archived Blackboard Learn course site already exists for your course(s).  Regardless of experience level, classroom instructors should look under the Course Design tab of the Teach Anywhere website for information designed to help you make the simplest translation possible from face-to-face to the new digital modes of delivery. 

No. Students have been registering under the existing Blended, Unscheduled and Scheduled delivery definitions since early June. You have considerable latitude to make changes within the delivery structure you have chosen to meet student needs, but you may not change the delivery mode.

Yes. Education Council approved a motion to allow (for this academic year) instructors to make changes to the student evaluation and assessment methods and weighting as long as you keep the approved learning outcomes and continue to abide by Policies 3-35 and 3-33. The motion is as follows:

THAT Education Council acknowledges and endorses that faculty have flexibility related to student evaluation and assessment methods (including weighting) as indicated in Authorized Course Descriptions (ACDs). This acknowledgment will be in effect as of March 16, 2020 for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year and for the entire 2020-21 academic year, as appropriate to the subject area, and as approved by the relevant dean/director, and in compliance with North Island College policies.”

Policy 3-35 Course Outline requires that faculty provide students with evaluation methods and the weighting of those methods, at the beginning of class. This notification remains in effect as does Policy 3-33 Evaluation of Student Performance which states that there must be at least three separate evaluations, and that no single evaluation be greater than 40%.

  1. conferencing system
  2. Kaltura Video as NIC’s video streaming and storage platform
  3. WordPress as a BC platform for creating websites and blogs

In addition, there are some carefully vetted third party tools available to help you fill gaps in the supported platforms. These tools are not supported by the College and may have privacy implications.

You will find details and training materials for these platforms and tools on the Teach Anywhere website under the Learning Technologies drop-down menu.

There will be a fifth supported platform for conducting surveys called Blue that will be available in Fall, 2020.

There are two matrices on the Teach Anywhere website that will help you define your chosen digital delivery method more thoroughly and that provide example activities and associated tools to help get you started; each matrix is accompanied by a short explanatory video. The two documents are:

  1. Digital Learning Formats: Matrix of Characteristics and Components
  2. Digital Learning Formats: Matrix of Applications for Design and Learning

The key for now is to keep it simple and make the minimum changes necessary to translate your courses for digital delivery in the next Fall and Winter semesters.

There are self-directed resources on the Teach Anywhere website and more will be coming. Technology platform and Tool training is available under the Learning Technologies drop-down menu; pedagogical help is under Course Design and Practices + Pedagogies.  In addition to the self-directed resources, there are several training sessions and workshops planned for August as well as some third-party professional development opportunities. There will be a number of reminder emails about these sessions and you can find the same information on the Teach Anywhere website.

Classroom and Work Space Questions

Yes. Prior to September, classrooms will be pre-booked for scheduled digital instruction if indicated as needed by your dean’s office. However, the room booking may not be the same as the originally assigned timetabled space. Safety will be the top priority in determination of classroom assignments.  For programs without regularly assigned space, classroom allocation will be based on the most efficient use of available space to maximize options for all needs. For programs with regularly assigned space or priority access to space under normal (pre-COVID) procedures, classroom assignments will remain mostly unchanged. However, there may be exceptions to this to accommodate large face-to-face blended instruction by other divisions. 

We expect final classroom allocations to be available the week prior to term start. Anyone without an assigned classroom (e.g. previously indicated they will work from home but has changed their mind) may make a request through Scheduling, via their dean’s office.

Each digital teaching space will operate under a safety plan for its intended use, which will be finalized prior to term start. It is expected that this will require that faculty wipe down the surfaces they intend to use upon entry and wipe the surfaces used prior to exit. Additional hand sanitizing stations may also be provided, depending on the outcome of the safety assessment. Classrooms will be stocked with appropriate supplies and a standard end-of-day cleaning will happen, per other campus space, using the flip card method. Faculty are advised to bring their own white-board markers and eraser, if they intend to use the whiteboard.

Yes. Faculty who have an appointment will have a safe work space, according to work safe protocols. The deans’ and directors’ offices remain directly involved in the determination of workspace and will be working with the Office of the EVPA, the Director of Facilities and the Manager of Health & Safety to determine and confirm final work space allocation. After blended/scheduled classroom space has been assigned, the remaining classrooms will be brought into the pool of potential faculty workspace, if required, to secure a safe working environment for all.

We hope so, under specific safety protocols. Once all scheduled programs and faculty workspace are secured, we will assess options to open remaining classroom space for other uses. Considerations include open bookings for digital unscheduled faculty use, meeting space, etc.

Learning Resources Questions

Computers, web cameras and other peripherals and software

To take full advantage of the digital learning platforms supported by the College you will need access to a reasonably up to date computer, connection to the internet (preferably hard wired), a webcam and a headset microphone. Depending on what you teach you may also need a stylus and tablet or a tablet computer.

After surveying faculty for technology needs the Information Technology Department and the Centre for Innovation in Teaching and Learning have agreed on a faculty technology toolkit. You will receive some or all the equipment listed depending on your survey responses:

Laptop

HP Elite Dragonfly Notebook PC (8WN92UT)

  • Core i7-8665U, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 13.3” touchscreen

Laptop dock

HP USB-C Dock

Monitor

HP 24” monitor

Keyboard & mouse

Logitech wireless keyboard & mouse

Stylus

Wacom Bamboo Ink Plus stylus (stylus for touch screens)

Wacom Intuos Small (stylus with USB tablet for other laptops & desktops)

Webcam

Logitech C930e webcam 

+ Additional webcams sourced by BCNet

Headset

Plantronics Blackwire 5200 series USB headset

+ Additional headsets sourced by BCNet

This equipment and supporting items have been ordered. Please bear in mind that there is tremendous pressure on supply chains as our whole society is attempting to adjust to the current pandemic, so there may be some delays in acquisition.

Put in a helpdesk ticket, requesting equipment per the table in question 2, above.

We will be monitoring the equipment delivery and assessing options for contingencies should all equipment not arrive on time. Options will depend on the type of equipment and amount received in advance of the fall semester. We will do our best to connect with chairs and faculty by mid-August to connect on options, should we expect equipment not to arrive on time.

IT will set computers up with standard NIC software. Peripheral equipment is plug and play so the learning curve should be minimal. In addition to written instructions, there are YouTube instructional and review videos covering the hardware listed in question 2, above.

The core ITV rooms on each campus have been repurposed for video production with IT support. See this page for more information: https://teachanywhere.opened.ca/learning-technologies/recording-studios/

Cameras and tripods are being deployed to campuses now.  A sign out system has been worked out and, in August, Instructors will be able to sign out the equipment and take to a shop, lab, or studio to shoot instructional videos for their classes. More info here: https://teachanywhere.opened.ca/learning-technologies/video-equipment/.

Student Services and Learning Support Questions

Student Services is available in non face to face forms, including phone, skype, other video formats and email.  

  • There is an FAQ on the website https://www.nic.bc.ca/covid19/student-information/.
  • All information is also on the Student Services website https://www.nic.bc /student-services/.
  • We also have the Red Folder (icon on most NIC desktops or available in hard copy) with supports for students in distress or crisis.
  • A further list of supports by campus is available on the student and employee portals.

If any NIC employee is concerned about a student, Early Assist is also available for students to be connected with supports https://mynic.nic.bc.ca/early_assist/Pages/default.aspx

Contact Felicity.Blaiklock@nic.bc.ca or Dean.Martin@nic.bc.ca  for more information.

Yes.  The exam period is identified in the Key Dates

Below is an exam summary chart and format suggestions for reference.

Section Code

Exam Delivery Format

Resource

Invigilator

DLU (Unscheduled) & DLS (Scheduled)

Digital delivery

Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation available for consult

Instructor

B (Blended)

Digital delivery

Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation available for consult

Instructor

B (Blended)

Face-to-face exams can be scheduled if required for accreditation or other professional standards

Dean approval

Health & Safety plan required

Instructor

Digital Delivery Format Suggestions from Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation

Digital delivery exam formats might include timed/open book exam, oral exam, performance assessment, video or audio demonstration, culminating project, portfolio, case study, annotated bibliography, learning log, concept map etc.

 

If you would like to learn more about evaluating students via digital means, how to ‘ungrade’ your course or adjust your evaluation methods and tools, reach out to Liesel.Knaack@nic.bc.ca, Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation, for a consultation.

 

Here are a few excellent resources from the University of Calgary: Five Principles for Meaningful Online Assessment and Alternative Online Assessment Ideas. Also check out Faculty Focus: Higher Education Teaching Strategies Newsletter with their 7 Assessment Challenges of Moving Your Course Online (and a Dozen+ Solutions) and the University of Reading’s, An A-Z of Assessment Methods.

All supports are available at a distance.  Some services will return to face-to-face in September, including computer lab and laptop loans. Librarians are available through Ask Away live chat and by emailing Librarians.  https://library.nic.bc.ca/home

There are emergency funds available for those who are in financial need and it can go towards technology.  Direct students who are in a financial situation that is impacting them at school to Educational Advising.

Generally, students will have access to space only at their scheduled classroom times, or through pre-scheduled studio/lab times as established and managed by their program. Exceptions include limited computer lab hours, offered as a student service throughout the term.

More Questions

If you have any questions with respect to NIC's COVID-19 Safety Plan or the creation of individual safety plans for your area, view the Information for All Employees page, or contact HealthandSafety@nic.bc.ca.

Additional resources