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FAQ
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Q:

I've been asked to teach a WSU Online course – how do I get started?

A:

You will receive an email automatically generated from WSU Online which will ask you to access your course space and respond to Course Verification tasks. Course Verification is the system we use to communicate with instructors about their courses. You will be asked to verify that all components and content of the course are correct, or tell us what changes are needed. For more on course verification please visit the Course Verification Page.

You will also be contacted by an Instructional Designer assigned to support you in the delivery of your online course, and invited to Orientation and Blackboard Learn training. It is our goal to support you and make this process as easy as possible for you.

Q:

What is Course Verification?

A:

Course Verification is the online process by which you will be asked to confirm that different pieces of your course space are ready for the first day of class. Course Verification Tutorial

Q:

What's the most important piece of advice you give an online instructor?

A:

Simple as it sounds, our suggestion would be for you to be in the course space frequently, allowing for prompt feedback and answers to student questions.

Setting aside scheduled time throughout the week, as in an on-campus course, can help you stay on top of things in your online course.

Q:

How do I manage an online discussion?

A:

Let the discussion flow. You don't need to respond to every post. But, when the discussion slows - is lacking in either quality or quantity - it's time for you to step in. Here are a few tips:

  • Ask questions of the entire group, not individuals.
  • Lead participants to focus their comments and clarify meanings and core concepts.
  • Rephrase questions to encourage looking at the issue in a new way.
  • Ask participants to assume a role, or argue from a different perspective.
  • Encourage responses based on personal experience or real life situations.

Q:

Does my course need to be complete on the first day of class?

A:

Preferably, as many students review the entire course space when courses begin and plan accordingly.

Q:

My teaching philosophy involves adding course content as the semester develops. How can this be accomplished without increasing student anxiety?

A:

Contact your Instructional Designer regarding solutions specific to your course.

Q:

Once the course is up and running, what do I need to do?

A:

The students are still depending on your expertise to guide them, clarify and explain concepts, provide feedback for assignments and assessments - in other words, you still need to teach the course.

Q:

Does WSU offer any type of training for online instructors? What resources are available to me?

A:

Yes, in addition to online tutorials WSU Online offers face-to-face, webinar, and self-paced workshops. See the Training and Resources page.

Orientation is provided for all first time instructors (and is open to anyone who'd like to attend). The Instructional Designer assigned to your course will let you know when orientation sessions are offered.

Instructors (and students) have technical support. See the tech support information in your course space or email our tech support team at wsuonline.support@wsu.edu.

Q:

My colleague suggested I request a Virtual Mentor. What is a VM and how can they help me?

A:

VMs are generally prior students experienced in the online learning environment and respond to non-content related questions posted in the Discussion Board. Additionally, they provide logistical and navigational support so students understand how to use the Blackboard Learn tools, direct students to resources, and help build community. This allows you to focus on teaching instead of addressing these issues.

Q:

How do I request a Virtual Mentor?

A:

Navigate to the Virtual Mentor tab in Course Verification, or contact your eLearning Consulatant.

Q:

Students are struggling with a particular assignment/lesson/set of directions. What should I do?

A:

If you find students are confused about something and you're explaining it in the Discussion Board, talk with your Instructional Designer so that the problem is fixed before the course is offered again.

Q:

A couple of students have made inappropriate comments on the Discussion Board. What is the best way to handle this situation?

A:

When issues of "netiquette" arise, address them promptly and directly. Take time to explain what is and is not appropriate - students don't always realize that their comments were inappropriate. In extreme situations you may need to contact the Office of Student Standards and Accountability

Q:

Why is it important to communicate with students through the Discussion Board rather than email?

A:

Communicating through the Discussion Board encourages students to access the course, creates an archive in case of future question/issues, and saves time by allowing you to answer something once rather than answering each student individually.

Q:

How do I get paid to teach a WSU Online course?

A:

Compensation is between the department and the instructor. WSU Online facilitates the delivery of departmental courses.

Q:

Why would I use technology for teaching?

A:

Faculty are being asked to do more with less. Tech tools, along with smart implementation, can help you save time, teach more efficiently, yet maintain quality.

Q:

How will technology enhance my classroom?

A:

The right tools can improve learning outcomes, engage students and increase attendance, build learning communities for your students and more.

Q:

How can technology make my class more interesting?

A:

By incorporating interactive tools, social media with which students are comfortable, and multimedia freely available online.

Q:

Will technology be too difficult to use or take too much time?

A:

Not with the resources provided to you on this website, through the Global Campus, AMS and IT. There is plenty of support to get you going.

Q:

How do I get a Blackboard Learn course space?

A:

Every on-campus course has a Blackboard Learn course space set up by IT, and into which you and your students are already enrolled. You need to add your materials (See LMS) and enable the course space so that the students can see and access it.

Q:

How do I ensure that my TA has access to the course space?

A:

Ask your program administrator to add this person as a teaching assistant in myWSU. This will give the TA access to the course space with instructor privileges.

Q:

Why can’t my students access or see the course space for my class?

A:

Probably because you haven’t enabled the course space; for campus-based courses, the instructor must enable course spaces each semester in order for students to access them. This is different for Global Campus courses, which are automatically activated. If only one student is having trouble, double-check an up-to-date roster. If the student is on the roster, give Global Campus a call so we can troubleshoot the issue.

Q:

How do I enable my course space so that students can access it?

A:

Select the Enable button in the Availability column of the My Courses module in Blackboard next to your course ID link. When the button says Disable, that means your course is Enabled for student access.

Q:

I am teaching two sections of the same course; how can I merge those sections in order to teach from course space?

A:

Simply fill out the request form. Allow a week for these requests to be processed.

Q:

How do I find Blackboard Learn training?

A:

Comprehensive training is available throughout the year. Read training descriptions and sign up for training on the Training Workshops page.

Q:

Are there tutorials or step-by-step documents that will show me how to build and manage my course space?

A:

Yes, please visit the Training and Resources page for a list of resources to assist you.

Q:

Why can’t my students see their grades?

A:

It all depends on the settings of the assignment(s) and the grade center. Check to make sure the grade column is visible to students. If this is for a test, check the feedback settings for that test under Edit the Test Options.

Q:

Why can’t my students see the files or the drop box I created?

A:

If the item shows greyed out, this means that students are currently unable to see it. This could be because availability dates are set, or because the item has been made unavailable. Select the Edit option from the dropdown arrow next to the item name, and confirm that the Make the Assignment Available option is checked. Also, if availability dates are set, check for the correct start and end dates.

Q:

How do I find Copyight free, or appropriately licensed materials for my online course space?

A:

For more information on how to do this, please check out Finding Copyright Free Materials

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