Daniel Collins, Acting Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs
Christopher Roth, Associate Director of Academic Technology
Daniel Collins, Acting Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs
Christopher Roth, Associate Director of Academic Technology
Associate Professor of Anthropology,
Academic Technology Area Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Academic Technology Area Coordinator
To prepare for remote course delivery during the Fall I 2020 semester in the wider context of the COVID-19 pandemic, 100% of Guttman full-time faculty, nearly all part-time faculty, and a number of staff have completed the four-week Online Course Development Program on best practices in online instruction. This training expands on the Online Teaching Essentials Foundational Workshop offered by the CUNY School of Professional Studies by incorporating discussion, assignments, and resources on trauma; Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP); Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and neurodiversity; as well as embedding open educational resources (OER) and information literacy within courses. The Online Course Development Program ensures that all faculty and interested staff are prepared to offer asynchronous, online courses on Blackboard that are in line with Guttman’s Instructional Principles and our commitment to teaching excellence.
For more information, see the Center for Practice, Technology, and Innovation and the Online Course Development Program news release.
Starting a Blackboard Collaborate Session
When opening your course you will find the Blackboard Collaborate feature under your course tools.
1) On your course tools menu, select Blackboard Collaborate. Your Course Room will be available to join whenever you enter and begin instruction.
You can edit the room settings and change roles/access and room attributes by selecting “Edit Room”
2) You can add the link to the course to be shown in your content/information area for students to enter the live broadcasting.
3) The room link will appear in the students Content Session
4) You will be prompted to enable Microphone and Webcam when entering the room/session.
5) When you enter your room, at the bottom you will see options to enable your audio and video for your class.
6) On the left hand side you will see a menu icon with options to start a recording that will save in your blackboard collaborate section under recordings.
7) On the lower right of the screen you will see an icon that will open up the Collaborate Chat for students and moderators.
8) You can share content with students during your session by selecting the third icon. You can also share your screen to present a PowerPoint presentation or video.
Speaker and Group Mode during Session
At the top right corner you will see an icon to change the displayed screen to Group mode or speaker mode which will put a preference on what screen is shown.
9) To end your class and leave the session, go to the upper left hand side menu icon and at the bottom you will see Leave Session.
Starting a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Session
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra allows for guest access to your session. If you would like to invite guest speakers or guests from outside Guttman, you will need to create a new session using Blackboard Ultra. Please see below for instructions on how to create this Blackboard Ultra Session:
1) To create a session select “Create Session”
2) A window will open to input your session details. Set a start and end date/time for your session. You can also set an early entry for students to enter your class and wait for broadcasting to begin.
3) Set session settings for your session. Keep in mind that Participants can be your students/guests so you may need to remove access to share audio, video, or drawing on whiteboard/files. You can change these settings during broadcasting by going to your session chat settings.
4) After setting the details and settings, you will be provided with an anonymous dial in for outside guests if needed. If you have an outside guest, you can set a role for participant, presenter, or moderator.
5) Provide the guest link to your students or any other guests that you would like to attend the broadcast.
To be prepared in case of a temporary disruption, take the following actions now:
Make sure that you can log into all the Guttman Systems that you might need from your home computer and other devices. Make sure that you know the password for each of these systems and that all your operating systems are up-to-date and compatible with any software you might use. Contact the Guttman service desk for assistance if you encounter any problems.
Save any course teaching materials from your office computer to a place that you can access outside the office. Options include your CUNY Dropbox, ePortfolio, Microsoft Office 365, or a portable drive.
Make sure your students know the best way to reach you. In the event of a temporary disruption of campus operations, you may opt to communicate with students via email, voice mail, personal phone, or other tools.
Make sure you can change your voicemail message and access your office voicemail from home. Practice changing your office voicemail message. If you do not currently receive your voicemail message via email, contact the Guttman service desk to set this up.
Make sure you and your students can access library materials from home. Practice logging in to the Guttman Information Commons from home and remind students how to access materials.
Collect students’ preferred email addresses or phone numbers. This will give you an alternative way to contact students if you are unable to reach them in other ways.
Make basic information about your class available on Blackboard or ePortfolio. At a minimum, post your syllabus, and create an announcement with information about how students can contact you. If you plan to use another tool for course activities, link to it from Blackboard or ePortfolio. If you plan to use Blackboard, be sure to make your course available.
Make a plan for continuing to teach your course. In the event of a temporary disruption of campus operations, you will need a plan for accomplishing normal course activities, such as sharing course materials, communicating with students, collecting assignments, and giving exams.
General Considerations for Assignment Re-Design
In making any significant adjustment during times of disruption, it is also helpful to consider four overarching questions:
Making a Plan
Start by reviewing your course activities and selecting the comparable online equivalent to your teaching activity (discussion posts instead of in-class discussion, recorded lectures, online quizzes, etc.)
Once selected, review the further details on how to implement your specific course using Tools for Promoting Classroom Interaction, Assignments, Tests, and Quizzes, record your lectures and host virtual classrooms
Communicate the plan with you classes and spend some in-person time going over the plan, the platforms they will need to access, and their limitations in terms of access to technology in their homes. Accommodations may need to be made on a case by case basis.
Instructions for specific tools and strategies, see the Remote Teaching Resources on the Guttman working remotely website: https://guttman.cuny.edu/faculty-staff/technology-working-remotely/
If your course is not active, it can’t be accessed by students. You can control when your course is private, or unavailable, to your students. You can quickly change the availability of your course in the top management area, by selecting the Make Available icon.
Course availability can also be set in the Control Panel:
Faculty utilizing Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate and other digital technology to deliver course curriculum/material must be sensitive to issues of privacy. Faculty offering classes through web conferencing digital technology like Zoom:
*For the avoidance of doubt, the prohibition on recording without consent does not apply to audio or video lectures of the faculty member only and that do not include a student participation component.
CUNY discourages students from recording the sessions unless such recording is part of a reasonable accommodation under the law or is not prohibited by campus policy.
Communicate with Students
The most important thing you should do is communicate with your students early and often to give them information about changes to your course.
These are great ways to get students to discuss a topic in writing. They work best for open-ended discussions rather than for content delivery. They can be set up to limit access to other students’ replies until after they have posted their own responses. Professors can encourage discourse by having students post a response to a prompt, and then requiring them to respond to their classmates’ posts with meaningful responses. Such responses should go beyond mere statements that agree with the comment they are replying to and encourage further discussion.
Record Lectures and Virtual Classrooms
Record your presentations/lectures: (Asynchronous)
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a video conferencing tool that you can also use to record lectures. See below for its use as a virtual classroom.
Create a Virtual Classroom: (Synchronous)
You can create a virtual classroom for your students to join synchronously. This is useful if your class uses a lot of real-time discussions, sharing of multimedia resources that will be discussed, and synchronous discussion or group work.
Click here for Virtual Classroom Best Practices
Note: Synchronous virtual classrooms require high-speed connections from all participants. If you worry about that being an issue, consider an asynchronous option.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a video conferencing and virtual classroom tool that exists within your Blackboard Course. It allows you to share PowerPoint and resources with your students, host small group discussions, and conduct polls. For best results and access to all features- you must use the Google Chrome web browser
Getting Started: Finding your way around, setting up audio and video
Schedule Collaborate Ultra Sessions: Set up new sessions, Edit availability
Share Content: Share Powerpoint slides, the Virtual Whiteboard, your screen
Manage Attendees: Understanding the different roles, handling “Hand raising”, and allowing a student to speak.
Breakout groups: Set up the groups, using the timer to remind them of the time remaining.
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra allows students to automatically be assigned to “break-out groups” within the same Collaborate Session. Essentially, the students attending the collaborative session are split into groups of a specific size (as determined by the professor) within the Collaborate session. This gives each group more able to discuss topics at hand to a greater degree than they could in the larger online environment. After a set amount of time determined by the instructor, students are returned to the main room. This can be done in conjunction with a Google Slides presentation where each student group works on a slide in a collaboratively shared document.
Assignments, Tests, and Quizzes
Assignments tend to be documents, presentations, or reports that a student would normally physically hand in. If that’s not possible, you can collect assignments using various methods including the campus-supported Learning Management Systems- Blackboard and ePortfolio.
Online tests or quizzes
You can use tests and surveys to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students.
Verification of student identity is the confirmation of two conditions: 1) that the correct student has access to the course for which they are registered; and 2) that this individual is indeed performing the work for the duration of the entire course. Fully online courses at Guttman Community College are set up and conducted to meet both conditions in ways that meet or exceed established practice in classroom-based courses.
CUNY offers a unified CUNY Login service that provides a set of account credentials (username and password) for many University-wide applications, including Blackboard, which is CUNY’s current learning management system (LMS). Underpinning the credentials for these applications is an EMPLID, a unique identification number assigned to every CUNY student, faculty, and staff member in CUNYfirst, the University’s Enterprise Resource Planning system.
All students participating in fully online instruction offered at Guttman must log in to their Blackboard course sites using their CUNY login credentials. To ensure compliance with FERPA privacy rules and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity recommendations, strict access controls that include full encryption are in place for all Blackboard access.
This secure login is a student’s only means of access to the LMS. Students are registered for their online courses through CUNYfirst, which imports registration information directly into the LMS without any action on the part of students, faculty, or staff beyond the regular registration process. Only duly registered students and the instructor of record appear on the roster of any online course. Furthermore, every action within a course site registers on the extensive tracking features of Blackboard, which records the time and duration of every user action by a user and the part of the site involved, even if a student does not post.
Supplementing these technical means of verifying student identity and activity is the extent of student and faculty interaction that characterizes online instruction at Guttman. Students introduce themselves, often through sharing prior knowledge and current interest in a course’s subject, and may write multiple posts weekly, including responses to classmates as well to the instructor’s prompts and discussion questions. Students may also maintain individual or group journals, blogs, and/or wikis, or post videos for assignments and discussion. Such intentional interaction creates a high degree of familiarity and even intimacy within each course. Both student orientation and faculty development stress the importance of “social presence” through self-presentation and interaction, including but not limited to:
Though not all of the above tools and practices are implemented in every online course, instructors select and apply those best suited to creating and fostering interpersonal connections in their specific courses (e.g., work in teams and group projects as well as supervision of such work). As a result, the means of verifying student identity in online instruction rival or surpass those used in in-person instruction.
Blackboard is an online course management system that enables instructors to provide students with course documents, online assignments and assessments, individual grades and other learning materials and tools. These online materials and activities can complement face-to-face teaching and can be used to develop hybrid or online courses.
CUNY automatically generates a Blackboard course for every class taught at Guttman. Instructors and students can access Blackboard through the MyGuttman portal or directly through CUNYfirst.
If instructors choose to use Blackboard in their courses, they have to make the course available to students at the beginning of the semester. Below are links to resources to help you get started with Blackboard.
Blackboard Basics: Faculty Introduction
Blackboard Basics: Making Your Course Available
Blackboard Basics: Collaborate Ultra for Faculty
Blackboard Basics: Invite Attendees to Your Collaborate Ultra Sessions
CUNY Blackboard Faculty User Guides
Blackboard Videos for Instructors
Blackboard App: There are separate app versions for students and instructors. When logging into the app for the first time, enter the school name CUNY – Guttman Community College. To see if your content will display in the app, refer to the support guide.
The CUNY “Blackboard Basics” training course is available to you. This self-paced course is a guide for utilizing the various features and tools of the Blackboard platform for your teaching. If you do not see the training listed under My Courses, please contact Christopher.Roth@guttman.cuny.edu.
Blackboard Basics: Videos for Guttman Students
Blackboard Basics: Student Information Guide
Blackboard Basics: Update Your Email in Blackboard
Blackboard Basics: Collaborate Ultra for Students
Blackboard Basics: Accessing Collaborate Ultra Recordings
CUNY Blackboard Student User Guides
Blackboard Help Videos for Students
Blackboard App: When logging into the app for the first time, enter the school name “CUNY – Guttman Community College.”
All students have access to the “Are You Ready? Online Student Readiness Course” on Blackboard. The course contains a self-assessment tool for online learning and consists of five sections including brief videos summarizing the material, quizzes, a practice assignment, a discussion forum, and support resources. The course takes approximately forty-five minutes to complete. Join the Are You Ready? Online Student Readiness Course and enter the access code learning to enroll and begin the course.
For Blackboard support, students should contact the Helpdesk:
Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 am–8 pm
Starfish is a student retention and success system that Guttman began using during the 2015-2016 academic year. Guttman uses Starfish to promote engagement among students, advisors, faculty, and staff in order to create a more equitable college. We recognize that success is a moving target and that students need different kinds of encouragement at different times. The challenge is knowing which students are facing which obstacles or having which successes – and then getting that information into the hands of the people who can help.
Guttman believes that students can succeed when they are engaged with an informed, connected campus community. Within any institution, there are a myriad of support services designed to help students overcome challenges and attain their goals. Starfish helps to achieve these goals with early alerts/warnings, online appointment scheduling, and case management. The platform encourages students to engage more deeply in their academic lives by connecting them to the people and resources best equipped to help them succeed.
All full- and part-time faculty are expected to use Starfish regularly to award kudos, raise flags, and make referrals for students to various support services at the College. Please see the Faculty/Staff Starfish Handbook for more information about the ways you can help students “Connect to Success” with Starfish. Professional development is available online or in person. For more information or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
All faculty have access to the Starfish Online Professional Development Course which was created to teach the how-to’s and why we use Starfish at Guttman. If you do not see the training listed under My Courses in Blackboard, please contact Christopher.Roth@guttman.cuny.edu.
Starfish Online Professional Development Course Instructions
Starfish Clearing Flags Flowchart
Clearing Tracking Items