Math Faculty Online Teaching Resources
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This page is intended to be a resource for faculty to assist with general technology questions, particularly those related to online teaching methods. If you have topics that you would like to have included on this site, please submit them to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page will not cover all aspects of online teaching, but should contain enough information to allow faculty to successfully develop and conduct an online course using available Texas State technology.
Additional information, training, and resources can be found at the Texas State Teaching, Learning, and Working Remotely at TXST.
A general FAQ section can be found at the bottom of this page.
The department staff are committed to helping you in any way possible and will be available during regular operating hours (8 am - 5 pm - unless otherwise indicated) either online or on campus.
All math staff are available via Teams chat. This is the preferred way to contact us. If you have questions on how to use Teams chat feature, please refer to this URL.
Video hosting & Screen capture/voice over
Zoom can be a helpful tool for conducting classes, holding office hours, or working with colleagues off campus. All TXST Zoom sessions either require a waiting room or a passcode.
The following videos and web pages will help you schedule a Zoom meeting:
The decision to use Zoom for your class depends largely on your teaching style, course content, and class size among others. It is ultimately up to you to know your teaching style and choose a method that will work for both you and your students.
Smaller seminar type classes, particularly graduate seminars, would be well served using Zoom. Zoom allows for robust discussion from all participants, document and screen sharing, and even remote access for help and troubleshooting. If your course relies on class participation and real time questions and feedback, then Zoom could be a good option.
If you have a very large section, or a course where student participation is not as critical, then other tools, such as Ensemble Anthem, may be a better solution. It could prove difficult to manage discussions with more than 20 individuals in a meeting so class participation would be limited.
Additionally, participants will need a reliable internet connection to use Zoom so access could be a factor for some students.
Log in through the Zoom Support page.
There are two primary ways to track attendance in Zoom.
1. Request that students use the chat feature to indicate they were present for the lecture or meeting. Zoom saves all chats so you will be able to look through the log after class to determine who was present or absent.
2. Zoom also logs meetings participants in the "Reports" section on your profile page. From the "Reports" page, choose "Usage" then use the date selection tools to search for your meetings by date ranges. In the participants column, click the number to view the participants who attended as well as other attendance counts. This data can be exported as an Excel file for your records and is available approximately 30 minutes after the meeting ends.
A co-host allows the host to share hosting privileges with another user, allowing the co-host to manage the administrative side of the meeting, such as managing participants or starting/stopping the recording.
An alternative host allows you to designate another user to start a meeting.
Texas State offers numerous training resources on the Zoom Support page.
ZoomBombing is when a meeting participant (usually an uninvited one) takes control of the screen and shares inappropriate or irrelevant content. This page contains step-by-step instructions for locking down your Zoom sessions.
To avoid this:
- Disable “Join Before Host” so people can’t cause trouble before you arrive.
- Enabling “Co-Host” so you can assign others to help moderate (a class assistant, UIA or other helper).
- Disable “File Transfer” so there’s no digital virus sharing.
- Disable “Allow Removed Participants to Rejoin” so booted attendees can’t slip back in.
- Limit your participants to signing in using their @txstate.edu email address
- Invite your participants via email or share the link in a location that they can easily find and click on to join the meeting.
- Do not post the meeting URL on social media.
Using MediaFlo & Ensemble Anthem
MediaFlo and Ensemble Anthem work together as a tool that enables you to record the content of your screen and share it with others. You can also record voice and/or video to enhance recordings of PowerPoint presentations, documents, or anything else you wish to share from your screen.
The decision to use Ensemble Anthem for your class depends largely on your teaching style, course content, and class size among others. It is ultimately up to you to know your teaching style and choose a method that will work for both you and your students.
Ensemble Anthem works well for large classes, lectures, and those that do not require a great deal of student interaction. Using Ensemble Anthem allows you to record lectures in advance and share videos with students when needed, eliminating the need to stick to a definitive class meeting time. It also enables you to prepare material in advance.
Keep in mind that it will take some time to get used to recording and publishing videos, so it is best to prepare lectures well in advance of class times so you have the opportunity to review them before sending to students.
Ensemble Anthem will not be as effective for seminar type courses or those that require class discussion and student interaction. Since you are only sending a static video to students, they do not have the opportunity to directly ask questions. Keep this in mind as you plan your schedules and leave ample time for answering question via email or through TRACS/Canvas discussion forums.
Before you begin using either of these tools, you must submit a request form to ITAC so they can create your Ensemble and Mediaflo accounts. The request form can be found on the Ensemble Anthem support page.
You will need to have two factor authorization set up to access the request form.
You can sign into Mediaflo, install Ensemble Anthem, and view/share your content from the Welcome to Mediaflo! page.
You can log into Remote Access from the Virtual Private Network (VPN) website.
On both Mac and PC you can find the name of your computer by looking for the white property tag sticker on the computer. Adding "TAG" to the six digit number on that sticker will create the computer name on our network. For example, if the number on the sticker is "123456", your computer name for remote access would be "TAG123456".
Other Methods | PC
- Open your Start menu
- Click the gear icon for "Settings"
- Choose the "System" tab
- Choose "About" from the menu
- Find the listing for "Device name"
Other Methods | Mac
- Open your System Preferences menu
- Click the option for "Sharing"
- The computer name will be displayed in the window that opens
Installing Adobe Creative Cloud Software
Adobe Creative Cloud software is available to all Texas State students, faculty, and staff. The Adobe programs will allow you to read and edit PDF documents, edit pictures and videos, create digital media and perform many other tasks.
New licensing agreements with Adobe now require individual users to download and install the software using their own Net ID and two factor authorization.
More information and support can be found on Texas State's Adobe Creative Cloud website.
Our Adobe license only allows users to be signed into two computers at any given time. This means that you will need to go through the Adobe sign in and Texas State two factor authentication process if you try to use Adobe on a third computer.
General Questions and Answers
The following section will provide general FAQs regarding Texas State technology and services, as well as online teaching help. This section will be updated frequently, so if you have questions you would like addressed please submit them to me: email@example.com and check back frequently for answers.
In Spring 2021, we will use EvaluationKIT to send all course evaluations. Students will receive an email from ITAC to complete the SPI survey. Survey data is used for Course and Faculty Info (HB2504) purposes.
ePortfolio to EvaluationKIT transition
Fall 2020 was the final semester departments used ePortfolio for course evaluations. In January 2021, invitations will be extended to ePortfolio course evaluation administrators to receive training and get access to EvaluationKIT. In January 2021 and beyond, ePortfolio will continue to be used for other online portfolio needs. Visit the Course Evaluations site to learn more.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Existing ePortfolio projects will not be impacted by this change.
Morey: You will find great advice from the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) with complete copy here at the AMS Blog (American Mathematical Society - AMS) on teaching online courses.
This Blog is packed with good and practical ideas and was posted on 16 March 2020. By: Yvonne Lai, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Texas State has a wide range of resources dedicated to remote teaching, learning, and working. You can access those resources from the Teaching, Learning, and Working Remotely at TXST website.
Jones: I have a friend who is an instructional designer at SFASU. She sent me this link to their support site. Some of you might find something useful there. She was very open about sharing it. https://www.sfactl.com/keep-teaching
If you find work for your course has been posted on Chegg, you can email a list of specific URLs where your material has been posted to Dr. Rachel Davenport (firstname.lastname@example.org). She will then send a take-down notice on official letterhead directly from the Honor Code Council. She has reported some positive results and indicated that within a few days they will 1) take down the material, 2) send us the answers, 3) send us the information for who posted the material, and 4) send us information for who viewed the answers. She is then available to work with faculty who have questions about the procedures for filing the Honor Code violation.
It is important to remember that students taking tests online will inherently have access to the internet. They will be able to use Google, open book/notes, and other resources should they choose. This should be taken into consideration when creating tests to ensure that testing is fair for all students.
Some strategies include:
Using Turnitin to check for plagiarism on assignments.
Are your exams already in TRACS or Canvas? If not, there are some good tutorials about setting up exams in either learning management system:
- TRACS: https://tracsfacts.its.txstate.edu/user-guides/tutorials-instructors-maintainers/core-tools/assessments-and-surveys/create-assessment.html
- Canvas: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10706-67952725251
Office of Distance & Extended Learning: We’ve been asked to encourage that exams be deferred if possible rather than using online proctoring. The complication is how the bill for the exams will be paid. Courses listed as INT or HYB in the schedule of classes can use online proctoring at any time and ODEL pays for these exams. Other courses may use Examity but funding for the exams would need to come from the academic department. Essentially, we would book the examinations as we normally would here in ODEL, but would segment the bill and send it to the department or arrange to have a funds transfer. We would not want students to be billed for online proctoring. We have also created a web site about the basics of online proctoring:
Snyder: I served on the University Honor Council for several years not that long ago and saw a lot during my tenure. A proven effective method to limit cheating is to maintain the expectation of academic honesty as outlined on the University’s webpage. In particular, have students hand write and sign the Student Pledge on or for each assignment.
Online proctoring can provide a false sense of security to faculty at great expense to the State; use with caution.
I searched for “cheat examity”. Below are these two links which I share for their educational value. Reddit has a large number of threads on “ULPT” (Unethical Life Pro Tips). In addition, Examity uses intrusive methods that have questionable ethics regarding computer privacy.
Shroyer: Instructions (from McGraw-Hill) on how to get a test from Test Gen in to Canvas.
- Video: Uploading Testgen exported file to Canvas
- Create your test in Test Gen (Testgen User Guide)
- Open Testgen
- Create a new test, you can either choose paper or web test – it does not matter in this instance.
- Using your test banks on the left hand side, select the question and drag it over to the right side to build your test.
- Click onto the right hand side white space, select file on the upper left hand corner and save your file as a TST file onto your computer
- Click on the white space again, click onto “file” & “export”
- Select “QTI Test file” from the drop down menu and save the ZIP file
- Upload Zip file into Canvas
- Go to Canvas and enter the course you’re working on
- Click onto Settings and on the right hand side, click on “Import Course Content”
- Select “QTI Zip file” from drop down menu
- Choose your file & find the zip file you just exported
- Click onto import
- Once its completed, go into Quizzes
- You’ll find the test you created - make sure you edit your quiz and/or questions
- Make sure you save and publish your changes
It is important to keep in mind that not all students will have equal access to high speed internet. Hosting lectures with a service such as Zoom requires faster internet access than posting a PowerPoint presentation on TRACS/Canvas. You will need to communicate with students in advance to ensure everyone has reliable internet access before finalizing lesson plans.
Spectrum is offering 60 days of free internet to households with students: https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/coronavirus-covid-19-educational-internet-offer
Some mobile providers have suspended data caps:
Faculty own the coursework they create, and the university has a license to use it for education and marketing purposes. More information on copyright and remote teaching is available from the university’s Copyright Office and the library’s remote course support webpage.
The Library is running full steam ahead in supporting you and our students moving quickly online.
- Access to textbooks and reserves:
- Free online access to your textbook: Many publishers have made their textbooks available free online through the end of May through the book sellers RedShelf or VitalSource. I’m happy to help you find out if your textbooks are available here. The caveat is that these are commercial sellers and they require your students to create an account with them. We don’t endorse these (or any) commercial textbook companies, but your students may use them as one of many choices to access their textbooks. https://guides.library.txstate.edu/remoteservices/openedreseources
- Reserves Scanning: We are also happy to do some scanning of print material in the library to help with some limited needs. We are trying to limit this, because of course it would be helpful to scan whole books for each class, but we only have 2 scanners and a few staff who do this. But a chapter request from a faculty member should be easy to comply with.https://guides.library.txstate.edu/remoteservices/reserve-print
- Rush eBooks: I’m also happy to purchase any eBooks you need via rush to get them here for your classes. Just shoot me an email.
- Research instruction on-demand
- I’m available to meet with your students all together or individually via Zoom to help them with their research as well. Just email me, and we can set that up.
- Add me to TRACS or Canvas (role: librarian, netid: d_m518), and I’ll set up some resources for your students to do some research in there. A guide to research sources through library, and a welcome video. Let me know your thoughts on an assignment or learning outcome, and I’ll build it to match.
- Stress relief
- We plan to deploy some of our in-person programming remotely – like Therapy Dogs, Gaming, and more.
- Also keep an eye out for some vintage re-releases of Alkek Library Read Posters for your desktop
- Into ASMR? We’ll be releasing Study to Alkek Library sounds on YouTube soon also!
- Access to textbooks and reserves:
The IT Assistance Center (ITAC) is available 24/7 to help you with technology needs. They are familiar with all university offered software, university systems such as TRACS and Canvas, and can help troubleshoot most computer problems remotely.
There are several ways to contact ITAC
Not all university software is available for personal computers, and some requires special request forms before installation. You can find out more about university available software from the Do IT Services Software page.
Grilliette: I will share relevant URLs below. If you would like more information, please contact me. I would love to share what I've learned.
This is important if you will be accessing files stored on your computer, or will be remotely connecting to it to use specific software not available for installation on your home system.
- Open your computer's BIOS settings menu. Do this by restarting the computer and observing the first flash-screen that appears. This will be the black screen with white text that shows before Windows loads -- assuming you're using Microsoft's operating system. Look for the Setup function key description. It will be "Setup F2" or F12, or something similar. Restart the computer and at the same time press the appropriate function key. Tap the key repeatedly during this initial startup period and the BIOS Settings menu will appear.
- Look for the Power Settings menu item within the BIOS and change the AC Power Recovery, or similar, setting to "On." You are looking for a power-based setting that affirms that the PC will power on when power becomes available. Some older PCs don't have this setting and so aren't capable.
- Save the configuration and reboot the computer.
The department does not have any styli for iPads/tablets. Here are several that are recommended for a large selection of models:
Sigley: I'm using two devices and muting the microphone on the iPad. Then I have a bluetooth headset with a microphone built in hooked up to the second device. The clicking is still slightly audible, but not as bad as when I was using the iPad built in microphone. Other benefits are you can use the camera on the second device and make a picture in picture view as you're writing and if you turn on the iPad camera you're not getting a weird view from the iPad laying on the desk and pointing straight up.
There are several inexpensive options available below the $100 price point:
These are less traditional than a standard document camera but are designed to clamp a phone or tablet to the edge of a table:
- If you have a shared office, you do NOT have access to voicemail and will want to ensure that your students have your email address if they have inquiries.
- If you have a single person office and need to set up voicemail on your phone:
I recommend including either an alternate number, or include your email address where you can be reached.
- If you have a single person office and would like to forward your phone to an alternate phone number
ITAC: This week, the Division of Information Technology is upgrading Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. The result will add new calling features to Teams that will provide immediate benefit to faculty and staff working remotely. We anticipate completing the upgrade by early next week. After that, we will begin to upgrade all student employees, including graduate assistants.
Teams is currently available for all faculty, staff, and students. After the Skype-to-Teams move is complete, all faculty and staff will be able to make and receive phone calls via a dial pad in Teams. Faculty and staff will be assigned Teams phone numbers in the format of 512.408.#### (or 8.####). This does not impact current standard office phone services, and existing office numbers will not change. Student employees will be able to make outgoing calls but not receive calls. They will not be assigned a phone number.
We regret to have to make this move so quickly and hope this change will not be too much of a burden for those in your area who use Skype. We encourage faculty and staff to learn more about Teams by attending an upcoming Teams training session and also by visiting our Office 365 and Teams support site.
Teams training: https://signup.txstate.edu/topics/1342-microsoft-teams
Teams support: https://itac.txstate.edu/support/office365.html#teams
Jones: Jenny Cook at Pearson created a superquick desktop video w/ audio to send me some settings instructions. This is what she used. She said she loves it. I plan to investigate. It might be a good resource for the resource page.
Note from Illona: The university has Ensemble Anthem integrated with MediaFlo that is supported on campus.
Morey: If you are a member of the MAA you have likely been getting many posts and links to resources, including some epidemiology curriculum you can use in certain classes and discussions about how to manage remote teaching in math. If you are not a member, the web site is below. I found things under the “Programs and Communities” tab (including curriculum resources) and the “News” tab. There have been many useful items in the emails that I haven’t found on the web site, so if someone knows where those are on the web site, please let me know. Some of it appears to be on MAA Connect, which you need a membership to access. There are many discussions (and sometimes answers) about how to use Zoom, how to deal with the shortened instructional time, how to manage on-line exams, etc. from a math perspective. https://www.maa.org
Jones: Students/Faculty can get free ebooks for the rest of the semester from RedShelf. Email your TXST email address to: email@example.com and Jenny will add the textbook to the instructor's RedShelf Bookshelf.
Site for your students to request ebooks: https://studentresponse.redshelf.com/
King: From McGraw-Hill ALEKS -http://info.mheducation.com/index.php/email/emailWebview
- Peer-led webinars
Free Options for Exam Proctoring
Note from Morey: I asked my kids about lockdown screens and testing. They laughed. Both said they are easy to circumvent and if you have a second computer handy (borrow your brother's laptop for example) they didn't mean anything. So I don't want faculty to feel overly complacent just because there is a lockdown option.
Morey: Some NSF-funded calculus videos for 33 topics in first semester calculus. Warning: [Susan] only watched one before including this link.
Acosta: MyLab Math from Pearson (Math 2321- e-book) includes videos for every section in the book in the Multimedia Library.
Morey: Here is a resource that might be of interest to you and to our students. If the student left town without their text, they can now access it if you are using a Cengage text (Calculus is, likely some others).
Morey: For the Differential Equations crowd, SIMIODE has offered all their resources freely and openly. This is an NSF funded project involving modeling in DE. The student and teacher versions of their resources are free, but they are asking the teachers to register. I found the “Resources” tab to be the most helpful. There are presentations, activities, etc. but it takes a bit of knowledge to get through, so if you use these, be sure to help your students navigate easily. Remember this is not my mathematical focus area, so those in the field are better situated to judge quality and appropriateness here. https://www.simiode.org
- The PBS KIDS 24/7 channel offers anytime access to trusted educational series for kids ages 2-8.
- The PBS KIDS Video app is available on mobile, tablet and connected TV devices and offers on-demand educational videos, and a livestream of the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel. No subscription required.
- The PBS KIDS Games app offers nearly 200 educational games, which can be downloaded for offline play anytime, anywhere. PBS KIDS also offers e-books, podcasts, and dozens of other program-centric games available.
- PBS KIDS for Parents offers tips, resources, and an Activity Finder that enables parents to search for educational activities based on their child’s age, favorite show or various topics. Resources to support healthy habits and conversations with children about coronavirus and other tough topics are also available on the site.
- A new PBS KIDS Daily newsletter to help parents keep their kids engaged while schools are closed is now available. Each weekday, subscribers receive an email with educational videos, games and related offline activities and tips that families can use at home to encourage play and learning. Subscribe here.
- The PBS KIDS YouTube channel offers educational videos from your favorite characters and more, including this Healthy Habits playlist.
- PBS LearningMedia is a free resource for PreK-12 educators that supports distance learning and provides resources to help explain the virus and promote healthy habits.
- PBS Teachers Lounge offers resources to help educators navigate conversations with young children about coronavirus, and to support distance learning.
Warshauer, M.: Free Mathworks Curriculum download available
Jones: I plan to share this list w/ my students. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Nobody-Signed-Up-for/248298