Faculty Support

This page includes guidance for using some of RIT's supported academic technology to implement your course. Faculty may choose to use an academic technology that is not listed on this page, but they would be responsible for supporting it and ensuring that students can access course activities on an ongoing basis.

For information on designing and planning your course, as well as best practices for online course design, review the Planning for Future Courses ​page. The Planning for Future Courses page also includes information about the work of the College Course Advancement Team (CATs) and how they are helping their colleagues within their own Colleges.

myCourses LMS

For an overview of completing common tasks in myCourses, view the myCourses Quick Reference guide. Note that the quick reference does not cover the Quiz tool. Links to Quiz documentation are provided below.

The myCourses content tool is used to share content with students.

5-Minute Content Tool Training

Content Tool Overview

The myCourses announcements tool is used to make full course announcements in an easy-to-find location for students.

Announcements Overview

Subscribing to announcement notifications

It is possible to email the entire class list through myCourses.

Email students using the Classlist

Note: RIT does not have the Email tool. Follow the instructions under the classlist heading.

Students often use the Calendar tool within a course or the calendar information on the myCourses home page to help them prioritize their coursework. Due dates entered in the Content tool, Discussions tool, Assignments tool, and Quizzes tool populate in the course's Calendar tool. Instructors can also add custom events to the Calendar tool in their course.

Calendar tool overview

The Groups tool allows instructors to place their students into groups though manual assignment, automatic assignment, or student self-selection. Instructors can make as many group configurations as they need for different purposes (called group categories). Instructors can streamline the creation of group assignment submission folders and group discussion areas with this tool.

Creating groups
Comparison of Group Discussion Methods

The myCourses assignments tool serves as a virtual dropbox for students to turn in their completed work. The assignments tool is capable of integrating with the myCourses grades tool.

5-minute Assignment Tool Training

Assignments Overview

The myCourses Quiz tool is used to conduct simple quiz assessments. Common question types include true/false and multiple choice. The quiz tool is capable of integrating with the myCourses grades tool.

8-minute Quizzes Tool Training

Quiz Overview

 

The myCourses grades tool, commonly referred to as the gradebook, is a convenient place to record and communicate a students grade.

Grades Overview

Releasing Final Grades
The myCourses final grade is not the final grade of record for a student. Those must be entered manually into SIS by the instructor.

  1. Release myCourses Final Grade
  2. Enter and Post Final Grades in SIS

The myCourses Rubrics tool can help you be more consistent in your grading by evaluating assignment or discussion activity based on predefined criteria. Rubrics can also provide students with feedback on areas of strength and that need improvement.

The Class Progress tool provides a dashboard with details of each student's progress within a course. Key things about a student that the faculty can view are grades, total content topics viewed, discussion participation, assignment submissions, quiz submissions, and login history.

View class progress by clicking on Course Admin, then Class Progress. To review more detail for an individual student, click the student's name in the Class Progress list.

Class Progress Overview

Note that the Class Progress Tool login history is for all of myCourses, and not just the one course. To view the last login to your course specifically, open the Classlist tool and view the Last Accessed column.

 

Homepage
The homepage of your course is the first page a student will see. A homepage is made up of multiple widgets arranged in a multi-column layout. The default home page contains information that is helpful to all courses, such RIT policies, announcements and updates areas, and the course calendar. However, you may wish to customize your home page to include different or custom widgets, or change the placement of widgets.

  • Customize the homepage
  • Edit a widget by clicking the down arrow on the widget, then choose Edit This Widget. Click the Content tab. Use the text editor to customize/edit the widget.
  • Create a custom widget (then edit the home page to include that widget)

You can also add an image banner to your homepage to personalize the homepage of your course. This image will also appear on the course tile on the main myCourses page.

Navigation
The main navigation bar (navbar) includes links to myCourses tools and integrations. You can customize the navbar to only show the tools that you will be using in your course.

  • Customize the navbar
  • Create a link group (then edit the navbar to include that link group)
  • Notes:
    • Always keep the Help and myLibrary navbar items so that you and students have easy access to these support resources.
    • For undergraduate courses, keep the Starfish navbar item so you and students have easy access to this tool. Graduate students do not have access to Starfish so that navbar item is not needed.
    • The Course Admin navbar item is only visible to roles with staff permissions such as Instructors, TAs, or Course Copy Access. Always keep this navbar item so you have easy access to the full suite of tools and settings for your course.
    • Any items that don't fit across the width of the navbar will be placed in a More dropdown.

Faculty can copy/import course components from another one of their courses or from a colleague's course.This is helpful if you teach multiple sections of the same course or if multiple faculty teaching the same course will be using the same materials. Note that you must have the Instructor, Support Staff, or Course Copy Access role on both the original course and your destination to copy components so colleagues may need to add you through the Classlist tool.

View instructions for copying components

Components copied from another course shell will retain any start/due/end dates from the original source. There are a few ways you can adjust these dates for the new course:

Self-created Video

Visit the Video Tips for Home Recording site for more information on setting up your recording space and practical methods for successfully recording course videos at home utilizing the tools you have at hand.

Camtasia Studio is available for free for faculty use in credit-bearing courses. View more information about Camtasia and how to access the software.

Watch an overview of the basics of creating videos using Camtasia.

View the Camtasia Tutorials Collection and the Camtasia 2019 Help for more details on using the software.

You may also choose to record yourself while in Zoom to create videos. For more details, review the Recording and Sharing section under Synchronous Meetings. Instructors must review and correct their own auto-generated captions using this process. Zoom recordings should be shared as links and not by using the process indicated below.

Videos made in Camtasia should be uploaded to the Ensemble video server for sharing with students. Faculty can request an Ensemble account by email to ol-media@rit.edu.Once uploaded to the Ensemble video server, videos can then be inserted into myCourses modules or content pages. Instructions can be found here: inserting Ensemble videos into myCourses.

Watch a video tour of uploading videos into Ensemble.

If you need to convert your caption files from one format to another, use this subtitle converter.

Ensure all course media is captioned and that captions are accurate.

Faculty can request captioning for credit-bearing course media using the ILI Media Request Form. Captions take about a week to be returned to you and are automatically attached to the video in Ensemble.

Watch a tour of submitting a caption request through the LI Media Request Form.

Faculty also have the option to self-caption media. Self-captioning requires two things: a text transcript and timing information.

  1. Obtain transcript: Google Docs has a built-in voice-typing tool that can be used to generate a transcript using audio from a microphone input. This could be live-spoken word, or audio from an existing video source played through the computer speakers. Accuracy varies, and will likely need to be edited prior to adding timing information. (Voice-Typing in Google Docs)
  2. Synch timings: Once a video is in Ensemble, instructors can use the Amara Caption Editor to sync a transcript to caption timings. (Self-captioning Using the Amara Caption Editor)

Synchronous Meetings

RIT provides Zoom video conferencing for all students and instructors at all campuses. Both instructors and students can host video meetings. Zoom supports up to 300 attendees.

View information about personal use of Zoom

Access Zoom through:

  • myCourses via the main navigation bar in your course. Use this option for any course-related meetings such as class meetings or office hours. Only instructors can schedule meetings using this option. Both students and instructors can join meetings and view recordings using this option.
    • NOTE: If you do not have this link, it means you have customized the navigation bar for your course. You will need to manually add the Zoom link to your custom navigation bar. View how to re-customize your navigation bar. Select the Zoom option from the list of choices so it connects to rit.zoom.us properly (don't type a new link).
    • You will be asked to grant permission for Zoom to manage your myCourses Calendar the first time you access the Zoom integration on myCourses.
  • The web portal at https://rit.zoom.us. Use this option if you need to change your default settings, access advanced settings, or if you are a student who wants to host a video meeting.
    • Default settings configured on the web portal will be used for all meetings set up in this web portal AND in myCourses. You will be able to override some of these defaults when you create a meeting.

Zoom should not be used while logged in to RIT’s VPN service.

Meetings can be scheduled through the myCourses integration or web portal depending on your role. View instructions on how to Schedule a Zoom Meeting. We encourage you to always schedule a meeting in advance for any course-related activities. If you plan to do unofficial ad-hoc meetings for things like student "coffee chats," generate a new meeting ID instead of using your Personal Meeting ID.

Some things to know:

  • Review our advice about deciding when to hold your synchronous web meetings.
  • For recurring meetings, like office hours, use the No Fixed Time option to maintain flexibility for the meeting room.
  • Some features are not available in the myCourses integration and can only be set in the web portal (https://rit.zoom.us). You can edit your meetings in the web portal after initially creating them in myCourses.

Meetings scheduled through the myCourses integration will automatically be added to the Calendar tool of the course.

You can also share the meeting link through email, the myCourses Content tool, or other means. Choose a method that is only accessible to the desired attendees.

The Department of Access Services can interpret and/or caption live during Zoom meetings. Instructors must coordinate with the Department of Access Services to ensure an interpreter and/or captionist is scheduled for the meeting. If an interpreter/captionist has access to the myCourses shell, they can launch the meeting from the Zoom tab. Otherwise, the instructor needs to send the meeting link to the interpreter/captionist.

If you did not have live captioning in your class/meeting in support of a deaf/HOH student and need captions on a previously recorded meeting, you can edit the auto-generated transcript from Zoom. View Working with Transcriptions in Zoom.

Please briefly check over the transcript to ensure that it accurately reflects the key terms for your class, your transcript is appropriately punctuated and capitalized, and the language has been accurately transcribed. If you feel that the transcript is unclear please submit it for captioning using the normal ILI process described above in the asynchronous video section. It is important to note that files submitted to be captioned through the ILI’s captioning process will be available through Ensemble, RIT’s video server, and will be viewed by students in the myCourses content tool and not through Zoom.

When starting or entering a Zoom meeting, you will be prompted to download Zoom, Open the Zoom app, or start Zoom in your browser.

While in a zoom meeting, you can:

  • Communicate with audio (microphone) and video (webcam)
  • Share computer screen, documents, slides
  • Type in the chat to ask and answer questions
  • Poll students to gauge student understanding and keep the audience active.

View details on the Zoom Meeting Controls and in-meeting security controls.

You can choose to assign someone as a co-host (e.g. TA, colleague) so they can help run the meeting, and monitor for and address any disruptions.​

Synchronous meetings should be recorded so that students who are out sick or have trouble accessing your meeting due to poor internet connection can watch it. View instructions on how to Record a Zoom Meeting. Choose the cloud recording option due to the improved playback and sharing that is part of this option. No personal or confidential information should be discussed if the meeting is being recorded.

For meetings scheduled through the myCourses integration, the cloud recordings will automatically be published to the Zoom link on the navigation bar in the course. We recommend you also post the link to the recording to the myCourses Content tool.

For meetings scheduled in https://rit.zoom.us or the Zoom app, you will need to post the link to the recording in the myCourses Content tool.

NOTE: During periods of high demand, the recordings may take several hours or longer before they are listed. Due to COVID-19, Zoom has been experiencing heavier than usual loads and wait times are extended.

At this time RIT has not implemented any size or storage period limits on recordings stored in the Zoom cloud and there are no plans to change that in the immediate future.

Setting Clear Expectations and Norms
While our students already understand what is expected of them in an in-person classroom, some may not understand what is expected of them now that class is on-line. It may be useful as you begin your online instruction to set norms and expectations with your class. While these can be self-generated or created by the class, you can also utilize the policies of RIT in order to support your claims.

  • The RIT Honor Code expects students and faculty demonstrate civility, respect, and sensitivity toward fellow members of the community. (Honor Code)
  • The Computer Code of Conduct prohibits harmful communication (Computer Code of Conduct)

Restricting Meetings to Authenticated Users
To enhance privacy in your meeting, you can restrict your meetings to only allow authenticated users.

There are three options available:

  • RIT Approved Domains (the default): This allows people with @rit.edu email addresses and external groups that are pre-approved (e.g. captionists, local universities). This option is best for when you plan to have participants without RIT accounts such as interpreters, captionists, or guest speakers.
  • RIT Only:  Only people with @rit.edu email addresses can join. This option can be used when you know all participants will have RIT accounts.
  • Sign in to Zoom: This allows all people with Zoom accounts, as well as anyone logged into Zoom using Google and Facebook. This option is best for public events where you don't mind who attends, but you still want participants to be authenticated through Zoom.

When non-authorized users try to enter your meeting, they will see a notification, such as "This meeting is for authorized attendees only. Click 'Sign In to Join' to sign into Zoom with an email address authorized to join this meeting."

Enabling Restriction Options
RIT has pre-configured authentication options for you, but you will need to confirm that your setting is on to make it so you can choose between the different authentication options when you schedule new meetings.

  1. Log into https://rit.zoom.us/.
  2. Click Settings. Make sure "Only authenticated users can join meetings" is set to On.

Note: If you want to modify your default list of RIT Approved Domains, click Edit next to this option. Add the new domain (everything after the @ in an email address). You can adjust this for individual meetings when scheduling/editing a meeting. If RIT finds it needs to enforce authentication in the future, these options will change and users may lose the ability to edit their personal approved domains.

Setting Authentication as Required on a Meeting

  • Scheduling a new meeting: Check "Only authenticated users can join". If needed, change your authentication option and/or edit RIT Approved Domains just for the one meeting. Click Save.
  • Editing an already scheduled meeting: Log into https://rit.zoom.us/. Click the topic name of the meeting. Click "Edit this Meeting". Check "Only authenticated users can join". If needed, change your authentication option and/or edit RIT Approved Domains just for this one meeting. Click Save.

Note:

  • If you can only see Sign in to Zoom as an authentication option, sign out of Zoom on all devices and sign back in. This should resync the options.

Zoom Waiting Room
Use the waiting room anytime you need to control who is allowed in your meeting and when participants are let into the meeting. Only the meeting host can turn on the waiting room and customize the waiting room screen. Meeting hosts and alternate hosts/co-hosts can move participants from the waiting room to the meeting and back again.

Turn on the waiting room

  • As the default for all new meetings: Go to https://rit.zoom.us/. Click Settings > In Meeting (Advanced). Under Waiting Room, set this to On. Select the All Participants option. The waiting room will be turned on the next time you schedule a meeting.
  • When scheduling a new meeting: When scheduling a meeting through the myCourses integration or in https://rit.zoom.us/, check Enable waiting room.
  • For an already scheduled meeting: Go to wherever you scheduled the meeting (if you are not sure, you can edit all meetings in https://rit.zoom.us/). Click the topic name of the meeting. Click Edit this Meeting. Check Enable waiting room. Click Save.

You can customize the waiting room screen with information to alert waiting participants of what to expect for your meeting. Some suggestions are:

  • What the meeting is for so participants know they are in the right place
  • How you will handle letting in late arrivals (e.g. how often you will check)
  • Any rules/guidelines for your meeting

Once you start your meeting, admit waiting participants into the meeting. You can admit participants one-by-one or review all waiting participants and admit them all at once.

During your meeting:

  • Keep the Participant Panel open so you can see when participants are waiting. Check this periodically for late arrivals or for participants who got dropped off the meeting and need to rejoin.
  • If you have a participant you let in by mistake or that is being disruptive, you can place participants back into the waiting room.

Other Settings
While many of the tools in Zoom are designed to help aid communication and instruction, they can create distractions when used incorrectly. Meeting hosts can:

  • Disable private chat among participants or disable the chat entirely
  • Disable screen sharing for participants or prevent screen sharing when others are sharing
  • Mute participant audio and video
  • Remove a participant from the meeting and prevent them from rejoining

Many settings can be accessed from the Security icon in the Zoom meeting. Also review instructions for In Class Chat Controls and Manage Participants in Meeting.

Accessibility Resources

Accessibility is an important part of an online course and benefits a wide range of learners.

  • One of the easiest ways to create accessible content is to use the tools currently provided within myCourses. These tools are easy to use and create accessible content by default.
  • For documents, slide decks, and other files, consider sharing these in two formats: the original application format (e.g. PowerPoint or Word) and a PDF. PDFs are easier to read on phones and tablets and keep the file size small. The original file format often has application features that are helpful to students who use assistive technology.
  • Include sub-headings in long documents to make them easier to navigate through. Use the built-in heading styles in myCourses and document-creation tools so assistive technology like screen readers knows they are headings.
  • Images should have text descriptions (a.k.a. “alternative text” or “title tags”). myCourses and many document-creation tools have a way to include this.
  • PDF scans of text (i.e. “images of text”) cannot be “seen” by assistive technology and should not be used. A quick way to check is to try highlighting the text. If you can highlight individual letters, it is native text and is probably okay to use. If you are not able to highlight letters/words, find an alternate source of the document.
  • Videos that have an audio component must be captioned. Review the self-created video section for details on captioning.

For more information on creating accessible course materials, review the ILI’s curated list of accessibility resources.

Planning for Future Courses

There are resources ​available for planning for course so that regardless of the delivery mode in which you teach, you’ll be able to continue teaching smoothly and successfully. This guidance is aligned with a robust academic continuity plan to help you be prepared for academic disruptions at all scales, including planned travel, snow days, and public health emergencies.

Learn more about planning resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Given the dynamic and uncertain nature of the pandemic, faculty will be required to identify colleagues who can cover their courses in case of illness. It is also recommend that faculty add colleagues to their myCourses shells as instructors in addition to communicating as soon as possible with college and academic unit leadership if they are unable to teach due to illness.

RIT’s Fall Academic Planning Team has been working with faculty and colleges to identify resource needs across the colleges. The central budget will support the purchase of specific hardware that will enable faculty to provide higher quality instruction in the online environment. More information is coming on how to request these tools. In addition, RIT’s Innovative Learning Institute supports a standard set of technologies such as myCourses, Camtasia, Confluence wiki, iClicker, Zoom, and Qualtrics, and offers a variety of services and recommendations to assist faculty.

RIT is encouraging remote office hours if possible.

Faculty and staff should contact their academic unit head/supervisor to make a request. Equipment that is brought home will need to be documented for inventory and tracking purposes.