Teaching Remotely at Rush

Here at Rush, we prepare you to succeed as you teach from home. Below you will find all the information to get you transitioned to online instruction.

Teaching platforms

Online courses with Blackboard or Canvas

Rush University is in the process of transitioning to a new Learning Management System (LMS). Currently Rush University is transitioning from Blackboard (RULearning) to Canvas (RushUniversity.Instructure).  A Learning Management System is used to support learning by providing a space where materials can be stored and organized, assessments can be given, and students and teachers can interact using the various communication features such as discussions and messaging.

Depending on the university program, you will either access your course in Blackboard or in Canvas or will be using both during a given semester. You can access your courses using your web browser in one of several ways: through the University Portal or for Blackboard via RULearning and for Canvas via RushUniversity.Instructure. The advantage of logging in via the University Portal is that it provides a one-stop shop to Rush news and events, various applications, and WebAdvisor, where you can see your enrolled students, enter your grades, etc. The portal uses single sign-on, so once you sign on here, you can access other applications without logging in again.

Use this E-Learning Teaching Guide for Faculty for step-by-step instructions on adding content to your courses, creating and grading assignments, communicating with students and more.

Video lectures with Panopto

Panopto is a lecture capturing tool that allows faculty to create lecture recording, screen casting, live video streaming and video content management within the learning management system.

You’ll want to download and install Panopto to record videos and presentations. Complete instructions are available in the E-Learning Teaching Guide for Faculty.

Online collaboration with Zoom

Zoom offers a video, audio and screen-sharing experience across Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, Zoom Rooms, and H.323/SIP room systems. Use it to create a virtual classroom space for lectures with chat, polls and other interactivity.

You can add Zoom to your course sites/shells from inside Blackboard, or sign on to Rush’s Zoom web portal with your Rush e-mail address and password.

Use this E-Learning Teaching Guide for Faculty for step-by-step instructions on scheduling, hosting and recording Zoom meetings, sharing controls, creating polls and more.

Exams and evaluations

Our E-Learning Teaching Guide for Faculty has a wealth of information about choosing the right form of assessment, including standardized testing, authentic assessment and project-based learning assessment.

Online exams may be administered online via Blackboard, Canvas, Examity or ExamSoft, part of Examplify. You can choose the software that best fits your course.

Instructions for manually uploading an ExamSoft exam file:

  • If your exam file fails to upload after completing an exam, you may need to upload it to ExamSoft manually.
  • Exam files may fail to upload if Examplify is closed prematurely, or if your computer crashes, is turned off or loses its internet connection before the exam has uploaded.
  • In most cases, Examplify will still upload your exam file automatically after freezing or crashing. You should attempt to re-open Examplify (and restart your computer, if necessary) before proceeding with a manual upload.
  • If you need assistance manually uploading your exam file, contact ExamSoft Support.
Best practices

Encourage interaction and engagement

When students move to an online format, learning should not be self-paced or lonely. Find ways to encourage student interaction and engagement with the content you’re presenting them with or the content they are supposed to read. There should be a value (grade) associated with these activities. Some ideas here are:

  • Have the students create something together for an assignment/activity or collaborate on a document
  • Create an online discussion board with open-ended questions about that unit’s materials
  • Use the case-study method to get them to apply what they should have learned
  • Create a question/answer forum so students have a place to ask questions and this keeps you from answering the same questions multiple times through email (but be sure to log in yourself to Blackboard or Canvas to check for questions)
  • Participate with your students in these activities

Communicate immediately and regularly

In the event of a campus closure, it is very important to communicate to your students right away. Give them information about:

  • Where to find the class schedule in the learning management system
  • Any potential changes to that schedule
  • Any potential changes to procedures
  • Consider creating a FAQ document
  • General course expectations with a change in modality
    • Example: how you will communicate with them, how often
    • How often students should log in to the LMS
    • How often students should check email or course announcements in the LMS
    • When the live online sessions take place

Provide instructor-focused learning

If you already have lectures written for courses as Power Point files, those can be used in a pinch for an online version of your class, but are not ideal as stand-alone “lectures” since they’re used for you to lecture in class. Thus, if you have Power Point presentations, the next best thing is to create a video lecture. You can use Panopto or Screencast-o-matic.

Please use previously-recorded Panopto lectures if they already have closed captions available. Use Screencast-o-matic if you do not have a captioned Panopto video. Contact CTEI@rush.edu if you need help getting access to either of these tools for lecture recordings.

In an emergency situation, even a written lecture is fine. Just save it as a PDF file.

Accessibility
Digital accessibility should be thought of from the start when preparing or designing your course.

Quick tips and tricks to make your content accessible

Check accessibility in your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents 

  • In your document, click File at the tool bar.
  • The document Info window will open.
  • Click on Check for Issues.
  • At the menu, click Check Accessibility. This will check your document for any accessibility issue and flag them for correction. It will also provide suggestions on how to fix the accessibility issues.

Caption your lectures & using videos that have captioning

  • Captioning helps all your learners, not only deaf or hard of hearing students, also it helps those students that are visual learners, seeing the spoken word may be easier to learn content for some students. Captioning also helps students whose English is a second language to be able to read and hear the video. 
  • Panopto offers captioning for recorded lectures. You can also download a script to your Panopto recording for free captioning. Make a transcript using voice to text in Google Docs or Word; provide a link to the transcript next to your video. Dragon transcription software is also available to Rush faculty. Transcripts can also be downloaded to Panopto for more accurate captioning of your video lectures.  

Edit scanned .pdf’s to readable .pdf’s

  • When you scan a document and save it as a .pdf, you are essentially creating an image. Scanned .pdf’s cannot be read by text to speech readers and is difficult for students who have a learning disability such as dyslexia read these scanned documents. Google Docs has a tool that can convert text from an uploaded .pdf or image file.

Ensure accessibility in your learning content

  • Make sure headings and paragraphs are appropriately assigned for the text, which includes assigning headings and paragraphs in tables.
  • Use descriptive links instead of HTML links so that students AND screen readers can easily identify the document. Example:
    • Don’t use: https:// rulearning.rush.edu/bbcswebdav/courses/20935/HealthCare%20Reform -%20CNLs%20Driving%20Outcomes%281%29.pdf
    • Do use: Healthcare Reform—A New Role for Changing Times: Embracing the Clinical Nurse Leader Role àattach the link to the title of the document.
  • Add a title and description to informational images, which will help screen readers identify the image to the student. If the image is a decorative image, please identify it as a decorative image.
  • Ensure there is captioning in videos.

Accessibility and the Learning Management System

  • Blackboard meets most accessibility standards within its LMS features but it does not meet all accessibility standards. However, it is up to the instructor to check their content in Blackboard is accessible.
  • Canvas has an Accessibility Check that is available in every course and built into Pages. Once you enable the Accessibility Checker in a page, Canvas will search through the entire Canvas page and flag any susceptible accessibility issues. It is up to the instructor to fix the accessibility issue to meet standards. For additional information and instructions, please visit this Canvas Instructor Guide link: How do I use the Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor as an instructor?
Resources
Office 365
  • All faculty receive an Office 365 account through Rush, providing access to applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint to help you create materials for your courses. To access Office 365:
Teaching Resources
Technology Guides
Get help

Blackboard support for students:

Blackboard support for faculty:

Support chat for faculty and staff is available overnight and during the weekend when CTEI is closed. Questions requiring the attention of CTEI staff member or another Rush department will be addressed at the beginning of the next business day.

Canvas support for students:

Canvas support for faculty:

Zoom support

ExamSoft support

Other support