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CS Instructional Support

 

Purdue Computer Science

For Fall 2020, Purdue has made the decisions to: 

1) be open for face-to-face instruction if allowed by government and public health criteria. This means offering hybrid courses that combine online and in-person components. On-campus classes may be feasible if classroom capacity permits.More guidelines are expected from Purdue administration [As of 6/2/2020]. 

2) offer a limited set of fully online/distance sections for students who cannot or decide not to be on campus.

 

The information below will assist you with preparing both hybrid and online courses.

 

Table of Contents

Central Course Structure

Establish a single online access point for course content, information, submission, assessment, and communication.

Lectures

Record brief topic-based lectures that can be delivered asynchronously.

Labs 

Coordinate early with TAs on methods and procedures to deliver labs.

Assignments

Require TAs to fully test assignments for errors and familiarity.

Student Interactions

Maintain a clear & constant point of communication and discussion.

Exams / Quizzes 

Create novel exams to fairly assess students remotely.

Teaching Assistants 

Set expectations of duties early on to establish accountability.

Accommodations

COVID19 Precautions

Online CS Orientation

 

 


Central Course Structure

  • Your course is automatically created in Brightspace LMS each semester. https://purdue.brightspace.com/d2l/login
  • All Purdue courses should use Brightspace, which has a template syllabus & structure that can be populated with the course and instructor information. The syllabus can be customized to fit your course.
  • You can access and add CS department shared content (e.g. Netiquette policy/training, academic dishonesty policy).
  • Each Course will have a “Getting Started” module that should contain all the content students need to be aware of to succeed in the course. 
    • Update Course’s “Getting Started” Module with :
      • Course-specific Tool tutorials
      • Course definition of Allowed Collaboration vs Cheating and the penalties for cheating
      • Office Hours & Forum procedures and policies
  • Gradescope (for written assignments), Vocareum (for code submission) and Piazza and Campuswire (for discussion) can all be integrated for centralized course access content distribution. This provides a single site to log into for all course systems.
  • Students overwhelmingly prefer to access all of their coursework in one place. Utilizing Brightspace will help ensure students access your content in a regular and consistent manner. 
  • Divide course content into modules and communicate their requirements to students so they can plan ahead. (give students a clear idea of their workload each week). 

 


Lectures

  • While courses are online, lectures should still be posted on a regular schedule to give students a sense of progress and continuity. You can release lectures based on a variety of schedules (or combination thereof):
    • Weekly: Make all of the module’s lectures available from the beginning of the week. 
      • Benefit: Students can approach content from their own pace, working ahead if they want (but still limited to the module’s content). 
      • Con: Students may be overwhelmed by the number of videos and lose track of their progress. 
    • Daily: Post lectures following a regular daily schedule (essentially following the same schedule as you would teaching in-person).
      • Benefit: Students follow along with content as you release it. You can verify they master a topic before moving on. 
      • Con: Students may be impatient. Students are not able to work according to their schedules (which may be different in a remote environment)
    • Conditionally: Allow students to view the next lecture as soon as they finish the previous one.
      • Benefit: Students have complete control over their schedule and learning in the course.
      • Con: Students have complete control over their schedule and learning in the course.
    • Unscheduled: Post all of the lectures at the beginning of the course. 
      • Benefit: Students can study what they struggle with and move past what they don’t.
      • Con: It is unlikely that students will be able to manage the content. Students will likely feel overwhelmed. 
  • Record lectures and make them available to download through Brightspace/Kaltura. 
    • You can adopt a variety of lecture styles depending on the needs of your course and student preferences. 
      • Narrated presentation: A presentation accompanied by an audio lecture. 
        • Benefit: The lecture is lightweight, requires less memory, and is easier to download. 
        • Con: Students may not feel a connection without seeing your face, and it may be more difficult to explain content without being able to create diagrams live. 
      • Live-style presentation: A video recording of a lecture in front of a drawing surface. 
        • Benefit: Diagrams can be drawn and explained in real-time without digital tools. You can appear in the video to give students a personal connection. 
        • Con: Recording live may mean multiple takes (attempts) due to mistakes or errors. The audio and video quality is dependent on your environment. 
      • Digital live-style presentation:
        • Benefit: Digital tools (Kaltura Capture, Camtasia) allow you to design the lecture environment and control all the variables. Digital drawing and presentations can replicate a traditional classroom lecture. 
        • Con: May take more time to prepare. 
    • Synchronous lectures (live-streaming) is not recommended due to the difficulty students in other time zones may have. 
    • Recordings allow those students to watch the lectures at a time that is convenient for them.
    • Downloads are also helpful because students with unstable / slow internet connections can download the file while their internet is functioning properly. 
  • Record lectures in shorter segments subdivided by topic (10-20 minutes each). 
    • Students overwhelmingly prefer shorter videos.
  • Set up a mechanism where students can ask questions on the lecture topic (similar to how they would during a live class session)
    • You could create a survey form where students submit questions and you create a Question & Answer (Q&A) video at the end of the week addressing them.
    • Another option is a pinned post in the discussion forum where students post their questions and you reply. 

Labs

  • Labs are a facilitated or guided assignment intended to be completed in a short period of time and are low stakes.
  • If live :
    • Use queuing and video conferencing tools to provide live feedback
    • Hold multiple times suitable for a variety of time zones. 
    • The CS Instructional Support team can help organize this for you. 
  • If self-paced :
    • Increase documentation and provide more-detailed instructions to compensate for the inability to ask live questions. 
    • Utilize asynchronous forums for question posting. A bulletin structure where all student questions are centralized will provide a resource to students. 

Assignments

  • Utilize an online submission tool for assignments:
    • Written assignments - Gradescope
    • Code - Vocareum
    • Brightspace also has assignment submission tools.
  • Conditional Releases in Brightspace allow you to require that students complete tasks before an assignment is available.
    • For example, you could require that students get 100% on a quiz before they can do the homework. 
    • Students should be able to preview, but not access locked content. This ensures students are aware of the upcoming assignments. 
    • Conditional releases ensure students go through content prior to attempting assignments, reducing the number of questions posted that are answered by the content. 
  • Develop assignments with an understanding that many students may not be able to receive synchronous TA help. 
    • A “Potential Issues” or “How to Debug” section could help minimize the number of duplicate questions you receive. 
  • Require TAs to test assignments for errors. 
    • This has the additional benefit of making TAs aware of the implementation requirements and common issues that will occur while students develop their solutions. 

Student Interactions

  • Utilize an online forum tool (Piazza, Campurswire) to discuss content with students asynchronously. Note: This is a legal requirement for online courses.
    • Try to ensure all questions are answered within 4 hours of them being posted. 
    • Students who do not receive help through official channels are more likely to seek it elsewhere (posting on Reddit or Stackoverflow, messaging their peers directly, asking friends, etc.). 
  • If you are holding synchronous help sessions, schedule them at a variety of times to ensure students in other time zones can participate. Record them and post the videos if it is relevant to your class. 
  • Set a defined Netiquette Policy and enforce it. A default policy is included in the Syllabus on Brightspace and can be adjusted to suit your course. 
    • CS Instructional Support developed a TA specific policy which you can review here. This policy is included in the TA Training modules. 
    • We also created a student-oriented policy, available here. This policy can be added as a Brightspace module. 

Exams / Quizzes 

  • Quizzes/exams can be created in Brightspace & Gradescope with many customizable options (one question at a time, randomized questions and answers, etc.)
  • Formulate Questions that are unlikely to be already available online or easily searchable. Then search the web for each question and abandon/modify it as needed.
  • We recommend not allowing any clarification questions for online exams (that is, posts on forums or emails out to students). It is impossible to know if all students will see the clarification. 
  • Possible exam Strategy #1:
    • Allow Cheats sheets or open book but no discussion with others
    • Provide a significant number of questions (must be able to complete in 2 hours)
    • Random order (Questions/answers) & one Questions at a time / Questions pools
    • Vary Parameterizable answers 
    • Tools : Brightspace
  • Possible exam Strategy #2:
    • Provide free response / conceptual questions to increase variability in answers
    • Tools : Gradescope & Brightspace
  • Possible exam Strategy #3:
    • Utilize 3rd party online proctoring tools
    • Note: not all students may have access to a webcam or stable internet 
    • Tools : Examity & Respondus
    • Note: Be aware that lock down browsers like RESPONDUS, can interfere with various types of assistive technology solutions like: screen readers, screen magnification, etc. It is highly discouraged to use a lock down browser for exam administration.
  • Possible exam Strategy #4:
    • Individual oral exams.
  • For Spring 2020 exams, University guidelines required a 24 hour window of availability and at least 2 hour time limit to complete the final exam. While the guidelines for Summer and Fall have not been declared yet, it is reasonable to assume that they will be similar. 

Teaching Assistants 

  • GTAs and UTAs are allotted per departmental guidelines. GTA hiring is managed by Monica Shively. UTA hiring is managed by Victory Soe. For courses with both, recommended roles and duties are defined below.
  • Establish “Active” duties for UTAs , these are responsibilities where the UTA must actively be engaged in the defined task.
    • Virtual Office Hours
      • Providing synchronous help by hosting live video / audio conferences where students can ask questions.
      • Tools: Brightspace Virtual Classroom, Webex, Zoom, etc. One tool should be selected and made the course standard. 
      • Please notify the CS Instructional Support team at instruction@cs.purdue.edu of your Office Hours schedule. This allows all CS students to have a single location to visit to find the schedule for all their courses. 
    • Active Forum Monitoring (All day vs Time Frames)
      • Forums allow students to post questions and TAs to respond asynchronously. 
      • TAs should monitor the forum based on a set schedule, either assigned to a particular day of the week or scheduled hourly. A schedule ensures TAs are aware of what they are expected to do and when. 
      • TAs should also be briefed on question-answering etiquette and expectations for the course (how much assistance they are expected to provide).  
      • Tools: Piazza, Campuswire
    • Live chat monitoring
      • Some services provide the ability for TAs and students to send messages in real-time. 
      • TAs should monitor the chat on a set schedule, otherwise students may develop unrealistic expectations for response times (for example, messaging at 2:00AM asking to debug a critical issue). The schedule should be publicly available to students so they know when the service is being monitored. 
      • Both TAs and students should have to follow the Netiquette standard. 
      • Tools: Campuswire (Note: Direct messaging tools like GroupMe are not recommended) 
    • Content Support Preparation
      • TAs can assist with both writing assignments and with testing them. 
      • All assignments should be tested at least once, and new assignments can be tested multiple times. 
      • Testing can be more than completing the assignment. It can also include implementing solutions in unusual ways to try to complicate grading. 
      • TAs who test are better prepared to answer student questions, but those who write content should remain anonymous (students may target the author with extensive questions or hostility). 
  • GTAs should Passively fill gaps in UTA support coverage, in addition to Office hours and Content Support Preparation. 
    • Scheduling one GTA to be the “Day Manager/Coordinator” is recommended.
      • The GTA would be responsible for coordinating all UTAs during the day assigned, along with maintaining full Support Coverage.
  • In cases of large course size, specializing UTAs into an Online Forum TA or an Office Hour TA is recommended.
    • This will increase the quality of support given to students.
    • TAs can focus on providing their specific form of support rather than alternating between multiple responsibilities. 
  • The CS Instructional Support team will be providing training to all TAs over the following topics: 
    • Intercultural communication and digital communication
    • Online Etiquette (“Netiquette”)
    • Online Instructional Support
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Online Instructional Tools  
    • GTA - Project Management / Leadership

Accommodations

  • Students with accommodations letters who wish to utilize their accommodations in your course will now have their letter sent to you via the Disability Resource Center’s (DRC) automated delivery system (via MyPurdue). 
  • Utilize accessible design and delivery practices for course content.
    • The Purdue Innovative Learning Team created a video playlist with guidance for Word and PDF documents. 
    • General guidelines include utilizing alt text for images and diagrams, organizing documents using headings, and using descriptive text for links. 
  • Brightspace, Gradescope, and Vocareum all allow for individual extensions should any student’s accommodations require additional time on assignments or exams. 
    • In addition to specific time extensions, the DRC recommends providing a 15% time increase to students who require breaks during exams. 
  • Add captions to video lectures. 
    • Kaltura Capture offers an automated captioning tool with 70%-80% accuracy. We recommend assigning a TA to revise the captions after generating them.  
  • Show your face during video instructions. 
  • Provide students with assignments in a Word document. This format provides a maximum flexibility with screen reading technology.
  • DRC guidance on best practices is also available here

COVID19 Precautions 

  • Current Purdue policy requires wearing a face mask when in indoor public spaces and when social distancing is not possible.
  • Maintain social distancing during class, office hours, and labs. 
    • Avoid touching shared equipment whenever possible. 
  • The CDC and Purdue have released a variety of guidelines on appropriate actions to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID19. They are summarized below, but we recommend reviewing the official guidance available from Purdue here and the CDC here
    • Work and communicate remotely whenever possible.
    • Do not come to campus if you are sick. Seek medical attention if needed.
    • Maintain social distancing and wear appropriate protective gear.
      • Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
      • Avoid physical contact such as handshakes. 
      • When in public, wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth. 
    • Wash hands often and get vaccinated for the seasonal flu.
      • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
      • The annual influenza vaccination will be required for all students, faculty, and staff.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
      • Ensure regular disinfection of areas where gloves are not used, such as door handles, light switches, common equipment, and workstations before and after use.
    • Many rooms will be operating at reduced capacity in order to ensure proper social distancing. All activities on campus must adhere to the maximum occupancy allowed for each shared area. 
    • Keep clothing, belongings and personal and common spaces clean. 
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 

Purdue COVID-19 Updates


CS Instructional Support  

The Computer Science Instructional Support team will assist you in all areas of support for a CS course. Support may include (but not limited to) course coordination, content creation, TA management, course tools setup, and exam management.  All team members are designated to specific courses to assist based on specific skill-sets and knowledge-base. They are trained and experienced in all instructional tools and methods recommended. Contact the team at instruction@cs.purdue.edu .

 

 

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2020 11:07 AM

Department of Computer Science, 305 N. University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Phone: (765) 494-6010 • Fax: (765) 494-0739

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