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Online Teaching Resources

This page is intended to be a resource to assist faculty with general technology questions, particularly those related to online teaching methods.  If you have online teaching related questions you would like addressed in a future update, please submit them to Adam Clark via email at adam.clark@txstate.edu

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.  A general FAQ Section can be found at the bottom of the page

All faculty teaching online courses are required to complete a certification course through the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.  The required Teaching Online at Texas State Hybrid Course can be found on the ODEL website.  Please contact ODEL at distanceed@txstate.edu or 512-245-2322 with questions regarding certification. 

Additional information, training, and resources can be found at the Texas State Teaching, Learning, and Working Remotely at TXST page. 


Primary Topics

Using Zoom
(Video Conferencing)

Microsoft Teams
(Collaboration)

Using Ensemble Anthem
(Screen Capture/Voice Over)

FAQ
(General Help)

Using Remote Desktop
(Access your office from home)

Adobe Software
(Read PDFs, Photoshop, Adobe Sign, etc.)

Using Zoom for lectures and meetings

Zoom can be a helpful tool for conducting class meetings, holding office hours, or working with colleagues off campus.

This video below will demonstrate how to use Zoom for lectures and other meetings. 

It includes the following topics:

  • Signing into Zoom from the Texas State website
  • Joining, hosting, and scheduling meetings
  • Adjusting audio and video settings
  • Using the chat feature 
  • Recording meetings
  • Screen sharing for Power Points or other media
  • Using Zoom to track meeting attendance
  • Zoom FAQs

    • The decision to use Zoomdepends 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, 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. 

    • It is important to ensure that you are always signed into Zoom your Texas State Zoom account when scheduling and/or conducting meetings.  If you do not use your official university account you may be locked out of security settings and the ability to do tasks like screen sharing. 

      Your students should also be using their university Zoom accounts when they attend classes.  This is not a requirement, and they can still attend class using a personal account, but using a Texas State account will ensure that they do not have issues joining meeting and participating in class. 

      Texas State Portal
      You can access your university zoom account by signing in through the Texas State Zoom Portal.  You will be required to go through two factor authentication after clicking the “Log in” button, and then you will find your Zoom account page where you can both start meetings you already have scheduled, or schedule future meeting for classes.  This portal also contains all of the settings for recording lectures, the page to download captions and recorded talks, and basically everything else you’d need to do in Zoom.  This page is your best friend so please check it out. 

      Zoom App
      When opening the Zoom desktop app you will be presented with a “Sign In” page.  DO NOT enter in your email on the first sign in screen as this will take you to an account, that while it may use your Texas State email, it is not your official university account.  I know that doesn’t make a lot of sense, but please trust me on this!  I’m pretty sure that this is the place where most of our students and faculty are getting hung up and having issues.  Please follow the process below. 

      When you sign in through the Zoom desktop app you MUST click the button to “Sign In with SSO” to get to your university account.  This will open a new window that says “Sign In with SSO” and you will be prompted to “Enter your company domain.”  In this box you must enter “txstate” to get to our official accounts.  Once you type “txstate” and press enter you will be taken to an official Texas State login page where you will sign in with you NetID and password and will then need to go through two factor authentication before getting to your university account.  I know it’s extra steps, but that’s what we require per IT Security.

    • Texas State offers numerous training resources for Zoom on the Zoom Support page. 

    • There are two primary ways to track attendance in Zoom should you wish to have a class attendance policy.

      1.  You could 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 to review class logs to determine class attendance.

      2.  Zoom logs meeting 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.  Once meetings are found, you can track who joined the meeting and how long they were actively signed into the meeting.  This data can also be exported as an Excel file for your records.   

    • In early April 2020, Zoom updated it's platform to include new security features with the goal of making Zoom meetings more secure.  Full details about Zoom security can be found on their Privacy and Security page.

      Below is a list of some of the new security features included in the April update.  This list will be updated when/if new security features are added through future updates to Zoom.

      • A new "Security" button was added to the main meetings tools menu.  This "Security" button controls meeting features such as screen sharing, meeting locks, chat, name changing, and others.
      • The option to allow other meeting participants to share their screens can now be found by clicking the "Security" button.  The option to let others share their screen should default to no.  You must click the "Security" button then click the "share screen" option before anyone else can share their screen during a meeting.
      • You now have an easy way to lock the meeting once it starts using the "Lock Meeting" feature found by clicking the "Security" button.  Turning on this feature will block additional participants from joining the meeting once it has begun. 
      • The meeting ID number no longer displays on the top of the meeting screen so it is more difficult for others to share the code to join the meeting.
      • The old "Invite" button has been replaced by the "Security" button.  Invites to ongoing meetings must now be sent by clicking the "Manage Participants" button, then clicking "Invite" on the bottom of the window. 
    • Zoom gives you the ability to record classes and meetings for future viewing and distribution. 

      Support is mixed on the issue of recording classes. Weigh your options and decide what is best for your teaching style and individual classes. 

      Some of the arguments are:

      In Support

      • Provides flexibility for students who cannot attend class
      • Allows for more detailed study material
      • Allows students to revisit discussions for better understanding of material

      In Opposition

      • Gives students an excuse to miss class if they know the lecture will be distributed
      • Stretches best practices for online teaching because it is difficult for some students to maintain interest with no engagement during a 60+ minute lecture
      • Students cannot easily ask questions when watching a recording so mastery of material may suffer
      • Privacy concerns (see "Zoom Privacy Concerns" FAQ below)
    • Issues with the Release of Student Information

      One of the main issues with recording lectures is student confidentiality.  Per FERPA guidelines, faculty are not permitted to share any content among  students that contains voice or images without their written consent.  This means that should you decide to record a lecture, you cannot share it with any other section of that course without written permission form each student or you will be in violation of FERPA. 

      For example, if you are teaching a M/W 1310 class and a T/H 1310 class, you cannot record your M/W Zoom classes and share them with the T/H sections even if covering identical material.  Sharing these lectures would violate FERPA guidelines by distributing student information outside of their specific enrolled section.  You can, however, share the M/W Zoom video with the M/W section as study material, or to a student who missed class.

      While we must abide by FERPA guidelines to protect student information, there are occasions, such as guest lectures or particularly important class/study sessions that you may want to share with others outside of the class session.  If, for any reason, you want to share video content with student likenesses outside of the course section it was recorded in, you can do so only if you obtain written permission from all students involved to use their likeness.  Please contact the Office of Distance and Extended Learning for questions, clarification, or specific policy statements.

      Issues with Student Recording Class Sessions or Taking Screen Captures

      While you as the faculty member have control over who can record a class session using the record feature in Zoom, and everyone in the meeting will be alerted should anyone start a recording, participants do have the ability to record Zoom meetings without your knowledge using third party software.  Software packages designed for screen capture such as Ensemble Anthem can also be used to record Zoom meeting without host/participant consent.  Texas State does not provide student access to Ensemble Anthem, but students may access it through other means or have similar software they could use to record lectures.  Additionally, programs such as the Snipping Tool in Windows, or the "Print Screen" feature on both PC and Mac can be used to capture notes and/or student images without participant knowledge or consent. 

      If you suspect a student has been recording lectures without your consent to distribute them online, share them with other students, or use them in any way not expressly approved by you, the instructor, speak to your department Chair to determine your options.  A statement can be placed in your syllabus to expressly forbid any outside recording or screen capturing to ensure a clear classroom expectations have been established in case there is ever an issue.

    • The accuracy of captions generated by Zoom are not guaranteed and are not considered ADA compliant per federal, state, and Texas State policy.  They may be accurate in some cases, but should you need ADA-quality captions, you must edit the caption file using a text editor (see below for how to find a text editor).

      How to turn on and use Zoom transcripts

      Turning on Zoom's Automatic Transcripts

      • From the Texas State homepage, search for Zoom, click the first link, then click the “Log In” button and follow the prompts for two-factor authentication.  
      • From the main Zoom menu, click on “Settings” from the left-hand menu, then click on the “Recording” tab from the top menu.
      • In the “Recording” menu, check the box next to “Audio transcript.”

      Starting Auto Transcripts in a meeting

      • Click on the “Record” button in Zoom and choose “Record to the Cloud.”
        • You must record to the cloud to generate transcripts.
        • Videos recorded to the cloud are automatically deleted after 7 days.
      • When you’re finished with your meeting, click on “Stop Recording” then exit out of the meeting.
        • If you do not click “Stop Recording” before leaving the meeting your recording might not save.

      Obtaining and Using Zoom Transcripts

      You have three options for transcripts  

      1. Have students view the video on Zoom using their caption program.  They must watch it within 7 days.
      2. Download the video from Zoom and upload it to your Mediaflo account and add the associated caption file.
      3. Turn the caption file into a transcript and send it to your students.

      1.  Using Zoom Captioning Program

      • From your “Recording” menu in Zoom, click on name of the video you want to share, then click “Copy shareable link” and past it into an email or to Canvas
      • Student will click the link and be taken to a vide player screen where they can see the transcript and turn caption on the video.

      2.  Using Mediaflo

      • From the “Recording” menu in Zoom, click on the option for “More” then click “Download (3 files).”  If you do not have at least three files, then the transcript is not ready.
      • Save the files to your computer
      • From the Texas State homepage, search for “Mediaflo” and login through the portal.
      • Add the video to your Mediaflo library.
      • Once the video is ready, click “Edit” on the video menu then click on the “Caption” tab on the top menu.
      • Click “Upload Caption File” and drag the .vtt file downloaded from Zoom into the box that says “Drag file here.”  Click continue, then click publish.

       3.  Editing captions and/or turning the caption file into a transcript

      • Find the caption file you saved to your computer.
      • Right click on the file, choose, “Open With” then select a plain text editor like “Notepad” on PC or “TextEdit” on Mac
      • You will need to edit the file before it is usable as a transcript which will be labor intensive depending on the length of the video.  
      • The standard format for a .vtt caption file is:

      WEBVTT
      1
      00:00:02.879 --> 00:00:06.569
      Adam Clark: And now this is going to be recorded.
      2
      00:00:08.160 --> 00:00:10.830
      Adam Clark: So I'm going to go ahead and share this screen here.
      3
      00:00:12.870 --> 00:00:21.690
      Adam Clark: And we'll go through how to get all that setup so from the Texas State homepage. You want to go to search and you want to search for zoom
      4
      00:00:24.750 --> 00:00:33.660
      Adam Clark: And click this top link here and then you want to click this big login button and that'll take you into zoom interface.

      • To edit the file as a caption you must keep the basic format and only edit the incorrect text.  Be sure the click "Save" and not "Save As" when done because the file must remain a .vtt to be used in Mediaflo.
      • To convert the file to a transcript you can remove the timestamp information and only keep the text.  You will then want to edit the formatting of the text to convert it to a more easy-to-read document.  A transcript file can be saved as a Word document, PDF, or other text file.

Using Ensemble Anthem and Mediaflo for screen capture and video sharing

Ensemble Anthem is a useful tool that enables you to record your screen and share it with others.  You can also record voice and/or video to enhance PowerPoints, documents, or anything else you wish to share on your screen. 

The following videos will demonstrate how to use Ensemble Anthem to to record audio over a PowerPoint presentation.  The first video focus on how to access, install, and use the software, while the second video is a demonstration from Dr. Allison Robinson (History Department) on how she uses Ensemble Anthem for her history class lectures.

The first video will cover:

  • How to request an Ensemble Anthem account
  • How to log into Mediaflo to get started with Ensemble Anthem
  • How to install Ensemble Anthem
  • How to use Ensemble Anthem to record voice over a Power Point
  • How to save recordings to your Mediaflo account
  • How to send videos to students
  • Ensemble Anthem FAQs

    • 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 or lectures that do not require much student interaction.  Ensemble Anthem allows you to record lectures in advance and share videos with students when needed, eliminating the need for 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 can 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 distributing a static video, students 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 Ensemble Anthem 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 to access the request form.

    • You can sign into Mediaflo, install Ensemble Anthem, and view/share your content from the Welcome to Mediaflo! page.

    • More information on Ensemble Anthem can be found on the Ensemble Anthem support page.

    • The time it takes to upload your video to Mediaflo will vary depending on your internet speed, computing power, and the size of the video you are uploading.  Uploading videos can be resource intensive since it is completing two processes simultaneously.

      • It is uploading the video to your Mediaflo account
      • It is publishing the video once uploaded to Mediaflo

      Individually, both of these processes can take a bit of time to complete, but that time is increased when completed simultaneously.  While it may seem slower, simultaneous processing in Ensemble ensures that you do not have to go back into Mediaflo and publish your own content which ultimately saves time and work on your end. 

      Full length lecture videos are going to take some time, likely over an hour, to upload so please be patient.


Using Remote Desktop (VPN)

Remote Desktop (VPN) allows you to securely access your Texas State office computer from off campus.  This service provides remote access to the files, share drives, and connected drives you use in your office.

The following videos will demonstrate how to use Remote Desktop.  The first video demonstrates how to prepare your PC to use Remote Desktop.  The second video demonstrates how to log into your PC from off campus. 

Note that the videos below only demonstrate how to use Remote Desktop on a PC.  Texas State's VPN service is available to both PC and Mac (Mojave and later) systems, as well as many tables and cell phones.  Helpful links can be found below.


Installing and Using Adobe Creative Cloud Software

Adobe Creative Cloud software is available to all Texas State students, faculty, and staff.  Adobe programs will allow you to read and edit PDF documents, edit pictures with Photoshop, create digital media with In Design and Illustrator, and preform many other tasks. 

New licensing agreements with Adobe now require users to download and install the software using their NetID and two-factor authorization.  The video below will demonstrate how to sign in and install Adobe software.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud FAQs

    • 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. 

    • Signing Instructions | You MUST have Adobe DC to use e-signatures 

      1. Open the form in Adobe DC
      2. Click on a signature field (denoted with a little red flag)
      3. If you do not already have an Adobe Digital ID you’ll be asked to create one
      4. Enter in the password for the Digital ID
      5. Save the file
      6. Email the file to the next person who needs to sign the form

      Once this process is done correctly the first time it will be impossible for anyone else to sign the form incorrectly. 

      What not to do
      Do not use the pen/signature icon at the top of the screen that says “Sign document by typing or drawing a signature” as this will break the form.  If you use this icon, the form will lock and no one else will be able to add any additional information to the form.  Adobe makes this clear because when you add your signature with this method a box appears that reads “When you save a form with a signature or initials you will no longer be able to edit the existing form field.”  There is also a chance that the form will be unacceptable by the Graduate College as this is not an official e-signature, and is easy to counterfeit.  

      The main issue
      The form is not broken; it’s actually working exactly how it’s meant to.  The problem is that it’s a very secure form, and signing it using the pen/signature option is an unsecure signing method.  It is my understanding that the Graduate College generally only accepts original signatures (at least until recently), or scans of originals, to ensure that our faculty members are the ones signing these forms.  They have started allowing the Adobe Digital ID signature because it is password protected and mostly guarantees that the faculty members themselves are signing the forms.  Anyone could download the form from the Grad College website and use the pen/signature tool to “sign” the names of their committee and submit it.  However, using the Digital ID ensures the signatures were done by the person with the signature password.  They are also dated, time stamped, and linked to an email address for extra security.    

      Two Most Common Issues

      • The person signing does not have Adobe DC installed.  Texas State transitioned to DC about 3-4 years ago so you should have it on your university computer already.  If not, you’ll need to download it from the Adobe website in order to sign forms.  As we move into more e-business and virtual instruction, it will be critical to have access to these digital tools so please install Adobe DC if you don’t have it.  Instructions can be found on the Online Teaching Resources Site Above
      • The person who initially started the form used the wrong signature and everyone else followed suit, but without adding dates.  I’ve seen several forms where most of the student, and sometimes faculty, info was filled in, and there were signatures from several people, but no dates.  This means that the first person to use the form filled out the top matter and faculty names, but the initial signer, likely the student, used the wrong method which broke the form for everyone else.  Faculty could still sign using the pen/signature tool, but no one could add dates and the form would have not been accepted.  In these cases, the process would need to start from scratch with a fresh form so everything could be signed properly.    

      Potential Solutions

      • If students are initiating the form, give them clear instructions on how to properly e-sign the document so the rest of the process goes smoothly.
      • A committee chair could e-signature first, then forward it to the student ensuring they e-sign it properly (not ideal since the Chair would have to sign before the student)
      • Print, sign, scan, then email the form to the next person so they can sign it.
      • Committee members can sign on the behalf of other committee members as long as a written request is in place.  For example, a committee Chair can sign for an outside committee member if that members emails the Chair and explicitly asks them to sign on their behalf.  That request can then be sent along with the form in the case of a digital signature, or it can be printed and signed by the Chair.  

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a part of the Office 365 Suite and is available as both a desktop and web based application.  Teams is great for collaboration, communication via chat, phone, and video conferencing, document sharing, and more. 

Teams is not currently considered a secure resource by the university and should never be used to store, share, or work with documents containing sensitive or confidential information. 

  • Microsoft Teams Resources

    • You can use Teams through Office 365 online via their online portal.  There is also a desktop application that can be downloaded after signing into the online portal.

    • Texas State offers a wide range of support topics for Microsoft Teams through the Teams Support Portal.  They also offer web training for both general questions and specific use cases.

    • Microsoft Teams is a great program for group collaboration and is useful for staff projects, faculty groups, class projects, and more.

      Teams allows users to add members to groups, share documents, have discussions via chat, phone, and video calls, track document updates in real time, and more. 

      It can be a useful tool for managing projects within an office setting, collaborating on academic work, and delegating tasks to team members.

    • Yes, within reason.  The Information Security Office has recently approved Teams for the handling of some sensitive information.  This is limited to brief discussion of student information in private chat groups, or sharing files through the files portal.  Teams should not, however, be used for long term storage of student records or other sensitive data. 

      It is a best practice to avoid long term storage of sensitive data on any share platform.  Sensitive data should be stored on a secure computer or hard drive and only shared when necessary.  

      If you are unsure if your document contains sensitive data, do not share it.

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 adam.clark@txstate.edu and check back frequently for answers.

  • Classroom Technologies have recently installed new document cameras in all classrooms across campus.  These cameras work not only as a standard document camera, but give you the ability to live stream your lectures using Zoom, Teams, or other video conferencing platforms. 

    The cameras are being installed as quickly as they can, but will not be in all rooms until the week before the Fall 2020 semester begins.  If you would like to see if your classroom has a new camera you can find that information on ITAC's Supported Classrooms Website.  Texas State has also established a Webcam and Microphone page dedicated to the new cameras with links to training, FAQs, and technology guides. 

    The following video offers a brief demonstration of the new classroom web cameras.  It is highly recommended that if you plan to stream your class sessions in the Fall that you take some time before the start of the semester to visit a classroom and familiarize yourself with the technology beforehand.

    Please note that in classrooms that contain both a PC and Mac, only the PC can be used with the web camera to stream lectures.  Both PC and Mac will be able to use the document camera as a standard document camera, but only the PC is set to use them for Zoom.  The cameras will still work on Macs in classrooms that only have a Mac. 

     

  • Online Teaching Topics

    • Texas State has a wide range of resources dedicated to remote teaching, learning, and working.  You can access these resources from the Teaching, Learning, and Working Remotely at TXST website.

    • Please note: specific questions regarding general ADA policy and/or logistics of online teaching with specific student accommodations should be directed to the Office of Disability Services.  Contact them from the ODS Website, via email, or by calling 512.245.3451.

      Online learning for students who require an interpreter in class can introduce logistical questions that do not arise in a normal face-to-face class setting.  The Office of Disability Services has worked to ensure all of our students have equal access to class material and instruction while participating in online classes via Zoom or other video conferencing platforms.   

      There has been some confusion on how students will attend virtual class sessions.  The steps below document the process for students and faculty in an attempt to mitigate confusion as we continue with online learning.  This page only addresses the process of using interpreters in class, not how students request accommodations.  Students will still be required to make both ODS and the professor aware of any needed accommodations so appropriate arrangements can be made. 

      This will be the general process for students needing an online interpreter.  

      • As usual, the student/instructor will be provided two interpreters during class.
      • If the student who needs the accommodation is in the physical classroom, the interpreters will also be in the classroom and everything will proceed as usual.
      • If the student is online via Zoom (or other virtual platforms), the interpreters will be online via Zoom from a remote location and do not attend the lecture in person.
      • When interpreting online, each interpreter will have their own laptop and web camera and will access the Zoom with students.  Faculty must provide links to the online class to both interpreters.  Without links, interpreters will be unable to join the class and the student will not have access to the accommodation. 
      • When online, the student needing the accommodation must find and pin the two interpreter’s camera views so they are always visible.  Instructions on pinning camera views can be downloaded here | Adding A Sign Interpreter To A Zoom Online Training.  This document should should be provided to students who need an interpreter so they know how to pin the cameras.  This ensures the interpreter's video feed is always visible to the student throughout the lecture.
      • Since there are two interpreters, when one of them is not actively interpreting, they will turn their camera off so there is no confusion as to whom the student watches.  
      • The student will see three video feeds during a lecture: the professor, the active interpreter, and a blank screen from the inactive interpreter.  
    • It is important to remember that students taking online tests 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 testing is fair for all students. 

      Some strategies include:

      Using Turnitin to check for plagiarism on exams and assignments.  

      Using testing resources within Tracs or Canvas to set time limits, randomize questions, and setup online assessments.

    • It is important to keep in mind that not all students will have equal access to high speed internet.  Hosting lectures with a conferencing service such as Zoom requires faster internet access than posting a Power Point presentation on Tracs/Canvas.  You will need to communicate with students in advance to ensure everyone has reliable internet access before finalizing lesson plans. 

    • 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.