Online Teaching Resources
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 online teaching related questions you would like addressed in a future update, please submit them to Adam Clark 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. A general FAQ Section can be found at the bottom of the page.
All faculty who teach online course 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 email@example.com 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.
Using Zoom for lectures and meetings
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
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.
You can find the link to access Zoom through the here Zoom Support page.
Click the "Log In" then enter your Texas State Net ID and Password and complete the two factor login if prompted. This will take you to your account page in Zoom where you can host or schedule meetings.
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 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. 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 a few 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 click on the "Manage Participants" button, then clicking "Invite" on the bottom of the window.
Using Ensemble Anthem and Mediaflo for screen capture and video sharing
Ensemble Anthem is a useful tool that enables you to record whatever is on your screen and share it with others. You can also record voice and/or video to enhance recordings of Power Points, documents, or anything else you need to share on your screen.
The following videos will demonstrate how to use Ensemble Anthem to to record your voice over a Power Point presentation to distribute to classes. The first video will be a focused look at how to access, install, and use the software, while the second video will be a longer demonstration from the History Department's, Dr. Allison Robinson, 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
Please note that the first 20 seconds have no audio.
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 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 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.
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 and computer power. The upload process is actually completing two functions at the same time.
- It is uploading the video to your Mediaflo account
- It is publishing the video once uploaded to Mediaflo
Both of these processes can take a bit of time when done individually, but the process takes even longer when both are done back to back like Ensemble does. The software functions this way, however, to ensure that you do not have to go 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)
Using Remote Desktop (vpn) will allow you to securely access your Texas State office computer while away from campus. This service will give you access to all the files, including share drives or connected drives, that you would from your office.
The following videos will demonstrate how to use Remote Desktop. The first video will demonstrate how to prepare your PC to use Remote Desktop, while the second video will demonstrate 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.
More information on how to access and use Remote Desktop can be found on Texas State's About Virtual Private Network (VPN) website.
Texas State provides step by step instructions to set up Remote Desktop. You can find those instructions below.
Additional Resources Links
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
You can also find the computer name on your PC by:
- 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
You can also find the computer name on your Mac by:
- Open your System Preferences menu
- Click the option for "Sharing"
- The computer name will be displayed in the window that opens
- You will also need the name listed under the "Screen Sharing" heading as well
Rather than Remote Desktop, Mac users can use Screen Sharing to remote into their office computers (see video for a walk through). You can also access your Departmental and Personal share drives through sharing. Below you will find links to step by step instructions for each of these.
Installing and Using 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 with Photoshop, create digital media with In Design and Illustrator, and preform 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. The video below will demonstrate how to sign into Adobe and install their software.
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 a digital signature
- Open the form in Adobe DC
- Click on a signature field (denoted with a little red flag)
- If you do not already have an Adobe Digital ID you’ll be asked to create one
- Enter in the password for the Digital ID
- Save the file
- 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 says “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 not be accepted by the Graduate College since it’s not considered an official signature and is pretty 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 actually 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 and 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 transitions 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.com website in order to sign forms. As we move into an increased amount of business and virtual instruction, it will be critical to have access to these digital signature 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 from 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.
- If students are filling out the top matter, give them clear instructions on how to properly sign the document so the reset of the process goes smoothly.
- A committee chair could include their signature first then send it to the student to fill out the rest, forcing them to 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 there is a written request to do so. 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 is a part of the Office 365 Suite and is available as both a desktop and web based app. 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.
You can use Teams through Office 365 online via their online portal. There is also an 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 trainings for both general questions and more 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, keep track of document updates in real time, and more.
It can be a useful tool for managing projects within an office settings, collaborate on academic work, and delegate tasks to members of a team.
Do not use Microsoft Teams to share documents containing sensitive data. Teams is not currently considered a secure resource and it cannot be used to store or work on any documents with confidential or sensitive data.
No. Teams is not currently considered a secure university resource and no sensitive documents can be uploaded.
Only post documents to Teams if you are confident that they do not contain any student data, account information, grades, or other data types considered sensitive under FERPA, HIPAA, ADA, or other state, federal, or university standards.
If you are unsure whether or not your document contains this data do not post 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and check back frequentlly for answers.
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.
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 exams and assignments.
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 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.
The IT Assistance Center (ITAC) is available 24/7 to hep 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.