Get Assignment

Varieties of Online Learning

The term online learning encompasses various instructional environments and approaches.

Online Courses with Asynchronous Delivery

Courses of this nature do not occur in real-time. Students receive content and assignments, with a designated timeframe to fulfill coursework and exams. Interaction typically happens through discussion boards, blogs, and wikis, eliminating the need for scheduled class meetings. Asynchronous online learning proves beneficial for students facing time constraints or managing busy schedules.

Online Courses with Real-time Interaction

In these course formats, the instructor and all enrolled students engage online simultaneously. Resembling webinars in some aspects, participants interact through text, video, or audio chat. Synchronous learning environments facilitate real-time participation in a course from a remote location.

Blended Learning Courses

Hybrid courses, often referred to as blended courses, offer a mix of in-person and online interaction. Typically, these courses have in-person meetings several times throughout a semester, supplemented by computer-based communication between those face-to-face sessions.

If you need assistance with transitioning a portion of your course to an online format or if you wish to enroll in asynchronous training on designing online course content, please reach out to Steven D'Agustino, the Director of Online Learning, at

Ensuring Continuation

Maintaining communication with students is crucial when there are alterations to your class(es) due to a crisis affecting all or part of the campus. Informing students about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and overall course expectations is advisable. Early and regular communication can alleviate student anxiety and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with individual inquiries.

Course interruptions can happen for various reasons, leading to potential confusion and anxiety among students. It's advisable to have a prepared plan in place to keep students informed about the continuation of the class during such interruptions.

Several recommended practices to consider include:

  • Proactively communicate with students by providing early notification of any changes or interruptions. Students might be uncertain about your expectations regarding their current responsibilities. Clarify whether they should follow the original assignment schedule outlined in the syllabus, and address the status of planned group projects. The content of your communication will depend on the duration of the interruption, which may not be immediately clear. Initial messages should assure students that they won't be held accountable for the disruption and emphasize the incorporation of flexibility and accessibility in any proposed solution.
  • Simplify matters by concentrating on your course rather than the crisis. In cases where an external event impacts the wider university community, crisis communications will be handled by central resources, alleviating the need for you to provide such updates.
  • Be practical by creating a communication plan and sharing it with your students. Consider:
  • Determine your communication method with students. It is recommended to compose a group email and dispatch it to your students in case of a disruption, a process facilitated through Blackboard. Each of your courses has an individual Blackboard page accessible through My.Fordham. Utilize your Blackboard course site to send emails to the entire class. Additionally, decide whether you will communicate synchronously (in real time), asynchronously (with a delay), or a combination of both, depending on your requirements.
  • Determine the frequency of your communication with students. Effectively managing your communication load is crucial, especially as students may start reaching out individually. It's important to establish, from the beginning, the expected response time for students. In crisis situations, students may feel anxious if they don't receive an immediate response. Consider setting up an automatic reply in your Fordham Gmail account to assure students that you've received their message and will respond within a timeframe that you find realistic and suitable for both your capacity and their needs.
  • Establish how students will communicate with you. Although students typicats. This board enables students to post comments and questions in a centralized location, eliminating the necessity for you to navigate through a multitude of emails from numerous students. Given that all students in a class can access the discussion board, you can create a Frequently Asked Questions forum, minimizing the need for repetitive responses to similar questions.
  • Determine how students will engage with each other. In certain instances, students may have existing working groups that they wish to maintain. The Discussion Board also allows students to communicate asynchronously by posting messages to one another. It's essential to set clear communication guidelines for these discussion forums to ensure that expectations for appropriate interaction are well-defined.
  • For synchronous online communication, you can utilize different web conferencing solutions. When planning a web conference, it's essential to evaluate the technical complexity of the tool for both you and your students, check whether Fordham IT can support the chosen web conferencing solution, and ensure that your students have the capability to attend an online synchronous session. Successful participation in such sessions requires students to have internet access with sufficient bandwidth and the necessary technical proficiency. Additionally, consider the possibility that some students may reside in different time zones.

Disseminating Materials

In the case of an interruption, you might need to furnish an updated syllabus that revises the originally planned course activities, assignments, content, and due dates. After establishing clear communication procedures and pathways, consider sending out the updated course materials. There are various methods to accomplish this.

Factors to Consider When Posting New Course Materials:

  • Ensure that students are aware of where to access the materials: The most straightforward approach is to email students the new course materials as attachments or links to online resources such as videos, websites, or podcasts. Alternatively, you can post these items on the Blackboard Discussion forum or directly upload them to your Blackboard course site. Centralizing materials in one location is more practical than sending them via email. If Blackboard is deemed too technically complex for you or your students, you can create a folder on Google Drive and share materials through that platform.
  • Opt for mobile-friendly formats: During a crisis, many students might only have access to a phone, so it is advisable to convert Word documents, PowerPoint slides, and Excel spreadsheets to PDF format, which can be easily read on a mobile device.

Content Creation

While sending documents via email and utilizing discussion forums are effective for maintaining continuity, they may not be optimal instructional strategies for more extended interruptions. Fordham ITAC recommends several tools that you can utilize to create audio and/or video lectures.

Managing Content

Various multimedia resources are accessible online, alleviating the pressure to generate all course materials for your students. In the event of an unplanned interruption, time constraints may hinder the mastery of content creation tools and the subsequent creation, editing, and posting of content. An initial recommended approach is to explore Fordham University Library databases for readings, link to websites, and utilize existing videos and podcasts to seamlessly integrate media into your course.

Encouraging Collaboration

Fordham University classes are designed as small learning communities, emphasizing regular and meaningful interactions between students and instructors. It is crucial to prevent interruptions in the course from disrupting ongoing collaborations and hindering the development of student-centered instruction. Fordham ITAC provides various recommended tools and training for both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration.

Take these recommendations into account when planning for student collaboration:

  • Opt for asynchronous tools when possible: Asynchronous tools extend beyond email and text. For instance, Voicethread enables students to share audio or video comments in an online, mobile-friendly, and accessible environment. Both you and your students already have accounts, and this tool is integrated with Blackboard. It's crucial to keep in mind that students are enrolled in the course to achieve learning objectives related to the discipline, which are often demanding and complex, rather than to acquire technology skills. Therefore, selecting tools with low barriers to use is essential to prevent students from feeling that their inability to master a chosen tool will negatively impact their learning.
  • Communicate the outcomes of collaboration: Inform students about the reasons for collaboration, how their collaborative efforts will be evaluated, and the learning objectives associated with any mandatory collaborations. Similar to your communication plan, a plan for student collaboration should be formulated and shared, detailing the duration and frequency of student-to-student communication.

Evaluating Students

Evaluating students during a course interruption can pose various challenges. Regarding written assignments, there are several alternatives:

  • Document transfer: Students sending you email attachments is not a good idea since this may rapidly become overwhelming and make it hard to keep track of their submissions. An alternative is to ask students to upload files to Google Drive. In this situation, a course folder can be made. You can make subfolders for each individual student if you wish to keep them from seeing each other's work. Students can upload their work to the Blackboard Discussion Forum if maintaining their privacy is not a priority.
  • Blackboard assignment tool: You can make assignments there, and students can upload their work by clicking a link, provided that anonymity is a priority. You may grade and comment on assignments in real time using this solution, eliminating the requirement for you to download assignments and send them back by email.
  • The most noteworthy technique to begin your paper may be to select a insane case from a study that legitimately outlines the subject matter you're composing almost. Maybe you've got a individual encounter that's significant to the subject, otherwise you have a friend's consent to utilize their story.
  • Record organize necessities: Let the understudies know your favored archive organize. In case you don’t, understudies may send you reports in a arrange you cannot open and tending to this will include to your communication stack.
  • Due date adaptability: You will ought to be more adaptable than normal amid a course disturbance because it may take a few time for understudies to ended up acclimated to this unused learning fashion. It is prudent to let understudies know when to communicate that they are having trouble with the task or the innovation as early as conceivable.
  • Tests and tests: Your favored strategy of understudy appraisal may be tests and tests instead of writing assignments. Slate features a test device built in that you simply can use to form evaluations. This apparatus can moreover consequently grade multiple choice questions which may be an successful way to supply understudies with numerical criticism and soothe a few of your appraisal burden whereas you're overseeing communication and substance creation. Online tests can be set so that each understudy gets a diverse arrange of questions and answers. Tests can too be coordinated and relegated a required watchword.
  • Giving criticism – When giving an task, its best to illuminate the understudies when they can anticipate input from you and what kind of criticism they can anticipate. As along with your communication arrange, it’s best to be practical in terms of your turnaround time. Input can be given in written form, but with instruments like screencapture, you'll give video criticism of understudy work.

Choosing Tools

Fordham ITAC has recognized various helpful tools and guides for transitioning content to an online format. When choosing an online tool, it's crucial to take the following into account:

Suitability: Consider whether the tool aligns with your instructional goals. For instance, if many of your students are accustomed to using social media, would employing such a tool in your online class be appropriate?

Ease of Use: When deciding on a tool, assess it from the perspective of a non-user. Consider how easy or challenging it would be for your students to attain proficiency with the tool, enabling them to use it effectively for learning and meaningful participation.

Accessibility: Ensure you select tools that adhere to the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), promoting flexible and adaptable curriculum design to accommodate various learning approaches and engage all students. Additionally, consider meeting legislative requirements to address the specific accessibility needs of learners with disabilities.

Required Equipment: When choosing tools, consider surveying your students' access to technology. For instance, not all students may have webcams or microphones, which could hinder their ability to participate in web conferencing.