Web Tools for Flu Season

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The Federal Government just released: CDC Guidance for Responses to Influenza for Institutions of Higher Education during the 2009-2010 Academic Year. In this report the CDC recommends “Distance learning or web-based learning may help students maintain self-isolation.”

Our VP of Academic Affairs asked me to put together a list of eLearning tools we have available to faculty if we experience a flu outbreak or similar crisis during the 2009-10 school year. This was fairly easy to do as we have a good selection of online learning applications. Here is a quick summary:

  • Blackboard: Asynchronous and synchronous discussions, online quizzing, document repository, wiki, blog, plagiarism detection software, gradebook
  • Adobe Connect Pro: Synchronous conferencing, chat, audio, video
  • Camtasia Relay: Asynchronous content delivery, professor’s voice with whatever is showing on the computer display. Could also be used for student presentations.
  • Jing: Screencasting tool for recording short student presentations (under 5 minutes) or by faculty and students to share questions and responses to problems with discipline specific software.
  • Skype: Two or multi-way video conferencing for real-time office hours.
  • VoiceThread: Asynchronous text, image, audio, video comment/discussion tool.  Can be useful when student’s voice/video is preferred over text-only comments.

We also provide scanning and audio/video digitizing services.

These tools and services are already being used by faculty in all schools, which means we have practitioners capable of assisting peers in an emergency. While I hope we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we have to use these tools, the raised awareness may lead new faculty to experiment with some of them and find out that they are great for everyday teaching and learning.

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