Additional Course Design and Delivery Methods
Much of the content in this section is derived from the Farleigh Dickenson wiki related to academic continuity. As stated previously, FDU has provided a tremendous service to colleges and universities through this work, and RU acknowledges this with grateful appreciation.

4.1. Wikis

Wikis are group-edited documents. However, you can easily set up a "protected" wiki that only you can edit. Like the other tools discussed in this section, editing a wiki requires no special knowledge of HTML or other advanced technology skills. Several free services are available that allow you to set up a wiki within minutes.
The resource you are reading was created using the Wikispaces service and previously developed materials. The basic structure and content of this wiki were completed during one work day. Obviously, additional content has been added, and revisions have been made as part of the review and revision processes. Even given that, the majority of this site was developed and posted very quickly.
  • Wikis allow you to create a web resource on which you can post course information.
  • In an emergency, you can use a wiki to post course content (e.g. readings, web links).
  • The "comments" area for each wiki page allows your students to engage in conversation. While this discussion format is somewhat more limited than the one available in Blackboard, it has the advantage of being attached to the content document. Wiki discussion areas are generally more robust than blog discussion areas.
  • You should require students to sign in to the wiki software so that you will be able to identify them.
  • Because free wikis are open to the general public, you must be careful about maintaining student privacy. You can create private wikis, but you generally have to pay for them.
  • The "look and feel" of a wiki can be very plain. While you can do some custom formatting, this feature is limited in most wikis. Remember, your goal is substance and function, and, in an emergency, function and substance trump form.
  • Free wiki services are usually ad-supported, and the content of the advertisements will be out of your control.
Recommended steps to take:
  • Apply for an account with one of the free wiki services.
    • Wikispaces is highly recommended because it utilizes an advanced feature set is that is particularly suitable to education and it is easy to use.
    • PBWorks is another free, easy to use wiki hosting service. Click here to sign up for a free plan.
  • Set up a wiki for every course that you teach.
  • Put your syllabus on the wiki.
  • Invite your students to visit the wiki page and leave a comment on the "comments" area for your syllabus page.

4.2. Blogs

Blogs are a means of communicating with your students online, and require no special knowledge of HTML or other advanced technology skills. Several free services are available that allow you to set up a blog within minutes.
  • Blogs allow you to create a web resource on which you can post course information.
  • In an emergency, you can use a blog to post course content (e.g. readings, web links).
  • The "comments" area for each blog post allows your students to engage in conversation.
  • You should require students to sign in to the blog software so that you will be able to identify them.
  • Because blogs are open to the general public, you must be careful about maintaining student privacy.
  • If you use a free blog service, you will have some limited ability to customize the "look and feel" of your blog.
  • Free blog services may sometimes be ad-supported, and the content of the advertisements will be out of your control.
Recommended steps to take:
  • Apply for an account with one of the free blog services.
    • Wordpress is highly recommended because its advanced feature set is particularly suitable to education. For example, you can create "pages" as well as posts. Pages contain static information that doesn't change or changes infrequently, while blog posts are added as needed. Sign up by visiting the Wordpress site at http://wordpress.com/
    • Another free, easy to use source blog hosting service is the one run by Google at https://www.blogger.com/start.
  • Set up a blog for every course that you teach.
  • Post your syllabus in the blog.
  • Have your students visit the blog, sign up for an account, and leave a comment on the blog.

4.3. Facebook

Facebook is an online social community used by an increasing number of our faculty and students. Some features of Facebook make it an ideal method for continuing instruction during an emergency.
  • Your students are almost all already using it.
  • You can create a group just for your class to share material and engage in discussions.You can restrict access to this group to just your students.
  • Facebook includes an event/calendar feature.
  • You may need a little time to get used to Facebook's very rich feature set.
  • Be aware that your students may not feel comfortable sharing their Facebook profiles with you.
Recommended steps to take:
  • Apply for a Facebook account if you do not already have one at http://facebook.com* Set up a group for every course that you teach.
  • Invite your students to the group. You will need their Facebook screen names to do this.
  • Post your syllabus in the group content area.
  • Have your students visit the group and join a discussion.

4.4.Courses 2.0 (Facebook)

courses_2.0.rev.jpgThis product is built with the instructor/student relationship in mind, to enable instructors to use a social and engaging application that can reach students where they are. Instructors and students can make announcements, post assignments to classes, and post key resources. A special feature is that the instructor can also schedule virtual office hours.

Recommended steps to take:
  • Apply for a Facebook account if you do not already have one
  • Go to the Courses 2.0application site
  • Post essential materials and information as needed for students

4.5. Study Groups (Facebook)

facebook_study_groups.gifStudy Groups lets you communicate and interact with your students. Further, students can quickly and easily collaborate with their classmates and plan out homework for your courses. Additionally, Study Groups has the capability for you and your students to:

  • Create to-do lists and track who's responsible for what
  • Schedule and agree to meetings
  • Ask questions about this week's assignment
  • Share notes and files in one place
  • Create a public Study Group to collect the thoughts and ideas of users around the world on a given subject
  • Create, edit, and collaborate on papers and notes
Recommended steps to take:
  • Apply for a Facebook account, if you do not already have one at
  • Go to Study Groups application page
  • Post essential materials and information as needed for students
  • Encourage students to apply for a Facebook account and direct them to the Study Groups application page as well.
span>=
Google Groups and Yahoo Groups are services that allow you to quickly create a community of interest. Like the other services mentioned here, these services require no knowledge of HTML or any advanced technology knowledge. To use Google Groups, you must have an account with Google. To use Yahoo Groups, you must have a Yahoo account.
  • Both Google Groups and Yahoo Groups include an area for posting files and other information, which could be used for posting course content (e.g. readings, web links).
  • There is a robust discussion group feature in both services.
  • You can restrict access to just your students.
  • The feature set in the two services is otherwise very different, and if you intend to use one of them, you should become familiar with the options available to you.
  • Options that allow you to customize the look and feel of your group area are limited.
  • Set up a group for every course that you teach.
  • Invite your students to the group (you will need their e-mail addresses to do this).
  • Post your syllabus in the group content area.
  • Have your students visit the group and join a discussion.
Recommended steps to take:
  • Apply for a Google account if you do not already have one at http://groups.google.com/, or a Yahoo account if you do not already have one at http://groups.yahoo.com/
  • Set up a group for every course that you teach.
  • Invite your students to the group. You will need their email addresses to do this.
  • Post your syllabus in the group content area.
  • Have your students visit the group and join a discussion.

4.6. U.S. Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service is another option for continuing instruction during an emergency. While an emergency may disrupt electronic mail service, surface mail may be a more stable option than computer technologies in some emergencies. Mail may also be the only way to reach some of your students. However, this option requires extra preparation as well as the acquisition of some physical supplies.You should already have your students surface mail addresses. However, call your students to check their addresses before you mail anything to them. You will need to consider have access to the following supplies:
  • Printer and/or photocopier to print our multiple copies of your course content
  • Extra printer toners or cartridges
  • Extra paper
  • Scale
  • Postage Stamps
  • If internet service is available, postage can also be purchased online by visiting www.stamps.com. or www.usps.com.