News, Events, & Dates
News and Updates
In response to student and faculty feedback, a model course site structure — informally known as a 'template' — has been created by a team of educational developers and instructional designers. The Brightspace template aims to provide students with a consistent learning environment and to support faculty in the set up and design of their online course spaces.
Core Principles of Online Teaching
The Core Principles of Online Teaching have recently reviewed and revised them. These principles aim to assist all course instructors at Dalhousie and King's to prepare, design, and deliver online teaching. The Academic Quality Team regularly reviews these principles to ensure they reflect the latest in best pedagogical practices and the context of Dalhousie students’ online learning experience.
Events and Important Dates
Past News and Updates
Update from December 3, 2020
SUPPORT FOR ONLINE TEACHING DURING THE DECEMBER BREAK
The Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT) and the Dal Libraries’ Academic Technology Services (ATS) unit will be offering some support to instructors who need help setting up courses during the late December/early January break.
When is this support available?
Tuesday, December 29, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Wednesday, December 30, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Thursday, December 31, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Saturday, January 2, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (ATS virtual drop-in support only.)
Sunday, January 3, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (ATS virtual drop-in support only.)
The IT Help Desk will also be available for basic IT support from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on December 29, 30, 31, and January 2 and 3.
What kind of support is available?
Limited support is available during this time, rather than the full suite of support for online teaching available during the academic term.
Services that will be available include course building support and virtual drop-in support (for technical questions about the suite of instructional tools or questions about course design). You can also book an appointment for small-group and one-on-one pedagogical consultations with an educational developer.
Online teaching supports that will not be available during this period include videography, captioning support, and classrooms for lecture recording.
Why is this support available when the university is otherwise closed?
Some instructors are planning to set up their courses during the break and will benefit from this support. In particular, this support will help those recently appointed part-time instructors who may only learn in December of their teaching assignments. Having these supports in place does not mean that you are expected to work while the university is otherwise closed, but they will be available for those who need them.
How can I get support for my online teaching?
To benefit from the full suite of online teaching supports before the start of the winter term, please contact the Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT) for pedagogical support and the Dalhousie Libraries’ Academic Technology Services (ATS) for technical support before December 23.
Dalhousie’s online teaching community in Brightspace, Going Online Together, and the online teaching website are resources that can be accessed at any time. If you do not have access to Going Online Together, contact the CLT to be added to the site.
In the new year, full technical support through ATS and full pedagogical support through the CLT will be available starting January 4. The first day of classes in the winter term is January 6 and ideally, all classes should be activated in Brightspace by that date.
What other resources are available during the break?
The physical spaces of the Dalhousie Libraries will be closed during the December break, but access to eResources is always available through https://libraries.dal.ca.
Branches of Halifax Public Libraries may be open for those seeking a space to work in; consult their website for information about their holiday hours and the latest COVID-19 restrictions in public libraries.
Borrow recording equipment and get captioning support – plan ahead
If you want to borrow recording equipment during the break, please arrange to do so no later than December 23. Equipment borrowed between December 17 and 23 will be on loan to you until January 4.
If you need captioning support for your winter classes, please submit your request as early as possible.
I’m a recently appointed instructor. How do I get access to Brightspace and the Dal Libraries?
If you have not yet received your letter of employment, which will contain your Banner ID number (beginning with B00), you can get it by following these steps:
1. Please contact your faculty administrator and request that they complete a courtesy access form and submit it to the Payroll Department on your behalf.
2. Once you have heard from the faculty administrator that the form has been completed, contact email@example.com to request your Banner number.
3. When you have your Banner number, go to https://password.dal.ca/. Entering your banner number here will activate your NetID, which you should record and memorize. You will also have to set up a password at this time. If you need help with this step, contact the IT Help Desk.
4. Once you have set up your NetID and password, you can log in to Brightspace and get access to eResources through the Dalhousie Libraries.
5. To be added to Going Online Together, the Dalhousie teaching community in Brightspace, contact the CLT.
Update from November 5, 2020
Virtual Brightspace Support Unavailable on Remembrance Day
On Wednesday, November 11, the virtual drop-in space for Brightspace support will be closed to observe the Remembrance Day holiday.
The Help Desk will have limited hours from 1–9 p.m. that day to help with general support questions.
Update from October 9, 2020
Virtual Brightspace Support Unavailable on Thanksgiving Day
On Monday, October 12, the virtual drop-in space for Brightspace support will be closed. This will allow the members of our support team to rest and spend time with their families.
The Help Desk will have limited hours from 1–9 p.m. that day to help with general support questions. The virtual drop-ins and the Help Desk will be open regular hours on Saturday and Sunday and will return to normal hours on Tuesday, October 13.
Update from August 31, 2020
Until further notice, please disregard the requirement to use the Media Release Form in the Classroom Recording Protocol as the means of obtaining permission to record guest lecturers in your class. The form is more useful for in-person classes and was not created with the online teaching environment in mind.
Consent to be recorded must still be obtained from all guest lecturers; confirming their consent via e-mail or text message is adequate. Please also advise all guests how the recordings will be used and how long the recordings will be kept.
This change from the Protocol has been vetted by Senate (through the Chair and Vice-Chair Student Affairs) as the approver of the Protocol, Legal Counsel, the Academic Quality Team, and the Dean of Libraries. The Senate Learning and Teaching Committee will review the Protocol in the fall to determine whether an amendment to address this matter is recommended. For additional guidance please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Update from August 25, 2020
Online Platforms & Tools: Access issues, copyright, and general technological requirements
1. Online Platforms & Tools
With students taking courses from all over the world, we expect that some students will face access issues due to restrictions on online platforms, tools, or content.
While students are responsible for ensuring that they can technically and legally access course content, it is nonetheless useful for instructors to be aware that some students may face access issues.
As the instructor, it is ultimately your decision whether material is necessary to the course. There is no expectation that quality be impaired or compromised and the suggestions here do not modify your decision-making authority in any way.
The following suggestions may be helpful:
- The Dalhousie Libraries now subscribe to several streaming video sources, including Films on Demand, Criterion on Demand, and Audio Cine Films. Learn more, access the videos, and find detailed copyright guidance on providing access to short clips of videos and the use of online videos.
- The Dalhousie Libraries may be able help in acquiring the rights to a video; submit a request. Please note that it may not be feasible to acquire rights to all videos.
- You may be able to find the same (or equivalent) video on Youku Tudou, Bilibili, or iQIYI (video services accessible in China). Please exercise due diligence in ensuring that these videos have been posted legitimately.
- Alternatively, you can create your own content to achieve the learning objectives.
Here are a few tips to help prevent access issues and to address them if they arise:
- Consider adding this statement to your syllabus: “When connecting to online resources from outside of Canada, students are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of and observing any applicable laws of the country they are connecting from.”
- Make your Brightspace site available to students as soon as is possible, including links or lists of all required materials. Remind students to check materials to ensure they have access. Ideally, Brightspace sites should be made available to students no later than September 8.
- If students identify access issues, work with them before the add/drop date to identify alternatives. As with course content generally, the decision on suitable alternatives rests with you. It is possible that some cases may not have a viable workaround. The student should be advised of this as soon as possible.
If you encounter any issues around access to online platforms or tools, please reach out to your Associate Dean Academic for assistance in working through how to pre-empt any difficulties that students may face or help brainstorm a way forward.
2. Technological Requirements
We encourage you to link to dal.ca/onlinelearning in your course or syllabus to ensure students have seen this important resource on how to learn online, including technical requirements and minimum specifications for students' computers. (These requirements are based on the standard Dal-provided academic technology. If you know the tools, platforms, or deliverables for your course require different technical specifications, please communicate that early on in your course.)
Students who are unable to provide their own computer or those with internet connection issues can access information about resources including extended laptop loans, accessing computers, the internationally available eduroam Internet service, and more.
Above all else, remember that if you have any questions about any of the above information, please do not hesitate to contact your Associate Dean Academic.
Update from August 19, 2020
The Fall semester runs from September 8–December 8 inclusive with a fall study break running from November 9–13 and a final exam period from December 10–20 inclusive.
For those courses delivering synchronous material, December 8 is a lieu teaching day and will be available for those courses with synchronous deliveries on Mondays.
Access to course materials
Brightspace sites have been created for all fall classes and registered students have already been added.
With a blended approach to delivering courses the “first day of classes” can be interpreted differently than in previous academic years.
Instructors are encouraged to grant students access to the course syllabus and Brightspace course sites no later than September 8, which is the first day of the fall semester or the official start of term for asynchronous online classes.
Synchronous versus asynchronous class sessions
We are recommending that most courses should be primarily asynchronous (prerecorded content) so that students can watch or listen at their own pace and on their own time.
Synchronous (live) course components may be included as well, but course instructors should work to ensure that students in different time zones are not disadvantaged by recording these sessions to allow for later viewing.
When offering an online course with a synchronous (live) component, it is important to let students know what to expect by providing clear information on the syllabus about how often synchronous sessions will be held.
Synchronous sessions should be scheduled during the timeslot reflected in the academic timetable but they do not need to occupy the full timeslot or occur every week. Further guidance about the balance between synchronous and asynchronous sessions can be found at https://qualityguidelines.elearning.dal.ca/digital-environment-timing-and-location