WCET’s EdTech Community Rallies Against COVID-19 Challenges

The WCET member discussions over the past two weeks (has it really only been a few weeks since schools announced closures?) have vibrantly shown the collaborative and supportive nature of our community of edtech leaders and practitioners. This is an unprecedented and difficult time, but we are all rising to the occasion and twisting and turning to solve immediate and long-term challenges. It is apparent that everyone is focused on continuing to support our students.

As many are moving instruction from the classroom, investments in technology, support, and/or services are expanding. WCET has received requests from our colleagues with corporate member and sponsor organizations to help support the WCET community-at-large. We invited them to provide information about how they are directly helping institutions during the pandemic. The following companies are current WCET members and sponsors. We do not recommend any one product or service over another; however, we think it’s valuable to synthesize the invitations in a central area for ease of access.

The blog will continually be updated, and we will develop a resource page on the WCET website. Please reach out to the contacts listed for additional information.

As always, if you are seeking a community of eLearning leaders and practitioners who are eager to share lessons learned and guidance, join us.

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Biometric sig logo

Biometric Signature ID is a cloud-based, biometric multi-factor authentication solution for any device without special hardware.

Biometric Signature ID is offering up to 50% off discounts and 2-hour integrations on short notice. With BioSig-ID you can stay in compliance, keep course integrity, and focus on more important things like delivering a quality education!

For more information: Making A Move To Online Classes? Here’s One Thing You Should Know.


canvas

Canvas, fully online, open, cloud-based LMS.

Canvas can be stood up quickly and has an intuitive design which helps educators and students adopt and begin using within minutes. On top of that, Canvas has a robust partner ecosystem with best-in-class integrations to help bring all of your favorite tools together in one place.

Any educator can sign up for Canvas for FREE. Full details.


courseraCoursera is joining with over 190 of the top university partners to provide free access to Coursera for Campus for any impacted college or university.

Access includes over 3,800 courses and 400 Specializations – each affected University or Community College will be eligible for up to 5,000 licenses for enrolled students. There is no limit to the number of courses each student may take. Institutions may enroll students in courses through July 31, 2020 and students can complete courses through September 30, 2020. Coursera will offer Month-to-month extensions dependent on need. Included with the free account is enterprise-level admin tools, analytics, and online support resources. (NOTE: Features such as SSO and private authoring are available but will not be included in this free offer).

How the program works

Each Institution will complete the FORM on our website requesting access to this resource. An account is created, and access typically granted in 4-5 business days. The Institution will have the ability to “invite” students to the program and enroll in courses. Institutions may create groups of courses for selected groups of students and curate content – or simply make the access to the catalog available.

How it helps students, faculty, and administrators specifically during this challenging time?

Coursera offers deep-skilling courses that most closely resemble a college level course. Faculty can identify specific skills 4-6-week college level courses are available instantly from leading institutions around the world. Courses include all materials for skills mastery including video lectures, peer reviewed assessments, quizzes and tests to engage and teach. Students can explore areas of interest and learn at their own pace. The Administrator can monitor usage and track student progress during the access period to clearly see impact.

What is the discount/benefit?

This access is being offered at 100% discount with no commitment to continue at the end of the free offer period. Institutions & individuals can keep the usage statistics, keep the certificates earned for course completions, and keep your students engaged and learning while you give yourself time to figure out a longer-term plan for online learning. More information.


coursetune logoCoursetune is offering free webinars:

The role of the instructor changed fairly rapidly this month – we have quickly become the facilitators of learning, however that learning takes place. To meet learning needs, we communicate by email, text, LMS, and phone. We manage online homework, manage discussion boards, teach through virtual meetings, and build courses in learning management systems.

All this “going digital” can be a bit overwhelming. How do you manage the mountain of digital communication? How do you keep track of your links, files, and website materials? How do you go about organizing and sifting through the vast array of resources on the Internet and turning them into an easy‐to‐use and coherent set of learning materials for the teaching?

With our new social distancing policies, you might be starting to feel a little … lonely. Social Learning Networks can be a powerful aide to fighting back the isolation blues and provide you with lots of great teaching tips and resources. But how do you dive in safely?

Come learn how to use a social network as a powerful mentoring tool on Friday, April 3rd. This will be a conversation about practices, policies, and opportunities to use social media as professionals in higher education.


iDesign logo
iDesign: The iDea book

Contributed under a Creative Commons license, the book boils down established research-backed practice into clear language with supporting examples. The idea book can be found here.

Teaching Online on LXPathways (courses are free through July)

Designed for educators who are interested in a basic introduction to online teaching, this competency-based learning pathway covers the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to support learners with care, empathy, and compassion. The experience will introduce instructors to both the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching online. Educators will learn about the myths of online learning, the community of inquiry (CoI) model, and how to leverage your teaching, cognitive, and social presence to engage online students. These online courses are available here.


innovative ed logoPreparing Students for Online Learning consists of two services that focus on preparing students for online classes. The Orientation for Online Learners provides a dynamic onboarding experience to prepare students to take classes online. The orientation consists of learning modules on procrastination, making engaging posts, studying for online classes, online test-taking strategies, staying motivated during your online class and more. Students will also have access to StudentLingo, our student success workshops.  StudentLingo consists of 20 workshops to make sure they can access support resources at any time and from any location. These workshops include time management, stress management, setting and accomplishing goals, test anxiety, critical thinking skills, information literacy, and more.

How it helps students, faculty, and administrators specifically during this challenging time?

With the increase in colleges moving classes online due to the coronavirus, we have had many college partners ask how do I support my students online and how do I provide support resources for students? Additionally, there are a multitude of students who have never taken an online course before. Preparing Students for Online Learning provides a comprehensive orientation to the online learning experience and the student success workshops help to provide the support services that students will need to be successful.  The combination of these two tools is a powerful online resource to support students during this difficult time and is available 24/7.

Innovative Educators is providing free access for all students to Preparing for The Online Learning Environment for 30 days. Full details.  Please note we do not contact the students for any reason.  We only respond to their specific questions if they need technical assistance.


Mind edge learning logoMindEdge Learning is providing a free guide: A Practical Guide to Online Teaching and Learning — a resource for the community that provides some frameworks for the world we live in.

They provide material in a simple, straight-forward way — designed to be asynchronous and ready integration into blended learning environments.

It should not only provide a good framework of theory — but also show off best practices around other content that can be implemented into an LMS.


odigia logoOdigia stands ready to assist the higher education community with the transition to online learning by offering complimentary access to those campuses that are in immediate need.

Our ready-to-go courseware provides an engaging, online course experience that has been proven to help students succeed.

Courses can be customized around an instructor’s needs and current syllabus in a matter of minutes. Odigia has helped hundreds of instructors convert their courses and we are ready to support you so you can continue to do what you do best, teach.

We will be hosting a webinar Tuesday, March 24th at 1:00 PM EST and Wednesday, March 25th at 1:00 PM EST to help you get started. Please complete the form to reserve your spot.


Pragya logoScalable, Online Self-Advising

Pragya helps institutions unlock holistic, personalized advising even when students are remote, by putting in front of students all the information they need to stay on track to complete their degree / credential. Pragya significantly improves online advising for these challenging times when F2F meetings are not possible.

Pragya Explore helps students make the right academic choices with appropriate career context, including picking or pivoting majors and discovering co-curricular activities. Pragya Dashboard provides a personalized portal for students to visually track their credit progress and courses required to meet degree requirements. Pragya provides a single, holistic view of student progress to all campus advisors (academic, career, student success), driving better student engagement, career alignment, first year experience and persistence.

Pragya’s student application seamlessly integrates with existing campus systems and can be on-boarded and launched in less than three weeks. To support our institutional partners during these challenging times, Pragya is offering Explore and Dashboard at no cost for 6 months, and will provide on-boarding, implementation and training support for free.  More information.


straighterline logoStraighterLine offers over 60 online, self-paced, general education college courses.  StraighterLine is incredibly affordable with most courses costing $59 plus a $99 a month subscription fee that can be canceled or paused at any time. Students can purchase courses directly from us using a credit card or PayPal account and are able to start courses right away.

For students wanting to earn transfer credit for their courses, working with StraighterLine is easy. All of our courses are ACE Credit-Recommended, and we have active partnerships with 150 regionally accredited colleges and universities. StraighterLine is able to support students from institutions whether or not we have an active partnership. However, for institutions wishing to partner with StraighterLine, we are able to publish a co-branded landing page featuring a course equivalency grid of any StraighterLine courses you will accept for transfer credit.  We are able to set this up in a matter of days.

StraighterLine also offers online labs for the following courses:

  • Anatomy and Physiology I Lab
  • Anatomy and Physiology II Lab
  • General Chemistry I Lab
  • General Physics I Lab
  • Intro to Biology Lab
  • Microbiology Lab

Please contact Hope Hoffman at hhoffmann@straighterline.com or via phone at (508) 244-2218 for any questions or for the implementation checklist.  Students wishing to enroll can visit StaighterLine.com and use code WCET50 for $50 off their first order.


tech guidance logoTech Guidance powered by TBI offers complimentary technology consultation services to organizations within higher education. We help procure IT, source new solutions, advise on security strategies, review existing polices and more – all free of charge!

Now more than ever, we want to extend our services to faculty, administrators and innovators within education. It can be difficult and overwhelming to navigate these challenging times, especially as the need and demand for technology grows rapidly. We can help you find the right solutions for communications, disaster recover/business continuity, security, mobility and more.

Our partnering providers are offering exclusive deals to educational organizations. Here are free and discounted services available to you now:

  • FREE RingCentral Office for 3 months
    • Connect from anywhere with secure desktop or mobile app for video meetings, messaging & phone.
  • FREE Vonage Business Communication & Collaboration tool for 3 months
    • Give your team access to calling, SMS, team messaging, video collaboration, fax and Vonage App Center.
  • FREE Microsoft Team Direct Routing for 90 days (available through CallTower)
    • Enable your faculty and staff to make and receive calls in Microsoft Teams.
  • FREE Cisco Webex for 1 month (available through cbts)
    • Remotely and securely connect your organization through messaging, file sharing, video meetings, whiteboarding, call & more.
  • FREE LogMeIn by GoToConnect Community Continuity for 90 days
    • Keep student, teachers, parents, and staff connected with virtual system to call, meet and message mirroring your existing on-prem solution.
  • FREE CyberHat cyber security platform for 45 days
    • Fight new remote threats to your organization, network and devices with 24/7 real-time monitoring, leveraging existing IT security (anti-virus, firewalls, web proxy, etc.)
  • $9.95 HUD Seat Zoom license (available through NetFortris)
    • Video collaboration from anywhere on any device with no seat minimum, SoftPhone and 1,2, or 3-year term(s).
  • Discounted month-to-month business continuity bundles from Nextiva
    • Keep critical lines backed up by industry-leading cloud communication solution that works alongside existing systems.

To take advantage of these special offers or for free IT assessments and advice, contact Boe Mellor at 724.648.1415 or bmellor@tbicom.com. Learn more about Tech Guidance, visit techguidance.com.


Varafy logoVarafy’s mission is to improve student outcomes in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and quantitative business.

Varafy is an affordable, innovative online STEM homework, practice and assessment platform incorporating advanced technologies which support student success in learning the STEM subjects and business. Varafy’s platform provides thousands of unique versions of instructor manual questions contained in the following OpenStax textbooks to support Academic Integrity: OpenStax Pre-Algebra, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Algebra & Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, College, and University Physics.

Key Benefits to Instructors:

  • Easily create or edit your OER content. No programming required.
  • Ensures academic integrity – Varafy’s market leading algorithmic platform transforms each instructor questions into tens of thousands of unique variations.
  • Deliver online practice (with retry) available with the option to reveal solutions to provide much needed practice to your learner.
  • Automatic assessment across all question types.
  • Answer tolerances set by you – not your textbook publisher. Reduce student frustration.
  • Illustrations are dynamically rendered to scale – provide rich, engaging content.
  • Integrates with your LMS.

Varfay can provide a near seamless transition to an online homework, practice, and assessment platform for instructors who have adopted an OER textbook but need to move their course online.

Varafy will provide free access to its online STEM-based homework, practice and assessment platform through to the end of the spring semester for new instructors to Varafy.

For more information, please visit our COVID-19 response page here: https://varafy.com/our-response-to-covid-19/


yellowdig logoYellowdig is proud to be a partner member of the WCET community and we have been looking for ways we can help the members of our communities during this tough time. In light of the hardships caused by COVID-19, and keeping in mind students’ social isolation during this time, Yellowdig is offering its platform free of charge to institutions currently affected by the coronavirus.

Yellowdig is an online, asynchronous conversation platform built specifically for universities. Yellowdig Communities are designed to replicate the organic, back-and-forth conversations that take place inside physical classrooms and all throughout college campuses.

In speaking with University leaders, many are focused on using the LMS’ discussion platform coupled with Zoom (or another video platform) to drive conversations in new online classes during the crisis…but what happens when the video session ends, and students are still at home alone? Social Distancing is then all the more real, especially for those students who intentionally signed up for an on-ground experience and are now at a loss. Yellowdig emphasizes community- and relationship-building and promotes peer-to-peer teaching and learning. Instructors & program leaders can use Yellowdig to identify students who are isolated from their learning community and connect them with their peers.

Those interested in adopting Yellowdig are encouraged to reach out at learnmore@yellowdig.com.


WCET Resources on COVID-19

This is a highly dynamic situation and WCET will continue to update this post as needed. As always, we recommend that you directly contact your accreditor for specific guidance. WCET will continue to provide resources and updates related to COVID-19. Please see the WCET COVID-19 webpage which lists a number of curated resources for instruction, assessment, student services, regulatory policy, technology/infrastructure, and institutional emergency response planning.

 

Photograph of Megan Raymond against green background.
Megan Raymond
Director, Programs and Sponsorship
WCET – the WICHE Cooperative for Educational  Technologies
Follow me on Twitter: @meraymond

 


 

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Posted by

My name is Lindsey Rae Downs. I am the Assistant Director of Communications and Community for WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies. I work remotely from beautiful Helena, MT.

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