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Technology Manual for Law Faculty and Staff

Netiquette Guidelines

To ensure a pleasant and professional online classroom experience, consider providing students with internet etiquette ("netiquette") guidelines prior to your first class. It is up to you as the instructor whether you want students to remain muted, enable video, respond using audio, or use the chat function, and this may vary depending on the content of an individual class session. However, there are certain basic guidelines you may want to ask students to follow. Here are some examples of netiquette guidelines from other schools:

You may also want to review A Student's Guide to Best Practices for Online Classrooms. Including the elements you consider most important in your messaging to students will be helpful to them as they navigate this new environment.

Best Practices and Scholarship

Quick Guides:

Recent Scholarship:

Dutton, Yvonne and Mohapatra, Seema, COVID-19 and Law Teaching: Guidance on Developing an Asynchronous Online Course for Law Students (May 18, 2020). St. Louis University Law Journal, 2021, Forthcoming, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2020-7, available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3604331 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3604331
 

Kohn, Nina A., Teaching Law Online: A Guide for Faculty (July 10, 2020). Journal of Legal Education (2020, Forthcoming), available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3648536 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3648536

Tech Tips for Online Teaching

There is no "one size fits all" set-up for online teaching - what hardware and tools you choose to employ is entirely personal and should fit your teaching style, technology comfort level, and facilitate your connection to students. However, there are some best practices for video and audio described in this remote teaching resource from Harvard University: Video and Audio Best Practices.

If you are looking for some additional tools to enhance engagement and real-time assessment in online teaching, check out this Northwest Evaluation Association curated list of 75 digital tools and apps to use for assessment.

UDC Law faculty laptops have integrated cameras and microphones, so there is no critical need for any external hardware. For those who are interested in enhancing their technical set-up, here are some reviews and recommendations to consider:

  • Best USB Headsets - these are particularly helpful if you share a workspace with others or find it difficult to hear verbal responses from students through your computer speakers.
  • Best Webcams - if you prefer to use a desktop setup and need an external camera, here are some to consider.
  • Best Windows Teleprompter Software - great for recording asynchronous class content smoothly and professionally

Finally, here are some articles that give tips on looking your best on video calls:

Accessibility

Challenges for people with disabilities learning online:

Visual disabilities include blindness, low vision, and color blindness. Individuals with visual disabilities may:

  • need to use a screen reader and the keyboard to access what's on a computer.
  • not be able to use a mouse.
  • not be able to tell one color from another.
  • need to enlarge text and illustrations in order to see them.

Hearing disabilities include partial and complete deafness. Individuals with hearing loss may not be able to hear the audio in podcasts, voice-over PowerPoints, videos, and other online media.

Cognitive disabilities include learning disabilities and other disorders that make individuals especially distractible or unable to focus on, process, or remember information. Individuals with cognitive disabilities may:

  • have trouble reading text or interpreting illustrations.
  • need to use a screen reader to help them understand text.
  • be confused by complex layouts or navigation schemes.
  • have trouble focusing on or comprehending lengthy sections of text, audio, or video.

Motor disabilities include paralysis and limited fine or gross motor control. Individuals with motor disabilities may:

  • not be able to access content that requires a mouse.
  • need to use assistive technologies like head wands and voice-recognition software to access a course.
  • have slow response time.
  • become easily fatigued by movements that wouldn’t be tiring for most people.
What can I do to improve accessibility?
  • Use built-in styles and layouts for PowerPoint and Word documents
    • Use headings (e.g., Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3) to format and mark headings and indicate the organization of the content. Headings help everyone recognize ordinal and co-ordinal relationships between topics and enable those using screen readers to skim the page and find what they need
    • Use built-in bullet lists and numbered lists instead of trying to create them using tabs and spaces. The built-in lists provide a navigational structure for those using screen readers.
    • Use built-in layouts in PowerPoint rather than building your own with text boxes. The built-in layouts include mark-ups, similar to the headings described above, which ensures that information is presented in the correct order for those using screen readers.
  • Write concise and meaningful link text
    • Keep link text concise and make sure that it makes sense out of context.
  • Provide a text alternative for images
    • WebAIM tutorial on writing alt text (link here)
Additional Resources: