Virtual School Briefing: Friday, Jan 31

How do I contact students and parents in my classes?

This might be our most often-asked question. We have now created e-mail groups for all classes, for both students and parents.

Click this link to see a complete list of all the groups in the system (login required).

You can also use auto-complete to find the groups. Read more at this post on the EdTech Blog.

Several teachers have ask to create Teams for their classes. We’re going to work on rolling this out to all classes. In the meantime, IT will shortly turn on the ability for teachers to create their own Teams.

Canvas Announcements are also a good way to make class announcements. Both parents and students can see them, and they receive e-mail notifications with new Canvas activity.

Whether you choose to use e-mail or Canvas Announcements, tell your students explicitly how you plan to make announcements in your class. Matt’s recommendation is to use Canvas Announcements because you can easily see a historical record of them in Canvas.

How do I invite students in a class to a Teams meeting?

Until we have Teams set up for each class, you can

  1. Go to your Outlook Calendar
  2. Create a meeting
  3. Invite your class email group (see above)
  4. Set the location to Teams meeting

Each student will receive a calendar invite with a link they can click on to join the meeting. You can also add that link to your Canvas course in a relevant module.

Do I have to use Canvas?

Yes, your course must have a presence in Canvas. Since parents will check Canvas, it is important for teachers to post here. However, you can give a basic outline of the activities and direct students to complete activities in other tools like OneNote Class Notebook or Nearpod.

What about holding students accountable for work?

We anticipate that students may have trouble staying engaged. You’ll need to adapt the strategies you use F2F to be successful in an online environment. We’re very interested in your feedback about this, and are investigating how to track this systematically, so look out for feedback surveys to let us know how it’s going.

What kind of activities are permissible in virtual school – are summatives OK?

The goal is to continue instruction as normally as possible, so it’s fine to give summatives during virtual school. Consider the potential for plagiarism when designing your assessments.

If you’re in the arts or health and PE, designing authentic assessments may be a challenge. Consider the materials that students are likely to have at home and don’t assume they’ll be able to go out and buy them. Tech Ambassador Alanna suggests focusing on theory rather than applied practice, at least in the short term.

How is attendance counted?

Students are considered present during virtual school. Teachers do not need to take any action to record attendance.

If you’re interested in student engagement, the “People” section of your course will tell you when a student’s last activity in your course was.