A Curated List of Remote/Distance/Online Instructional/Learning Resources, Applications, and Tutorials – Part 1

Guest Blog by Bryan J. Blair, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D, Jesslyn N. Farros, Ph.D., BCBA-D, and Cheryl Davis, Ph.D., LABA, BCBA-D

We have heard the following statement (or some version of it) so many times that we might be in danger of habituating to it: “COVID-19 has transformed the world around us, almost overnight, and we are all struggling to adapt and implement new-normals…” We have also heard many refer to “getting back to normal” with the assumption that we might one day return to pre-COVID-19 days in various aspects of our lives, including instruction and learning. However, as faculty, instructors, supervisors, and trainers, the seemingly continuous re-exposure to new challenges in our daily professional lives will most likely mean that our instructional skillset will need to continue to adapt to a rapidly changing academic climate that is dependent on a number of factors including the current status of the pandemic, federal, state, and municipal regulations, and decisions made by individual educational institutions.

Some instructors have been designing remote learning experiences, and have been remotely delivering instruction, supporting students, conducting supervision, and providing trainings for decades. But the vast majority of instructors have not been engaged in remote/online instruction, and there appear to be nearly infinite recommendations, resources, support, etc. for both veteran and novice remote instructors. Some of the resources are relevant, high-quality, easy-to-use, and low-cost/free; some recommended resources are not relevant, have an overly narrow scope or use-case, are not easy-to-use, and/or are costly to implement at scale. In addition, some resources can be implemented with instructional designs based on basic principles of behavior analysis while many can not. The resources that we present here range from super simple 5-minute problem-solvers to more in-depth task-analyzed instructions that result in long-term changes to a course’s instructional design. We are aware that truly effective remote/online course designs require the investment of an institution and often the support of professional instructional designers to transform learning and instructional experiences; however, the list of resources that we have provided here might help some instructors bridge the gap between in-person and temporarily remote instruction or can help instructors develop simple activities and systems that can also be used in hybrid synchronous-asynchronous (i.e., a combination of in-person/live video and online) classes this fall.

Curated List of Resources

We created a carefully curated list of resources from our own professional experiences and training and also from well-regarded professional institutions and companies, widely-read newsletters and websites, blogs, etc. This list, however, is not meant as a clearinghouse for evidence-based behavior analytic instructional practices.

Who Is This List For?

Instructors, students, trainers, trainees, supervisors – basically anyone who is interested in transforming traditional in-person instructional/learning modalities to remote/distance/online modalities.

Part 1

The first part of this three-part series presents a list of common challenges and corresponding possible solutions in addition to a list of resources consisting of 3rd-party applications, resources, tutorials, trainings, and templates (given the dynamic nature of the current situation, this list of resources will be updated throughout August).

Some Common Challenges and Barriers and Proposed Transformative Solutions

Challenge/Barrier Solution Pros Cons
Quizzes that exist as text files Use the Blackboard Upload Questions feature to easily convert questions for use in a course in Blackboard.

Pro Tip: Create quiz questions and import those questions from LMS question bank for use across multiple courses/semesters

●  Free

●  Time-saving vs. manually creating each quiz

●  Immediate programmed feedback

●  Time consuming to format

●  Only works with Blackboard

Transforming in-person lectures and in-class discussions to a combination of synchronous and asynchronous video-based reviews Use Screencastify to quickly and easily record short (5-10 minute) video reviews of material that you might not have time to cover during synchronous live sessions (e.g., syllabus reviews, assignment instructions, current event discussions, FAQs etc.)

Pro Tip: Use the Google Chrome extension to quickly record a browser tab

●  Free/low cost

●  Easy to connect / export videos to other services and/or share

●  Allows for asynchronous access to instruction and support

●  Time consuming to create

●  Reliable internet connection required

Learners watching pre-recorded lectures with limited opportunities for active engagement Use Edpuzzle to increase active student responding by embedding questions and adding viewer tracking capabilities to previously recorded lectures.

Pro Tip: Use Screencastify or Edpuzzle Google Chrome extension to export a local or YouTube video to Edpuzzle

●  Free

●  Interactive

●  Tracks engagement

●  Time consuming to create

●  Reliable internet connection required

Providing immediate, automated, individualized feedback during formative or low-stakes assessments Use Branching in Google Forms Quizzes or interactive Google Slides to create a quasi-independent self-graded instructional and learning module.

Pro Tip: Use multiple question and response topographies (auditory, video, selection, open-ended etc.)

●  Free

●  Interactive and immediate programmed feedback

●  Individualized

●  Time consuming to create activities
Not having a whiteboard during video meetings Use interactive virtual whiteboards like Jamboard or Explain Everything to draw diagrams, equations, or brainstorms, and to promote interactive and collaborative projects and activities.  Students can also make copies of these for studying.

Pro Tip: Create interactive sorting “game” with a pre-made Jamboard and reuse across courses/semesters

●  Free

●  Can be saved, reused, and shared

●  Not as easy as writing on whiteboard
Improving engagement, motivation, and active student responding in a synchronous video meeting

 

Use Quizlet Live, Kahoot, Mentimeter, or Poll Everywhere to create in-the-moment low-stakes formative assessments.

Pro Tip: Assign students to create their own quizzes to present during class and share with each other

●  Free

●  Can be reused every semester

●  Time consuming to create activities

●  Learning curve for every application

Gamifying instruction during synchronous video meetings Use Jeopardy Labs trivia game creator or Quizlet Live and Google Hangouts (chat) to create an interactive small-group competitive quiz.

Create a “Team Trivia” game implemented across the semester. Winners of the games have bragging rights or earn extra credit.

Pro Tip: Have students create and submit questions to build “Question Bank” for future semesters

●  Free

●  Familiar game formats

●  Permanent products

●  Can be reused every semester

●  Difficult to coordinate and structure

●  Learning curve for instructors and students

Improve accessibility

 

Use Google Slides live captioning or Google Meet live captioning when connecting with students via a synchronous video meeting or webinar. ●  Free

●  Meets accessibility best practices and learner needs

●  Only these apps have this capability
Interteaching and small-group work Use Zoom “Breakout Room” feature to automatically assign students to small groups and instructor can facilitate discussion by rotating presence across virtual groups.

Pro Tip: Students can “Request Professor” by asking for help in Breakout Room

●  Free

●  Alternative to passive engagement

●  Mimics best practice from in-person modality

●  Not as easy or dynamic as walking around an actual room in-person

●  Only available in Zoom

Students might not be as vocal during synchronous video meetings due to technology issues or discomfort speaking via video meeting or chat conversations might be hard for an instructor to keep up with Create virtual Q&A sessions with a collaborative Google Doc or Discussion Board where students can post questions and “upvote” other posted questions and instructors can review those questions and either answer directly in the document/board, record a short video review, provide links to source materials, or answer the questions during live video meetings.

Pro Tip: Share Google Doc as “Comment Only” or subscribe to Discussion Forum to get notified of any new questions

●  Free

●  Easy to use and accessible across operating systems and platforms / devices

●  Required monitoring by faculty and students of another application or “tool”
Student procrastination in remote learning environments Contingent release of material. Instructors can help students stay on track and move through the course in the recommended order if new material is released contingent upon completion (or mastery) of previous units.

Pro Tip: Create a question pool and allow students to take quizzes multiple times until mastery with different questions each time.

●  Free

●  Incorporates best practices

●  Low-stakes assessments

●  Additional work for instructor

●  Must maintain large pool of quiz questions

Incorporating fluency-based learning and assessment in remote settings Use Quizlet to implement SAFMEDS/TAFMEDS (say/type all fast minute each day shuffled) method for flashcards.

Pro Tip: Require students to demonstrate fluency by recording short videos of themselves and uploading as an assignment to the LMS, schedule live video meetings with students to observe the fluency assessment, or require students to be directly observed by an approved supervisor

●  Free

●  Incorporates best practices

●  Immediate feedback for the learner

●  Need to use additional application outside of LMS

●  Some additional administrative and organizational work required

Emergent learning remotely (students learn a few concepts and recombine that information in new ways without direct feedback) Use Microsoft PowerPoint or Google Slides to create interactive training and testing activities (e.g., match-to-sample) with immediate feedback.

Pro Tip: Embed interactive Google Slides files in a Google Site with instructions for students to engage with the material independently as a “study aid”.google

●  Free/low-cost

●  Increased active student responding

●  Fewer direct skills taught because of emergence

●  Time consuming to create activities

Full List of Resources (Opens as Google Sheet)

Continuing Series

In Part 2, we will expand on the descriptions of each challenge and corresponding solution/resource as well as provide empirical behavior analytic references for each proposed solution, technology, system, etc.

In Part 3, we will provide short video tutorials demonstrating some of these resources in practice.

Cover image by Free-Photos from Pixabay