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Tips for online learning during COVID-19
Lauren Lentini

COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds, and here at Finalsite we are doing whatever we can to assist during this difficult time. We’ve hosted several webinars on effective communications during this global pandemic, and you can sign up to receive recordings and find other resources on our website.

Online learning is of paramount importance for schools during this crisis, so our LMS experts have compiled some tips and links to help you make the most of Finalsite Learn and minimize disruption to students’ learning experience as much as possible. 

  • Group space homepage updates are crucial. Teachers should check that all group space homepage features are up to date and timely. This is the first thing their group members and parents will see, so keep the information they need most front and center.

  • The Activity Stream is a feed of all updates made to the group space by the admin. Users can subscribe to email and/or SMS text alerts for updates that the admin directly types into the Activity Stream, as well. 

  • Alerts and notifications are available in several places around the group space, including the Activity Stream, Blogs, Calendars, and Discussions. Individual users have to sign up for these notifications, as they are “opt in” only.

  • Group space calendars can be used for assignments, reminders, events, and so on. Students and parents can subscribe to these calendars so they are pulling these events into their personal device calendar.

  • Online Quizzes can be used as homework, true quizzes, participation checks, and more. 

  • If you use Dropbox for submitting files and assignments, teachers can add annotation comments, etc., and submit files back to students online through the group space. 

  • Make use of Resources, where teachers can post links to videos, uploaded files, and assignments. They can also schedule them to go live on a certain date, if they want to plan ahead. 

  • Bulletins can be used for announcements or online newsletters specific to a group.

  • Using Blogs and Discussions, teachers and students can have conversations, post topics, ask questions, and have students respond. There’s even a nice feature where students can be prevented from seeing other students' responses until they themselves respond.

  • While teachers can continue to use Gradebook for tracking grades as usual, they can also add ungraded entries for participation for each day of online learning. For example, a teacher posts a discussion topic and wants to make sure that each student is logging in to respond each day. When a student comments, the teacher can check them off for logging in and participating for that day on the ungraded Gradebook entry. 

  • Teachers can continue to take class attendance based on student participation in daily online quizzes, discussion and blog comments, and homework submissions.

  • If department chairs or administrators, want to be able to log in and see what is going on in different groups, they can be added as hidden admins to those groups. You can add hidden admins in bulk. Since these hidden admins will access the groups a bit differently, you may want to share this article with them: View Classes where Admin is a "Hidden Admin".

  • Send an email to your group members! Under the Members tab, there is a Bulk Email tool for group space admins to send an email to all group space members and/or their parents. These emails are BCC'd, so no one is getting the large email address list. These are intended as quick, basic messages and are not fully formatted. Group space admins can link out to files, etc., but they cannot attach files to the bulk email.

Finalsite is committed to helping schools worldwide navigate this ordeal. If you have any questions about implementing these strategies or other concerns related to COVID-19, we encourage you to reach out to our Support Team or the Client Success Team. We’re all here to help!

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