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Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching at JMU

Fieldwork, Group Work, and Lab Classes

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How should absence for illness be addressed in the attendance policy for field or clinical settings?

Attendance and illness: It is very important that course attendance policies clearly state that students should NOT go to field or clinical settings if they are not feeling well. They should not risk possibly transmitting an illness to practitioners or clients in these settings. Students who are unable to meet their off-campus field or clinical responsibilities should immediately call their off-campus supervisor as well as their JMU instructor. 
If students are healthy and enrolled in field-based courses in areas not impacted by travel restrictions, they may proceed with the course as scheduled at the discretion of the faculty member in consultation with the academic unit head and dean, or his or her designee. The faculty member is responsible for communicating with the students enrolled in the course.

How can students work in teams asynchronously to complete assignments/projects?

Within a Group in Canvas, students can exchange files, post to a discussion board, and send email. You can set up a group for your students by selecting Manage Groups from the People menu. Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and GroupMe are popular apps that enable asynchronous interaction but also offer synchronous functions and may be used for group work.

When selecting an app for group work, consider the following requirements: 1) synchronous vs. asynchronous (with video or audio expectations or not), 2) file sharing vs. meeting for communication only; 3) whether there is an assessment component; 4) most importantly, how students are equipped in terms of computer/phone access and bandwidth.

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How can students work in teams synchronously to complete assignments/projects?

WebEx is a web-based synchronous, collaborative learning environment with real-time, interactive functionality: two-way audio and video, whiteboard and image markup, text-based messaging, application sharing, guided website viewing, session recording, and archiving. Moderator-participant roles can be easily assigned, promoting students to an active role in building course content and as discussion/session leaders. Sessions can be created quickly through easily accessible controls integrated into your Canvas course site. (Note: Please refer to subject-specific HIPPA guidelines for recordings and video conferencing involving observing clinical sessions, telemedicine activities, discussing patient information, etc.) Canvas Conferences offers many of the same features, including text chat and whiteboard functionality.

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What are some alternative assignments that can address the same learning objectives?

If you cannot find a good simulation or data set, students can write a paper, make predictions, and/or design experiments. The learning objectives of the lab may be able to be realized outside the actual lab experience, so you may consider revisiting the purpose of the lab activity and use the learning objectives to generate an assignment that students can complete and submit electronically. 

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What are some alternatives to a hands-on lab that address the same learning objectives?

The thought of replacing this real-life experience with an online alternative may be daunting, but under certain circumstances, there are some reasonable replacement options.
What are some creative solutions to scheduling labs and lab make-ups?
  • Set up a “make up” day in your syllabus. Many JMU lab courses already do this, but if your class doesn’t, then you can add a make up week or designate an alternative time or location where labs will meet. 

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How might I use WebEx to present procedures (such as writing equations) synchronously and asynchronously

This can be accomplished by using a inviting with front and rear cameras to a Webex meeting from an instructor's personal WebEx meeting room (for example: To set up such a meeting:

Step 1 - Download the Cisco WebEx Meetings app from the App Store (iPhones) or the Google Play Store (Android phones).

Step 2 - Open the app on your smartphone and accept the Terms of Service. It should say “Select Site”, enter and sign in with your JMU email and password.  

Step 3 - Create a separate email account that is NOT your JMU email, since you will invite your phone as a projector to your WebEx meeting which is initiated with your JMU email.

Step 4 - Sign in to and navigate to your personal meeting room (such as and start a WebEx meeting, so that you can skip entering all students' emails in a system that is NOT JMU MyMadison or Canvas. 

Click the “Start” button. This will open the desktop app and prompt you to download WebEx plugins or extensions for Google Chrome or Firefox. You will also need to allow the camera and microphone access for WebEx. (For detailed instructions, please refer to this visual guide.) 

You should see your face in a preview window. Click the “Start Meeting” button and activate the camera and microphone on your laptop or desktop computer so that they are not red. You can allow the use of your phone’s microphone and camera if asked, but keep the phone microphone muted.

Step 5 - At this point, your phone should be in the desktop/laptop call that you started, but the video feed might be muted. Click on the video camera icon at the bottom of your phone app to activate the camera; note the small “turn around” icon in the upper right of the video popup; set this to the rear/back camera of your phone so that the projection is not triggered by downward screen mute mode. Then click “Start My Video” icon on the phone. This will allow the video to be shared on your main screen of the laptop.

Step 6 - Now your phone should be a participant in the call on your computer; you can place the phone so that pen and paper are visible to its camera. From your desktop/laptop call, you can switch between having your desktop/laptop webcam as the presenter (showing your face or a screen share) and having your phone’s camera be the presenter (showing your writing). Your phone projector will capture your writing process, which will be demonstrated to your students through the separate email account's camera/video feed on your main screen. Refer to the following screenshot from WebEx:

Equation Writing through WebEx     Equation Writing with WebEx

Additional notes: Your students can be presenters in your WebEx meetings, too. Click on the Participant List icon to open a sidebar showing the people in the call. Find the initials of any participant to switch them to be the presenter by selecting the participant and making her/him the Presenter. You should see the WebEx "ball" or circle next to the participant's name.  

The recordings in MP4 format can be shared on many online platforms, including Canvas. 

Phone setup: Place your phone on a weighted box or a stack of books at least 12 inches high so that your writing procedure can be captured clearly. Place a weighted object on top of your phone so that it will not fall. 

Holding a smartphone for procedural demonstration with WebEx

This part of the guide of using WebEx to synchronously demonstrate procedural writing has been co-developed by Dr. Laura Taalman and Dr. Juhong Christie Liu at James Madison University.

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