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Frequently Asked Question regarding Course Conversion

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is the schedule for workbooks and syllabi submission?

The coursebook specifically mentions that faculty are to submit completed course syllabi and coursebooks to their Dean by June 30th.  Please note that the Fall 2020 Syllabus templates have been revised (as indicated by the footer notation) to allow for flexibility in assigning point values to learning activities. This date was chosen at a Council of Deans meeting but each Dean has the ability to set his or her own deadline prior to June 30th to meet specific needs of a program, department, school or college.  Please note at this time, Fall course Blackboard sites are ready for faculty to build once coursebooks have been reviewed by their Dean.


  1. Where are workbooks and syllabi submitted?

The workbooks should go to the College Dean.  Some Deans have asked Associate Deans and/or the Executive Directors to provide a preliminary review in this process but ultimately the Dean's office is the final destination for review.


  1. What are the Deans looking for when they see the workbooks?

Deans will use the following criteria:

  • Courses must cover all the topics on the course outlines.
  • Courses must assess the student learning outcomes as reflected on the course outlines.
  • Courses must meet the designated Carnegie Units each week, no matter the modality of instruction.
  • Course will use Blackboard as the primary interface so that all students will quickly and easily be able to focus on course content.


  1. In what modality will I be teaching?

The conversion process is a planning tool that is designed to give the faculty member the flexibility to teach the course face-to-face, online or utilize a blended approach depending upon potentially changing circumstances during the Fall semester.  Regardless of the modality, regardless of the differences between courses, and regardless of changing circumstances during the semester, each course will meet the four criteria as noted above.  Each faculty member in consultation with their department and college will determine the modality of instruction that best meets the needs of the content and the students.


  1. Are live sessions required?

It is important for the learning process for students to have an opportunity to interact in a live fashion each week.  Planning for this possibility is part of the course conversion workbooks.  If courses meet face-to-face then it would not be necessary to have live sessions.  If courses meet fully online then it would be needed.  Live sessions should be conducted and recorded through Blackboard Collaborate, so that students can always access it later, should they need a review or be unable to attend the session live.


  1.  When should I schedule live sections? 

For converted classes that have scheduled days and times in KeanWISE, the live session(s) should be scheduled at the same time(s) as indicated on the schedule.  This will make sure live sessions will not overlap on a student’s schedule.  Since Kean Online courses are asynchronous with no specific schedule for meetings, it is up to the faculty member to determine when the Live Session will be provided. 


  1. How much time do I need to spend on live sessions?

How many hours of live sessions a week would depend on how many course credits (SH) the course entails and how many weeks it meets.  This is where the Carnegie Units come into play.  A 3-credit hour full-semester in-person course meets for 2.5 hours each week on campus.  If that course partially or fully moves online we need to make sure that those same 2.5 weekly in-class hours are still covered (In-class hours exclude activities like homework and readings which are done outside of class).  Carnegie Unit time can be a combination of Live Sessions, Discussions, Quizzes, Exams, etc.; in other words, those things that would be typically done in class.  Blackboard has multiple tools that can be used to diversify instruction.  It is recommended that in a situation where the course is online for a particular unit of course content that a faculty member devotes at least 1 hour of the 2.5 required hours to Live Sessions and the rest can be made up through other activities that can be documented inside of Blackboard (such as Discussions, etc.).


  1. Are discussion questions mandatory?

The use of Discussion Questions is not required, however they are a useful tool in measuring student engagement and active learning.  It is the online equivalent of active class participation.  Discussion boards are an online learning activity that mimics in-class interactions, but it is not limited to exclusively online classes (see # 9).  It is up to the faculty member to determine if he or she wants to use them fully, partially or not at all in the course.  If, however, a course contains remote instruction, Discussion Questions can meet Carnegie Units by mimicking the discussions that would take place in a face-to-face classroom.  The alternative would be to find other activities that mimic in-class functions including extending the live sessions.  


  1. Should I have discussion questions even if we are not doing remote instruction?

Faculty can use Discussion Boards as a regular assignment if they choose.  Discussion Boards can be a great form of formative assessment.  When planning for the Fall -- where there is still uncertainty -- it is recommended that creating Discussion Boards would be useful by providing flexibility in case there was a need to move the course online.  If the course was able to be offered face-to-face, then the Discussions can be hidden from the students in Blackboard and the points associated with them can be moved to other activities. If Discussion Boards are used, they should count towards the total recommended 1000 points to determine a student's grade.


  1. What if I have a midterm and/or a final exam?

Testing (midterm, final, unit or chapter tests), are encouraged as courses should mimic what would typically happen in a fully face-to-face environment.  Having tests does not take away from the other requirements for the course, it just means a certain amount of the student points are allocated to testing.  Note: Completing a midterm during a unit might mean that the class has met its Carnegie Unit criteria for that week, that will depend on the test.


  1. Is it safe to schedule tests online?

No system for online testing is perfect, but Kean University does offer the option to use the Respondus Lockdown Browser during quizzes and tests.  This system requires students to download a new browser (similar to how they would download Chrome or Firefox) and take the quiz or the test using just that browser (Please note that Respondus Lockdown Browser does not work on Chromebooks).  This browser does not allow students to print screens or use another program or tab. Also note: the lockdown browser does not preclude the possibility that students could have another computer or a tablet available while taking the quiz or test in Respondus but it does offer some level of security.  

For further security, faculty can use large pools of test items (test pools) to create quizzes or tests; each student then receives a different, randomly-selected subset of those test items.  Test banks are often available from publishers and could be used for test pools.


  1. Are quizzes and tests required?

No.  Each faculty member decides on how to assess student performance. 


  1. Who builds the course sites after the workbook has been completed?

Step 8 of the process is for faculty to build their own courses.  The School of Online Education has worked with OCIS to place a blank template in every section that will simplify the building process.


  1. Where can I get help for the building process?

The NTLC has set up multiple training opportunities for faculty to help them understand Blackboard in general and to assist with specific skills necessary to build course content ( The conversion blackboard site also has specific videos and instructions on how to edit the template. 


  1. When should the BB course be ready for students?

As a best practice, courses should be available for students a minimum of 1 week before the semester starts. If the content is still being added during the semester it should be available in the Blackboard site a minimum of 2 weeks ahead of the unit schedule.


  1. What about courses for adjunct faculty?

Each College (each program, department and/or school) has been asked to develop a plan for converting courses typically taught by adjunct faculty.  Adjunct faculty cannot be required to convert courses but they may voluntarily take part in the process; in such cases, adjuncts should contact their EDs.  


  1. Can faculty share course content?

If a faculty member has converted a course and wants to share it with another faculty member (such as an adjunct faculty member) OCIS is responsible for helping with the copying of course content from one course to another.  This can be requested by emailing and making sure to include the source site (the completed course) and the destination site(s) - what course and section(s) should contain the copied content.


  1. Why are we using Blackboard?

Blackboard is Kean’s officially adopted learning management system (LMS).  It is protected by our Kean authentication system and a centralized system that is linked to our Student Information System.  It allows for a single sign-on authentication system for our students that simplifies the technology challenges for their learning.  It also protects us (Kean as an institution and Kean faculty) insofar as any communication that happens within Blackboard is privacy protected, including posting a grade, giving feedback, even accessing videos and links.  These are all limited to your students and no one else (unless you allow otherwise) this protection is important to make sure we are following both FERPA and HIPPA guidelines.  Blackboard also allows students to have similar learning experiences between courses so that they do not have to constantly adjust to learning different systems.  This gives them the ability to focus on content and learning.


  1. Can I use other tools besides Blackboard?

Blackboard is the learning management system that must be used; however, there are numerous ways within this system to provide links and supplement with other tools.  If you use Connect from McGraw-Hill, MyLabs from Cengage, Zoom for Healthcare or anything else deemed necessary by your department, school, and college, you can do that by linking it to your Blackboard site.  In this way students will know they have to go to Blackboard for all their courses, but then can follow the links to other resources as appropriate for your specific course.


  1. What happens if someone does not successfully complete the Kean Online Faculty training?

There are unlimited attempts to meet the KOFT (Kean Online Faculty Training) requirement, additional KOFT opportunities can be found here:  Faculty that struggle with the training are encouraged to complete “Blackboard Basic Workshop” available from the NTLC ( before retaking the KOFT training. However, all faculty must successfully complete the KOFT in order to be allowed to teach their courses in the fall.


  1. Will laptop and internet resources be available for students in the fall?

Please see the following link for Resources for Current and Prospective Students for Remote Education Resources and information on Loaner Laptop Assistance.