Videos and recording lectures

Course organization and structure

Engagement and discussions

D2L questions

General technology

Send us your Question



Videos and recording lectures


Why do I want to use MSU MediaSpace?

The storage space on D2L is limited. But uploading your videos to MediaSpace, you are able to save space on D2L. Because Mediaspace is integrated into D2L, accessing a video through MediaSpace provides a better viewing experience to students than a video that has been directly uploaded to D2L. For more benefits of using MediaSpace on D2L, visit: https://help.d2l.msu.edu/kaltura-mediaspace-and-d2l-integration


Should we pre-record lectures and post them to D2L?

This is up to each instructor and the structure of a course. Some instructors may feel more comfortable being able to edit their lecture videos before allowing students to see them. Others may prefer more “natural” lecture delivery by not recording them in advance.


Will there be any synchronous lectures for online classes?

If your course is online but also has a scheduled time period to meet, you are more than likely to have a synchronous lecture. However, you may only lecture for a part of the time period and have additional activities online. Depending on the course, you may have students watch a pre-recorded lecture in advance and use the synchronous meeting time for discussions. It is important to note that an online class with a specific assigned time slot (e.g. 8am-9:40am, T+TH) cannot have the synchronous meeting time switched.


Should I post typed lecture notes instead of pre-recorded video lectures?

Some students learn better by reading, while others do so by watching/listening. Therefore, it is recommended that you provide information in multiple ways. Having both recorded lectures and lecture notes will likely meet the learning needs of more students.


How do I record synchronous lectures using Zoom?

Once you start your lecture on Zoom, find the button on the bottom of the screen that says, “Record.” It is recommended that you tell students that the lecture will be recorded and those who do not want to appear on the video should have their webcam turned off. Upon ending the lecture, you can stop the recording. Then Zoom will begin the process of rendering your lecture video. The rendering process will likely take the same duration as your lecture, so be prepared to wait a while before you are able to render, save the video, and upload to MediaSpace or D2L. For more, visit: https://mediaspace.msu.edu/media/How+to+Use+Zoom+to+record+Lectures/1_e4ckzcie


What are the options for captioning my lectures to make them more accessible?

MediaSpace has a free machine captioning service. This is a good resource, although imperfect. You will likely have to read through the produced transcript and make some edits for more technical or discipline-specific language. For more, visit: https://mediaspace.msu.edu/help/captions


How do I caption lectures on Media Space?  

MediaSpace has a free machine captioning service. For more, visit: https://mediaspace.msu.edu/help/captions


Course organization and structure


How should I structure my course?

You may structure your course by week or by module. Experienced online instructors often agree that the module approach works better online. A modular format not only makes it easier for your students to follow an online course, but it can be easier to deliver. An added benefit of modular design in these uncertain times is if a student is unable to engage one module’s material due to quarantine or personal/family health issue, it will not be detrimental to their overall performance. Moreover, you as the instructor may have ask a colleague to take over a module for you in case you encounter quarantine or personal/family health issues. For more, please refer to this video: https://mediaspace.msu.edu/media/How+to+structure+your+course+on+D2L/1_lq6xxf19


How do I organize asynchronous lectures and discussions on D2L?

If your course is structured in a way that a module includes a lecture (or more) and a discussion board (or more), you can create a folder for the module that houses everything related to the module, including the lecture and the discussions board. It can also include all the assignments such as reading materials and module assignments. The first item in the folder may outline what is in the folder and what students must complete for the module.


How do I transition my in-person course to a modular-based hybrid or online course?

Start with your goal. What do you want your students to learn or to be able to do at the end of the course? What needs to happen for those objectives to be met? This backward design approach works better than attempting to digitize your existing material that you had prepared for a face-to-face course. See the Online Course Development: Step by Step sheet (Word)


Engagement and discussions


How does one reasonably assess levels of participation online?

On D2L, you are able to check student engagement. For more, visit: https://mediaspace.msu.edu/media/What+Do+Students+Use/1_kykabdn5


How do I keep students engaged?

Consider the online environment as an opportunity. Now you can reach your students beyond the prescribed classroom time. Send them a short email once every few days. Have small, low-impact assignments scattered throughout the semester. Have them create digital content such as a short video, a meme, an infographic, etc. You are able to check both student engagement and learning in novel ways beyond quizzes and papers.


How does one structure discussion groups?

Please see: https://documentation.brightspace.com/EN/le/discussions/instructor/create_discussion_forum.htm



How to grade these discussion activities?

Largely, there are two ways. The first is a conventional way. You may create a grading rubric based on which you grade each student’s discussion contribution. Please see below for how to make a rubric. The second is the Quick Discussion Grader. You can find more information here: https://help.d2l.msu.edu/quick_grader


What are some suggestions for fostering discussions and content engagement in online courses?

Set a clear parameter. How long should the initial post be? When will the initial post be due? When will the next posts (commenting on classmates’ initial post) be due? When will the next set of posts be due? How many posts in total are required? When will each of them be due? How will the grades be determined? Write discussion prompts in a way that students cannot simply answer with “Yes” or “No.” Encourage students to challenge each other, add more information to what has been presented. Give better grades when students do so. You may also want to consider adopting some guidelines and etiquette rules for online discussions. See some sample rules here: https://ctl.wiley.com/sample-discussion-board-ground-rules/.


D2L questions


How do I conduct a closed book final exam?

D2L offers several remote proctoring solutions. For more, visit: https://help.d2l.msu.edu/node/4685


How do I make a grading rubric?

Please visit: https://documentation.brightspace.com/EN/le/rubrics/instructor/managing_rubrics.htm?Highlight=rubric


How do I mitigate the potential for cheating during online D2L exams? How do I limit academic dishonesty when using online quizzes?

Write exam questions that are more difficult to cheat. If answers could be found on google, it may not be a good question. Ask applied questions. Rather than having many fact-based questions, consider asking fewer analytical questions. Maybe 5 short essay questions work better than 50 multiple choice questions. If appropriate, ask students to connect what they learned to their personal experience. You can also randomize questions and answer choices within questions on D2L. For more, see: https://documentation.brightspace.com/EN/le/quizzes/instructor/random_questions_for_all_my_learners.htm


How do I check for plagiarism of essays or assignments using Turnitin via D2L?

Please visit: https://help.d2l.msu.edu/using-assignments-with-turnitin


How do I design and administer quizzes or exams in D2L?

Please see an instructional video here, or read a step-by-step guide here (Word).
Alternatively, visit: https://documentation.brightspace.com/EN/le/quizzes/instructor/create_quiz.htm 


Whom should I contact if I have questions about or problems setting up D2L?

MSU’s IT Service Desk provides fast and exceptional support. If you spend more than a few minutes try to solve your problem, you should contact MSU’s IT Service Desk at (517) 432-6200. They provide service 24 hours a day, 7-days a week, except on university holidays.


General technology


How do I help students with poor connectivity?

If your lecture video does not have to be high resolution, consider producing it at 720p, rather than at 1080p. When you add a picture to PPT, compress it by selecting “Compress Pictures” under the “Picture Format” tab. Suggest having a wired connection rather than wifi. Be understanding that they may be cut off while taking an exam or a quiz. Be accommodating.


Should I use YouTube?

If at all possible, avoid using YouTube. Students in certain countries may not be able to access YouTube. Try to look for a copyright free video that achieves the same objective and upload it to MediaSpace.


What are the best practices for Zoom?

Mute those who are not speaking. Be understanding that not everyone wants to have their webcam on (Remember in a classroom, you never knew your students’ living conditions or private life. Webcam reveals it to everyone.). Solicit response from students so you can check their understanding. Use the breakout room and poll functions to have them engaged.