The Temple Rome curriculum is typically built upon an experiential learning model, one in which students engage with their course material in a variety of hands-on ways, including cultural labs and on-site lectures throughout Rome, excursions to sites beyond city limits, seminar discussion and in-class group work, interaction with guest speakers or Italian tutors, etc.
Though some of the hallmark features of Temple Rome‘s learning model cannot be feasibly translated to an online format, many have now been modified or transformed in order to be effectively delivered online.
In an effort to clearly articulate the nature of these transformations, we have prepared the following guide to answer questions you might have about completing online coursework at Temple University Rome. If you still have questions/concerns after reviewing the guide below, please reach out directly to your professors (for course-specific information) or Temple Rome staff members AJ Fitzgerald and Mary Conran (for general assistance).
CANVAS | ZOOM | VOICE THREAD
ONLINE LEARNING: WHAT TO EXPECT
In general, this is what you should expect from your online course with Temple University Rome:
- Learning from home does not mean learning alone. You will still have plenty of opportunities to interact with your instructor and classmates throughout the semester, thanks especially to platforms such as Canvas, Zoom, and Voice Thread.
- Online courses vary between Synchronous and Asynchronous learning models. Please check your individual course syllabi for more precise details, as these vary from course to course. For additional information regarding class meetings and contact hours in an online learning model, scroll down to sections “Credits & Contact Hours” and “Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instructional Models.”
- Even in courses that feature a regular synchronous component, your online course will have shorter meetings than it would as a regular in-person class. Any reduction in live contact hours will be balanced by an addition of asynchronous learning modules, materials, and activities. These may include recorded lectures posted to Canvas, online discussion threads in place of live seminar discussions, collaborative group assignments in place of in-class activities, etc. Again, the exact details will vary from course to course, so please refer to your individual syllabi for additional information.
- Though your professors are based here in Rome, course meeting times have already taken into account the time differences between Italy and the US, and all assignment deadlines should be communicated in US Eastern Time (Philadelphia time). However, please consider the time difference when communicating with your instructor(s). Just as you are not expected to be online at 2 AM in order to “attend” a virtual class, please do not expect your instructor to respond immediately to an e-mail sent at 2 AM here in Rome!
- All class meetings will be held virtually via ZOOM, Temple University’s official video-conferencing platform. You can find links to your virtual class meetings on Canvas, and your professors will have the option to post recordings of these meetings online.
For general advice and guidelines on what it takes to become an effective online learner, check out the Online Student’s Manual for Success at learnhowtobecome.org.
CREDITS & CONTACT HOURS
In accordance with policies set forth by both the US Department of Education and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Temple University awards academic credit in units of semester credit hours. Though academic credit values are determined using a variety of criteria, earning one semester credit hour requires the completion of 700+ minutes of faculty instruction time (aka “contact hours”), plus 1400+ minutes out-of-class work (in total throughout the semester).
During a typical semester, a three credit university class requires approximately 3 contact hours (2100 minutes minimum per semester) plus ~6 hours of additional classwork per week, while a four credit class requires approximately 4 contact hours (2800 minutes minimum per semester) plus ~8 hours of additional classwork per week. During the intensive 6-week summer semester, these weekly time requirements are more or less doubled (the total required contact + study hours per credit remain the same).
In an online course, your total “instruction time” or “contact hours” may consist of the following elements:
- Online, synchronous class meetings via ZOOM.
- Online, individual meetings with your professor via ZOOM.
- Online learning modules, instructional videos, or interactive tutorials posted by your instructor to Canvas.
- Virtual group discussions or other group activities with your classmates, either synchronous or asynchronous in nature.
For more information on how credit values are determined and assigned, please see the Temple University Undergraduate Bulletin.
SYNCHRONOUS VS. ASYNCHRONOUS INSTRUCTIONAL MODELS
Online courses may be delivered either synchronously or asynchronously. A synchronous instructional model is one in which students are expected to sign in for regular, live online meetings with their professor and classmates 1-2x per week. An asynchronous instructional model is one in which course lectures, instructional materials and assignments are posted online, and students complete the various modules at their own pace. However, keep in mind that while courses using an asynchronous model may not hold required live meetings, students are still expected to adhere to all relevant individual deadlines. For example, rather than having 2 class meetings per week, students in an asynchronous model might instead have 2 distinct “learning modules” to complete per week before Sunday at 11:59 PM, in addition to their regularly assigned take-home assignments.
Temple Rome currently uses a hybrid instructional model in which instruction is delivered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. While some courses are delivered entirely asynchronously, many consist of both synchronous and asynchronous elements.
ACADEMIC SUPPORT SERVICES
The Rome-based Academic Support Center (ASC) continues to provide study support services to all Temple Rome students. To learn more about how our services have adapted to online learning, or to make your virtual appointment, please visit the ASC’s web page by clicking the link below:
In addition to virtual appointments with the Rome-based ASC , all Temple Rome students are also eligible to access Temple University‘s Student Success Center and Career Center services. The Student Success Center offers services such as:
Meanwhile, the Career Center offers the following services:
All Temple University Rome students should already be familiar with the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). You can access your Canvas account through TU Portal, or by signing in with your TU credentials at the link below:
All official Rome campus and course announcements will be exclusively communicated through the Canvas platform. New assignments, learning materials, ZOOM recordings, etc. will also be posted to your individual Canvas course sites. Make sure to update your Canvas notification settings so that you don’t miss any announcements, messages, or assignment deadlines. If you haven’t already, you may also consider downloading the Canvas Student app to your mobile device from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. A Canvas quick reference guide for students is available online here.
If you have any difficulty accessing course materials on Canvas, please contact your professor directly. If the problem persists, please feel free to reach out to Temple Rome staff member Nicola De Amicis for further assistance.
ZOOM is Temple University‘s official video-conferencing provider. While other video call and video conferencing applications may be available to students through their TU account (including Google Hangouts Meet, Skype, etc.), ZOOM will be used for all official course meetings and recordings. ZOOM offers a variety of features useful for the online classroom environment, including screen sharing, a virtual whiteboard, breakout groups, built-in recording, and more.
Students should be able to access links for their ZOOM class meetings and recordings directly in their individual course sites on Canvas. If you’d like to access your ZOOM account directly, for example to schedule a 1-1 video meeting with a professor or classmate, you may do so by following the link below. Keep in mind that ZOOM’s web client may work better in Google Chrome than in competing browsers.
In order to maximize all the features ZOOM has to offer, you will need to download the ZOOM desktop client (available for Mac OS and Windows) or mobile application (available for iOS and Android) to a device with a functioning webcam and microphone. To sign into ZOOM on your computer or mobile device for the first time, make sure to click “SIGN IN WITH SSO” and then type “temple.zoom.us” as your organization’s domain. From there you should be able to sign in with your regular TU ID and password.
Voice Thread is a cloud-based application that allows users to upload multimedia files (documents, slideshows, audio files, videos, etc.) to a shared classroom environment. Before completing the upload, you’ll be given the option to add text, voice or video overlays to your file or slideshow. Once online, your professor and classmates will be able to add multimedia comments of their own to the Voice Thread, either in response to the original file upload or to previously posted comments.
Thanks to its rich variety of features, Voice Thread is a useful tool for cultivating online, asynchronous discussions between classmates. Your professors may decide to use it to create interactive video lectures and discussions in place of synchronous web meetings, or to replace certain assignments such as in-class presentations, etc. Voice Thread is integrated directly with Canvas, so you’ll be able to easily access and create Voice Threads from within you individual Canvas course sites.
If you have any difficulty accessing course materials on Voice Thread, please contact your professor directly. If the problem persists, please feel free to reach out directly to Temple Rome staff member AJ Fitzgerald for further assistance.