If I can’t teach in person what can I do?
Depending on the circumstances, you may want to temporarily use alternate modes of instruction. This might be for some components or the entire course. Your first step will be to determine what components of your course you would like to replace with these alternate modes. Walking through the steps below will help you think about your plan, and about assembling any materials and tools you will need along the way. For some, using virtual tools will be a good option, others will want to think about lower tech methods of interacting with students. This guide offers many resources for virtual instruction but remember you can choose minimal technology to continue teaching. OIT is open for business; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help and more information or visit our extended virtual drop-in session at https://williams.zoom.us/j/638389036 weekdays from 9AM ~ 8PM, and weekends from 10AM ~ 6PM (EST). Laura Muller (Academic Resources), Chad Topaz (Math/Stats), and Beth Fischer (WCMA Digital Humanities Fellow) are available for one-on-one conversations.
- Prioritize asychronous options (those that do not require everyone to be online at the same time), like online discussions, additional readings, and existing videos, as these will be more successful when your students or you are sick.
- Prioritize course activities and focus on delivering the ones with the most significant impact on learning outcomes. You won’t be able to do everything, at least not in the same ways.
- Determine the delivery method for instructional materials (microlectures, readings, video, etc) and whether you’re creating those materials or searching for them in the Library, on YouTube, etc. Attempt to limit the amount of new material you try to bring in; focus on repackaging the materials you already have in your course plan.
- Identify the tools students need to be able to participate in class; prioritize those with which you’re already familiar
- OIT has general planning tips for choosing online tools in teaching
- Determine resources / training you need to teach with these tools
- Identify the instruction, projects, activities, and/or assignments which can’t be easily accomplished without face-to-face engagement; focus on creating alternative methods of engagement for these pieces
- Consider students affected by illness, who lack access to computers, power or the Internet, or who lose access due to emergency circumstances. Remember that video and other synchronous connections require a stronger Internet connection than asynchronous ones
- Consider the accessibility accommodations your students have in place
- Communicate with your students about the changes you are making early and often
Some places to look for ideas:
- The University of Sydney offers several models for “Models for a rapid temporary transition to supporting off-campus learners”
- Rice University Center for Teaching Excellence Guide to Teaching Continuity
- Online Learning and Teaching Principles from colleagues at Xi’an Jiaotong - Liverpool University
- Ideas for moving to digital pedagogy (Twitter thread from Digital Pedagogy Lab with crowdsourced additions)
- Strategies for moving to digital pedagogy (Twitter thread from Jessie Male, NYU, curated from comments from her Disability Memoir class)
- The Chronicle’s Advice on Online Teaching
As you make your plans, please be aware of asking students to do the same amount and kind of work the syllabus initially expected them to do while (a) compressing the work into a shorter time period and/or (b) reducing their access to instructor, peer, or campus resources. If you have more content than time, reflect on the student learning outcomes for your course and focus on those that are the most important. Then you can take these steps:
- Identify learning objectives for the aspects of the course you are moving online
- Organize those items into units (if you are looking to take more than one class session online), modules, and lessons. These may or may not easily align with the organization of the original syllabus. Keep in mind that the guidelines for Universal Design for Learning can help you think about alternatives organizational structures.
- Add the teaching materials that you identified which can be moved online
- Add the teaching materials and teaching artifacts that you identified traditional alternatives for
- Identify gaps where additional resources or materials will need to be created
- Write the status next to each item listed
- Prioritize items (easily moved, alternative identified, needs options)
For more mapping ideas, refer to Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start by Michelle Miller in The Chronicle of Higher Ed, March 9 or Vanderbilt University's Putting Some of Your Course Content Online in a Hurry?
- Brown University Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning Ways to Support Student Assignments During Times
- Jenae Cohn and Beth Seltzer, Stanford University Teaching Online in Times of Disruption, for SIS and PWR
- Online Learning Toolkit Emergency Online Instruction Checklist
- Pepperdine University Center for Teaching Excellence: Keep on Teaching
- University of Washington Center for Teaching and Learning Teaching and grading during the coronavirus outbreak
Last Update: March 20