Sometimes instruction has to move from a physical classroom to online for an extended period of time with little to no notice. As you start to make instructional decisions, consider the following:
- Communicate with your students early and frequently to share your plans. Assure your students that you’re developing a plan so that everyone can meet the new expectations in the course. Survey students in Canvas to learn about their needs, create a forum in Canvas to let your students share their concerns about moving instruction online, and start brainstorming solutions now (downloading Canvas App on their smartphones, finding a computer to use, online office hours, etc.).
- Communicate with your department early and frequently to share your plans, learn about possible resources and tools you can use from your unit’s Academic Technology Specialist (ATS), and collaborate when you can with your peers. If multiple instructors are teaching the same course, instructors can choose to share resources to streamline their efforts.
- Focus on realistic goals for the course. Focus first on your student learning outcomes for the course, and prioritize assignments that measure those outcomes. Review your course calendar and think about how the structure can stay in place and what needs to change. Teaching multiple courses and changing the delivery method can be a daunting task in a short period of time. Make your learning outcomes the priority, but realize how students get there may need to change.
- Be mindful of your students’ individual circumstances during an emergency event. Some students may face challenging disruptions that prevent them from performing their daily duties to the extent that they cannot leave their home, do not have access to a computer, have limited or no Internet connectivity, or may not be able to complete course responsibilities as planned.
- Review your course syllabus. Specific policies and requirements may have to change due to the new format, such as attendance policies, assignment formats, and deadlines. Either republish your updated syllabus or create a brief addendum for students to review. Students need one place to review how the course is changing. Remember, all of their courses are changing, so provide a streamlined way for students to see your new expectations.
- Keep your plans as simple as possible. There are many great tools out there, but students (and perhaps you) can get overwhelmed if they have to learn lots of new tools in a short time. To ease them (and you) into the available options, start with Canvas. Visit Growing with Canvas to get a handle on how it’s used at UNCG. Then explore the templates and tools in the Resources section to start building your course.
- Ensure you have sufficient equipment to teach your course online. Do a quick check of your hardware, your Internet capabilities, and a personal inventory of your technical skills.