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Tips for Teaching Remotely

Approach to Remote Teaching

We can’t recreate everything for students in a remote environment. The standard isn’t a fully online, highly refined environment.

  • Shifts to online will be challenging for instructors and students, adjust expectations now for how you want to end the semester:
    • What is the most important content to cover?
    • How will you know the students have met the competencies to an acceptable level?
    • Finally, how will you do this in an online setting?
  • Start slow with things that are easy for you to do; create one or two assignments for the week that include the following:
    • Learning outcomes,
    • Some content (text, presentations, or videos that are available online or created by you),
    • Something you want the students to do that you can assess and give feedback on (put this info in a Canvas assignment, an email, or a Canvas quiz),
    • Make it worth some points and tell them how you’ll score it (rubric).
  • Work to create structure and stability for yourself and your students:
    • Continue to communicate regularly with students,
    • Suggest that students develop a routine–if their class was MWF at 11 am, suggest they sit down at the computer/phone MWF at 11 am, check-in, and work on assignments, but know that in our new reality, students may have to log in later.
    • Consider your office hours–are you available during your previous face-to-face times for phone calls and/or Google meetings, or possibly a synchronous conference with as many students who can make it? Be clear about when you are available for them.
  • Be consistent in your communication:
    • Decide how you will communicate with students and start using that method. You might be using unfamiliar tools, so be as transparent as you feel comfortable with your students which might mean explaining to students that this is a new environment for you too. More messaging than typical might be appropriate as you transition.
    • Consider using Canvas email, our campus Gmail, virtual meetings (Google Meet, Zoom, and WebEx can be used for audio and/or video–also can be small group or whole class), or make phone calls to a student/s who isn’t responding because he/she is not used to Canvas or technology.
  • Be flexible in supporting students:
    • Be more okay with extending a deadline,
    • Have a Google meeting or phone call with students who are struggling,
    • Reach out to point people if you have a student with a particularly severe need,
    • Allow time for students to get used to the online shift–this could take 1-2 weeks and even then, some students will still find it challenging for a variety of reasons. We will keep working on ways to help support these students.
  • Share ideas and support one another:
    • If you find a useful tool or resource, share it with your department contacts, and if it might work for other departments, encourage your eCourse coordinator to share it with their group.
    • If you need extra support, reach out to your eCourse coordinator, the CTLE, or your department chair. Don’t wait. Reach out as soon as you experience or anticipate problems.
    • Consider sharing the content creation load with other faculty teaching the same content. Brainstorm ideas and collaborate on the pieces that you can all use. Communication with each other will be very important.
    • Extend grace to everyone because we are all doing our best at this time.

Practical Tips

  1. Download the Canvas Teacher app and encourage students to download the Canvas Student app.
  2. Since students will be learning in an environment different from what they originally planned, be clear in your directions and provide more flexible deadlines.
  3. Be reasonable about the time you spend on content creation. Focus on presenting the content and don’t worry about creating perfect content.
  4. Consider activities and teaching methods that are low-bandwidth, increasing accessibility for more students.
  5. Design some low stakes assignments to get students comfortable with your new environment.
  6. Consider adding in additional formative assessments (e.g., short quizzes that students can retake) to help students check that they are understanding the material.
  7. Consider the diverse situations that both you and students might face: operating from a cell phone, limited data, intermittent internet access, sharing a computer, varying abilities/challenges accessing content. Keep things as simple and clear as possible.

Additional Resources