Quick Suggestions on Transitioning to Remote Teaching

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The Center for Teaching Excellence and the Office of Faculty Success & Diversity are here to provide support and resources as we shift our courses to a remote teaching and learning environment.  We want to emphasize that we should continue to maintain our students' learning and needs a priority by listening to our students and continuing to build a sense of community in our courses.  We recommend the following items to consider as we rethink our teaching for an online environment. 


  • Prompt Communication with Students: Establish communication with your students immediately even if you do not have a fully formed plan for the semester. You may want to inform them of the platform you will use, such as Blackboard and any additional tools, such as Zoom, Panopto, etc. You might also want to share how they can communicate with you, how you will communicate with them, how will you hold office hours, and where to expect to see course updates. You might consider creating a space where you can ask students about their questions and concerns in this transition as well as feedback on ideas for how we can remain a community of virtual learners through this process. For instance, do your students have everything they need to respond and/or interact in the medium you need them to do so? If not, how and what will you provide them?
  • Revise Syllabus: Explore what might need to be revised, deleted, or adjusted within your syllabus to account for the new teaching and learning dynamic. Identify the student learning outcomes you will address in the coming weeks: how can we achieve the SLOs? How can we modify assignments, activities, projects, research, etc. to achieve SLOs? How can we modify the amount of readings and/or videos?
  • Revise Tentative Calendar: Reassess your course learning outcomes, activities, and projects and adjust the class calendar as needed with an emphasis on main tasks or projects students need to demonstrate learning.
  • Consolidate Content: When feasible, it is important to consider combining or consolidating content for class. This includes revising assignments or quizzes or tests in ways that you had not considered before while still achieving course learning objectives.
  • Modify assessments: Learning assessments will likely need to be modified or revised as we consider an online learning environment. How can we modify our assessments to ensure all students  can demonstrate learning equitably in different ways?
  • Design Online Exam: When designing an online exam, don’t think of it as a test of what students have learned. Instead, design the questions or prompts so students will end up learning what’s important in the process of answering the questions or completing the tasks—by looking up (open book), asking others for help (peer tutoring), writing down the answers (writing to learn), and reflecting. This design lends itself to pass/fail or complete/incomplete grading because students will have learned the material by completing the task.
  • Be Available and Provide Feedback: How will you provide feedback to students? Our students need to hear from us consistently and regularly. Make time throughout the week to be available via e-mail, zoom or phone and communicate this to students. Each week ensure you provide weekly highlights to the whole class about their discussion posts, results from quizzes, activities and projects. As needed and depending on class size, provide regular feedback on major projects to each student by focusing on the learning objectives for the course and the assignments at hand.