Getting Started with Teaching Remotely
When you realize you have to move your class online quickly and teach from somewhere other than your NEOMED classroom, consider the following right away.
- Prepare in advance (if you can): Consider addressing emergencies and expectations up front in your syllabus, so students know what will happen if classes are canceled, including procedures you will implement. Consider doing this each quarter, so you are ready in case of an emergency.
- Get details about the closure or event: Campus closures or emergencies will be reported at Campus Advisory so those are good places to look for information, including estimates of how long you may need to teach your course online.
- Check with your department: Your department may issue more details about the situation and guidelines about their expectations for classes. Administrators may want to have many of the department’s classes handled in similar ways, so before doing too much planning, check with departmental leaders to get guidance.
- Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don’t yet have a plan in place, communicate with your students as soon as possible, informing them that changes are coming. Let them know what your expectations are for checking email or AIMS (NEOMED’s learning management system), so you can get them more details when available.
- Consider realistic goals for teaching from anywhere: As you think about continuing instruction online, consider what you think you can realistically accomplish. Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you hope students will keep up with the reading with some assignments to add structure and accountability? How will you keep them engaged with the course content?
- Review your course schedule to determine priorities: Identify your priorities during the disruption — providing lectures, structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than initially planned.
- Review your syllabus for points that must change: Identify what must temporarily change in your syllabus, such as policies, due dates, or assignments, and communicate those changes to students. Ensure any change you make aligns with NEOMED’s policies set forth by the Registrar’s Office.
- Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students: Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, introducing new tools only when absolutely necessary. If a closure is caused by a local crisis or an infectious disease outbreak, it may be already taxing everyone’s mental and emotional energy. Introducing new tools and approaches may leave less energy and attention for learning.
- Reset expectations for students: You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students’ ability to meet those expectations, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
- Create a more detailed communications plan: Once you have details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with how and when they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). Anticipating students will have questions, let them know how and when they can expect to receive a reply from you.
Portions of Teaching Remotely is adapted from “Keep Teaching,” with permission, from the Indiana University keepteaching.iu.edu website. “Keep Teaching” content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License by the Trustees of Indiana University.