Dos and Don’ts for Remote Teaching In Times of Crisis
- Do make sure that you can log in from off-campus to NAU email, Blackboard Learn, and other systems that you might need. Make sure you are able to forward your office phone calls to your home phone or personal cell phone if/when necessary. Make sure that all your operating systems are up to date and compatible with any instructional software you might use. Contact the ITS Solution Center if you need help.
- Do make sure your students know the best methods and times to contact you (email, voice mail, personal phone, etc.).
- Do contact your students frequently to communicate reassurance, support, instructions, and expectations. Communication options include NAU email, NAU classlists, Faculty2Students, and Bb Learn Announcements. Provide students with NAU Academic Success Centers’ guidance on managing academics during times of crisis, which gives information on institutional resources and study and time management tips.
- Do choose a method for holding online office hours, such as Zoom, Collaborate Ultra, Google Hangouts Meet, or Google Hangouts Chat, or a simple phone call can work.
- Do consider surveying your students to get a sense of their levels of online connectivity, and how it might impact their ability to engage with your course.
- Do monitor individual student participation and reach out to those who seem to need support, either because they are not logging into the course or are missing assignments. They may be experiencing accessibility or other issues that prevent them from fully engaging with the course.
- Do be sure your syllabus and course schedule or table of assignments are accessible to your students in Bb Learn. If you’re not familiar with uploading documents to Bb Learn, this first steps tutorial shows you how.
- Do use the Course Continuity Plan worksheet when you expect to be teaching remotely for an extended time frame to help you consider strategic and thoughtful adjustments to your syllabus, assignments, and due dates. It may be necessary to modify your original activities. Consider ways of doing so without changing the course learning outcomes to ensure an equitable learning experience.
- Do plan asynchronous learning activities instead of live lecturing or other synchronous interactions. Activities which don’t require everyone to be online at the same time, such as reading text lectures, viewing recorded mini-lecture videos, participating in online discussion forums, and submitting assignments or quizzes, is the best way to help students with varying levels of bandwidth and technology to be successful.
- Do create assignments, discussions, and assessments in Bb Learn, and use Bb Learn tools to provide students with feedback on assignments and to distribute final grades while still maintaining student rights to privacy.
- Do pre-record and post mini lecture videos using Kaltura Capture. Keep these short as viewing rates drop significantly after 5 minutes. Or link to existing media content provided by Cline Library.
- Do use the Bb Learn Discussion Board to maintain student interaction with the course content and each other, and respond to and be involved in these online interactions.
- Do be open to new ideas and strategies, and be willing to share your experience, expertise, and strategies with your colleagues.
- Do direct students to appropriate support services, when needed and appropriate, for non-academic assistance in areas like advising, health and wellness, financial support, or mentoring.
- Do ask for help. Reach out to the Faculty Support Help Desk, and make use of drop-in support, webinar sessions, or other professional learning activities offered by the Teaching and Learning Center.
- Don’t assume that students will be able to attend class synchronously. They may not have the technology or internet capabilities to do so. Instead, consider lower-tech and asynchronous activities such as pre-recorded lectures or online discussions.
- Don’t ignore expressed student needs (e.g., advising, counseling services, financial aid, etc.) that fall outside the usual academic realm. Instead, provide students with information about resources they can access and convey your empathy and understanding during times of crisis.
- Don’t change your learning outcomes. It may be necessary or beneficial to adjust learning activities and schedules within reason, but the modifications should still support students’ achievement of the established learning goals for your course.
- Don’t assume classes will pivot back to in-person delivery within a particular time frame. Plans to resume regular activities can change due to unforeseen circumstances, so make a contingency plan for ongoing remote instruction, and structure learning activities, assignments, and tests accordingly.
- Don’t be too rigid. Aim for supportive flexibility with students (and yourself) wherever possible. Like you, students in classes that have transitioned to online delivery did not choose this reality and may face challenges and hurdles as they try to be successful. Like you, they also may be working through a lot of stress and uncertainty.
- Don’t go it alone. Reach out to your colleagues and our support folks for help.