Considerations and Ideas

Rethink your tests and assignments

See 5 Tips for Revamping Tests and Assignments for Remote Instruction.

Advice from Stanford University’s Teaching During Times of Disruption

While [moving to remote teaching] will no doubt feel unfamiliar and at times possibly frustrating, try as much as possible to be patient. There will always be hiccups, but times of disruption are, by their nature, disruptive, and everyone expects that. Be willing to switch tactics if something isn’t working. Above all, stay focused on making sure the students are comfortable, and keep a close eye on the course learning goals–while you might not be able to teach something exactly the way you imagined, as long as you’re still meeting the learning goals of the course, you’re doing fine.

—Jenae Cohn, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford University
—Beth Seltzer, Stanford Introductory Studies, Stanford University

Does your class need to be “synchronous”?

Here are some caveats about synchronous teaching:

  • Live meetings require high bandwidth, which students may not have at home.
  • Consider differing time zones. If you plan to meet online with students during normal class hours, this could be challenging for students in another time zones.
  • Platforms like Microsoft Teams are seeing unprecedented usage demands which may cause performance problems.

Why “asynchronous” may be better right now

Teaching asynchronously means that you prepare and post your course materials, communications, and assignments to Blackboard, and students can then access them at a time that’s convenient for them (by the due dates you assign). Class interactions can happen over a longer period of time, using tools like the Blackboard Discussion Board, for example.

Many online courses have been taught without video lectures. If making screencasts of your lectures feels daunting, you can provide text-based lectures or type commentary into the notes areas of your PowerPoints and share the files in Blackboard. Some ideas for assignments and teaching materials:

  1. Ideas for remote assignments In addition to ideas list on the CTL page, UVM’s Writing in the Discipline program has started a crowd-sourcing google doc, “Teaching with Compassion & Focus amid Disruption.”
  2. Ideas for remote student presentations
  3. See our list of video collections where you can search for documentaries or lectures by other scholars on topics relevant your learning goals, link them in blackboard, and create writing assignments about them.

Other resources on campus