Find tools and resources below to get started teaching during another transitional semester. To further prepare for teaching through transitions, join CEETL’s Teaching through Transitions course.
Checklist for Preparing a Remote Start for Spring
- Upload your syllabus to iLearn
- Build (at least) the first two weeks of your course in iLearn
- Email your students on or before the first day of classes: welcome, syllabus, first week tasks/agenda
- Survey your students to find out more about their remote learning conditions
Mantra for the Spring: Design for the Unexpected & Design It Once
CEETL encourages instructors to build courses that can pivot from face-to-face to online, as necessary. During remote teaching, instructors developed a strong, asynchronous backbone for their courses. Now, build on that asynchronous structure and to support a course in any teaching mode.
Here are some suggestions for how to do this:
Prepare and share your syllabus before classes start
- The course syllabus is one of, if not the primary method for communicating information on class-specific policies that support the health, well-being and continued academic success of all students within a class. Take a look at these 2 syllabus statements to begin a discussion with your students.
Ensure your students know how to connect with your course
- Send out a Welcome Message using iLearn’s Quickmail feature to everyone in your course. Make sure it includes the key information students will need to know to get started including a link to the iLearn course, your Syllabus, Zoom link, etc.
Keep using all those great online communication habits you developed for your online courses
- You may or may not see some of your students on Zoom (and later on campus) some of the time, but chances are good that the communication you do in class is probably not going to be enough. The iLearn course is the only place all students will have access to on any given day. Regular announcements, emails, and/or weekly videos are going to be just as important this semester for keeping everyone on the same page.
Survey your students
- Survey your students at the beginning of the semester to find out more about their learning conditions and who they are as students. Asking these questions not only gives you more information about students, but also shows your students that you care about them and their individual struggles. It also allows you to identify students who may need more support in order to succeed (Pacanksy-Brock, Smedshammer & Vincent-Layton, 2021).
Setting expectations with your students (Set Resilient Community Ground Rules)
- Setting expectations and community norms during the first week of class is important in any mode. For this semester’s pivot to remote teaching, setting clear expectations and co-creating norms for your classes will help everyone navigate teaching and learning through these transitions more collaboratively.
Design resilient activities that work in any mode
- For example, if you design collaborative activities using online tools (like Google docs, Padlet, Flipgrid, etc.) where possible, then students can work on them together synchronously or asynchronously. No matter what disruptions occur, the activity still works the way it was designed -- the first time.
Offer students flexibility and choice
- Adopt flexible policies that can accommodate transition and allow students a pathway to succeed when their lives are interrupted by crisis.
- Share decision making with your students through things like collaborative class norms and co-created assignments.
- Survey students to find out more about their learning conditions or what it is going to take for them to show up to face-to-face or Zoom sessions.
- Build in a catch up week(s)
- Be transparent with your students about why you’re doing all this.
Make resiliency work for you
- Scaffold ways for students to show up for each other through support groups, book clubs, check ins, and collaborative note-taking activities
- Create and stick to instructional routines that make use of time and email management strategies
- Team up with a colleague for mutual support, listening and motivation
- Reclaim your life. Schedule in one afternoon a week when you don’t work. Try to unplug completely. Reclaim your weekend.
CEETL’s Teaching through Transitions course discusses instructional design strategies to support flexibility for students who are not able to attend in person or on Zoom while at the same time managing your own workload and wellbeing. One way to do this is to give students choices when possible about how they learn and how they demonstrate that learning. This is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
Fritzgerald, Andratesha, & Rice, Samaria. (2020). Antiracism and universal design for learning: Building expressways to success.
Lewin, Katie D. & Hesson, Nicole. (2020). Strategies to Avoid Professor Burnout. Faculty Focus.
Pacansky-Brock, Michelle, Smedshammer, Mike, and Vincent-Layton, Kim. (n.d.). Humanizing STEM Academy [Online course]. California Education Learning Lab.
Tucker, Lauren. (2021) Universally Designing in Universal Chaos. Faculty Focus.
For additional assistance, contact the Teaching and Learning with Technology team: (415) 405-5550, firstname.lastname@example.org, LIB 240