Keep Teaching When Classes Can’t Meet
For step-by-step instructions and information about Lewis & Clark supported online instruction applications such as Moodle, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, visit our Technical Resources for Remote Teaching page.
While Lewis & Clark is predominantly a face-to-face campus, a variety of circumstances might require a quick shift for a specific student to participate remotely or to take an entire class online for a period of time with little notice.
As classes move online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester in response to the COVID19 Pandemic, Educational Technology has several workshops and opportunities for one-on-one assistance transitioning to teaching online. As you will rely on your home connection to the Internet, we have tips on how to improve slow Internet connection speeds.
Information Technology has complied the following resources to help instructors prepare for a possible disruption and keep classes running. There are multiple options and not all are well suited for every class. We hope this guide will help you select what options will work best for your circumstances. As you think through your response, consider the following:
- What expectations have I already set for students about emergencies? Consider addressing emergencies and possible class cancellations in your syllabus each semester.
- What can I tell my students right away? Even if you don’t have a detailed plan in place yet, communicate with your students informing them changes are on the way. Include information about your expectations for how frequently they should check email or your Moodle or class site for more details as you finalize your plans.
- What can realistically be accomplished during the disruption? Courses relying on specific space or tangible experiences, such as in a lab, may not be easily adapted to distance instruction. Is it possible to maintain the same schedule of assignments and other activities? What might need to be modified for remote teaching, and what are your top priorities: lectures, collecting assignments, facilitating discussions, group work? Do all students need to work on activities at the same time?
- What’s your comfort level? What about your students? Pick tools and workflows familiar to you and your students. Adopt new tools only when necessary. If the disruption will require adopting multiple new tools and techniques, consider introducing new tools one at time and/or with opportunities for student practice.
- Prepare to be flexible. Remote teaching means needing to adapt to unique and possibly changing student circumstances. Not all students will have dependable access to webcam capable computers, reliable internet connections, or even power.
- Include a detailed communication plan. Once you you have your plan in place, communicate the details to your students along with information how they can contact you and how soon they can expect a reply. Students will have many questions so setting expectations on when and how you’ll provide answers will be helpful as you manage your communication workload during a disruption.
- Where should students go for help? Try and anticipate needs and questions before heading into a remote teaching scenario. You can provide help and troubleshooting steps to your class directly, links to external support resources, and connect them to support resources at the college.
Are you prepared to facilitate your class remotely in the event of an emergency? It can be difficult to assess this in a non-emergency situation, so Educational Technology staff has provided the checklist below to help you determine your preparedness level. If you need assistance with any of the readiness items, we have provided suggestions in the following section for where to go for additional information. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our Educational Technology Staff will be in contact.
Are you prepared to…?
1. Put your course materials online
- I have a Moodle course or course website for each of my courses that contains the most current course information.
- I have a way to distribute assignments to my students online such as a Moodle or Google Classroom course site.
- I use audio or video materials in class and I know how to share these with my students.
- I use Moodle to make materials available to my students.
- I have taken steps to ensure my online course materials are accessible to students with disabilities.
2. Establish channels of communication with your students and colleagues
- My students know how to contact me remotely if they have a question.
- I have a way to facilitate discussions with groups of students remotely.
- Students have a way to contact each other and collaborate online.
3. Establish ways to conduct your class at a distance
- My students can read, listen to, and/or watch my lectures online.
- My students can turn in homework and take exams online.
- I have a way to respond to student work and securely publish scores online.
- I know how to submit final grades to the Registrar online.
4. Set up remote access to key resources
- I have a computer or laptop at home that has the software and Internet connectivity I need to work remotely.
- I have the knowledge and capability to meet with students one-on-one if needed
Teaching online brings its own set of challenges unique to the medium. We have put together a document covering general guidelines for teaching during a disruption. With many dialogues about online teaching happening in our community, we’ll be adding both to this document as well as highlighting a few specific articles below:
- Haven’t had much time to prepare? Check out this article about Teaching Online in a Pinch
- These Lessons Learned from experts in online teaching offer some reflective advice from established and experience online instruction experts.
- Educational Technology and TEP have collaborated on a list of assessment resources, which provides some tips and guidance as we look towards the end-of-term.