As BC shifts away from in-person instruction in light of COVID-19 concerns, many instructors are understandably overwhelmed by the expectation that they continue teaching their courses remotely. The following resources are meant to provide you a starting point for planning your transition to remote instruction, and you can also count on CTE, CDIL, and ITS staff to help you work through the challenges that arise.
As you get started, it might be helpful to review these example scenarios of remote instruction, to give you an idea of what a remote learning experience might look like.
If you can’t find the information you need below, we’re also compiling an FAQ of additional questions as they come in.
Emergency remote instruction is not the same as online learning: Faculty preparing to teach a formal online course can spend six months or more designing it. We have less than a week to prepare for remote instruction at BC. Rather than seeking to create the ideal online course experience for students, keep your focus on simple, “good enough” solutions.
Build on the structures you already have in place: One benefit we have is that instructors have had nearly two months already to build relationships with students and put course structures in place. Think creatively about ways you can use the existing architecture of your course to guide your decisions about how to continue teaching remotely.
Low tech can be the best solution: It can be tempting to try to reproduce the in-class experience by primarily utilizing synchronous platforms, such as Zoom, but getting all your students online at the same time can be a challenge (some students may lack internet access, some may not have a quiet place to participate from, some may be in a remote time zone, etc.). Mixing asynchronous approaches with occasional targeted synchronous discussions can often be a more effective way to engage students.
Revisit your goals: Take a step back to revisit what you see as the most fundamental goals for your course, and give yourself permission to set aside the elements that are lower on your priority list. COVID-19 is forcing us to adapt to less-than-ideal teaching conditions, and so we may have to rethink our educational ideals in the face of it. Decide what’s most important to you and let that guide your decisions.
Center human connection: Experts in online instruction emphasize the importance of connection as essential to remote learning environments. And given the heightened anxiety and uncertainty we are all experiencing at this moment, it’s even more important that we make space to approach each other with compassion and generosity. BC’s commitment to cura personalis becomes particularly salient given the increased isolation we’re all likely to experience in the coming weeks.
Remote Teaching Basics
As you strategize about how to move your course into a remote context, we recommend putting your focus on six areas: creating a welcoming learning community, communication and community, content delivery, student engagement, and assessing learning. The following links will take you to suggestions for each area, as well as information about the digital tools available to you:
- Creating a welcoming learning environment
- Content delivery
- Student engagement
- Assessing learning
- Supporting student needs
Some types of courses demand more creative approaches to remote instruction. We are compiling the best advice we find in the resources below. If you have your own recommendations to make, please share those with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.