Keep on Teaching

When you are unable to meet with your students in person for scheduled classes or labs, you can keep your students on track toward meeting your learning outcomes using online teaching/learning tools. This page is intended to provide guidance and resources for faculty as you prepare to adapt your planned face-to-face instructional activities using online teaching/learning tools in order to continue coursework.

Maintaining communication with your students is key! You can use email and/or the Blackboard interface to initiate communication with students and share with them your plan for continuing their coursework. These and other tools described in the Basic Communication Toolkit can be used to maintain substantive communication with your students as they progress toward achieving your course outcomes.

General Principles | Faculty Support | TipsheetsResources

General Principles

  • Communicate with your students early and frequently. Cultivating a sense that you are present with the students in a meaningful if non-literal sense is crucial to successful online teaching.
  • Focus on learning outcomes even if you need to adjust the specific activities that contribute to those outcomes. Keep students moving toward those outcomes. Avoid “busy work.”
  • Revise your syllabus to reflect the changing course structure and communication venues. You may want to add language about proper netiquette, letting students know that respectful behavior is as important as ever in the online environment–or even better, ask students to create their own list of best online behaviors and link to it in the syllabus.
  • Prioritize course activities and focus on delivering the ones with the most significant impact on learning outcomes.
  • Promote inclusion and accessibility by ensuring students can engage with material asynchronously, e.g., by recording lectures and extending timing and time on exams. Be sure to make any recordings accessible by requesting captioning. Be mindful of bandwidth challenges for some students and allow them to dial in on Collaborate or WebEx sessions if needed.
  • Promote community and continuity by allowing opportunities for students to be together as a class. However, ensure lectures and online discussions are accessible to students who are in different time zones, have poor internet access, face new challenges for accommodations, or have familial or military responsibilities. If synchronous, be mindful of students’ privacy when recording lectures.
  • Replace physical resources with digital resources where possible. Remember that students who are not on campus will not have access to the library, and some will lack access to their course textbooks. Where possible, substitute materials that are available in full-text databases or that are freely available online.
  • Use tools that are familiar to you and the students, to the greatest extent possible.
  • Consider rethinking assignments and grading practices, both to lower student anxiety and encourage academic integrity. See our Keep on Grading webpage for ideas on assignment design and helpful tools. See also our Promoting Academic Integrity in Online Testing During Remote Instruction webpage.

Faculty Support at UMBC

Visit the Faculty Development Center myUMBC group for a list of upcoming virtual discussions and sessions to support faculty in effective online teaching approaches–approaches designed to keep students on track toward meeting learning outcomes.

To consult with a Faculty Development Center staff member about general strategies for adapting elements of your course to an online environment in a way that meets course learning outcomes, please email For help with Blackboard and other online teaching tools, see the Division of Instructional Technology’s Academic Continuity and Available tools & resources pages, or submit an RT through myUMBC Help.

UMBC faculty with diagnosed health conditions may seek accommodation or a modification of existing work accommodations by contacting Accessibility and Disability Services via or 410-455-5745.

Faculty to Faculty Series Tipsheets

The Faculty Development Center has been hosting virtual programming since March to support you as you adapt to remote teaching and learning. During these sessions, you and your colleagues have shared valuable advice. We’re creating a series of Faculty to Faculty tipsheets with these suggestions. The first two tipsheets are now available on Box:
  1. Supporting Students in their Online Learning
  2. Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Instruction
We hope that you find these resources useful. Please don’t hesitate to share any comments, suggestions, or ideas that you have for these resources. We will be working on preparing tipsheets for additional themes as we go forward.

Selected Teaching Resources for Moving Your Class Online

Getting Started

Accessibility and Inclusivity

General Resources about Online Teaching

Resources for Teaching Specific Types of Classes

Mental Health Resources

Because you may be on the front lines of helping students who are falling apart, a couple of short articles:

As you come across discipline-specific articles and documents, please share those with any colleagues who might be interested, and, if possible, also send those links to

The content of this page has been adapted from Educational Planning & Development, MICA; the Center for Teaching Excellence, Pepperdine; and others.

This site is a work in progress and is not intended to be definitive or exhaustive. Please consult your discipline’s professional association for best practices designed specifically for your discipline.


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