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 @umbc.edu 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com or 410-455-5745.
Faculty to Faculty Series Tipsheets
Selected Teaching Resources for Moving Your Class Online
- Going Online in a Hurry (Michelle Miller, Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Fillable Course Continuity Plan (Office of Faculty Development, NC State)
- Adjusted Syllabus Example (Brandon Bayne, UNC-Chapel Hill)
- Please do a bad job of putting your courses online (Rebecca Barrett-Fox, Arkansas State University)
- Advice from UMBC faculty on balancing teaching and self-care
- Authentic Teaching and Connected Learning in the Age of COVID-19
- Engaging with Students through Short, Informal Videos (Educause)
Accessibility and Inclusivity
- Important Information on Providing SDS Accommodations and Faculty Guidelines (UMBC Office of Student Disability Services)
- Online Learning Resources to Prepare Students for Success (UMBC Academic Success Center)
- Remote Teaching @USM: Balancing Student Privacy and Accessibility (Office of the Attorney General)
- Accessibility Teaching in the Time of COVID-19 (Mapping Access blog, Critical Design Lab, Vanderbilt)
- Inclusive approaches to supporting students during times of disruption (Brown University)
- Teaching in the Context of COVID-19, including COVID-19-focused assignments (Jacqueline Wernimont, Cathy N. Davidson)
- Inclusive Teaching Practices Toolkit (Association of College and University Educators)
- Feminist Pedagogy for Teaching Online (Tulane University)
General Resources about Online Teaching
- How to Be A Better Online Teacher (Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Creating Online Learning Experiences (Open Education Resource)
- Self-Paced How-To’s for Online Course Work (Online Learning Consortium)
- Online Teaching Toolkit Short Videos (Association of College and University Educators)
- Taking Your Teaching Online Program Collection (Magna Publications)
Resources for Teaching Specific Types of Classes
- Seminars & Discussions (Yale, references their “Canvas” LMS which works similarly to Blackboard)
- How to move science labs online (Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning)
- Online simulations and virtual labs (crowd-sourced)
- Academic Continuity: Labs (Yale)
- Supporting Labs (See the last section of this webpage by DoIT)
- Ideas for Dealing with Coronavirus for Ensembles & Conducting Class (College Band Directors’ National Association)
- Teaching studio art in an era of social distancing (Facebook group)
- Teaching media & video production (crowd-sourced)
- Specific Approaches & Disciplines: Strategies for Moving Online (Trinity University)
- Moving Student Presentations Online (Faculty Focus)
Mental Health Resources
Because you may be on the front lines of helping students who are falling apart, a couple of short articles:
- Anxiety, OCD, Depression, and Coronavirus Fears (Vox.com; first person account with suggestions)
- Coronavirus Anxiety? Here’s How to Keep It from Spiraling Out of Control (ScienceAlert.com)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.