20 Tips and Reminders for Teaching Online During Times of Crisis

The reminders and tips below are meant to help reduce both instructors’ and students’ stress. These strategies should also help instructors save time and reduce conflict with students. Be well.

  1. Keep communications brief. Students are also being inundated with information.

  2. If you are not already posting weekly announcements and/or module overviews or summaries, now may be a good time to start. This can help cut down on the number of emails sent, create a routine, provide clarification, and foster a sense of connection.

  3. Reassure students you are there and you care by responding within 48 hours or less to all emails and to all questions they post in “Ask the professor” types of discussion forums.

  4. Make sure all due dates for the rest of the semester are clear.

  5. Try to limit the number of course changes.

  6. Post all changes in writing.

  7. Strive to keep your courses well-organized. Students who can easily locate course materials and assignments will panic less and contact you less frequently about missing or hard-to-find items.

  8. Avoid surprises. Now is not a good time to add a new requirement to a module that has already been opened or a new assignment that was not previously listed in the syllabus.

  9. Consider making all remaining course modules available so students can work ahead if needed. This may also help reduce the need for incompletes.

  10. Limit feedback on assignments by speaking only to the most important parts of an assignment. This will help you grade assignments in a timely manner and help students focus their learning. If everything is important, nothing is important.

  11. Consider reducing or eliminating late penalties so you can encourage students to meet deadlines but avoid unfairly punishing those who are unable to do so because of circumstances beyond their control.

  12. Consider reducing the workload for students and for yourself, if you are able to do so without compromising the course objectives. The quality of learning may increase if the quantity of assignments decreases.

  13. Consider offering live office hours using a video conferencing platform such as Blackboard Collaborate or Microsoft Teams, if you are not already doing so.

  14. Provide students with a phone number at which they can leave you a message and call-back number in the event they lose access to the internet.

  15. Reach out to students who start to fall behind. Call to check on students who go missing.

  16. Continue to hold high expectations and convey confidence that students will meet their learning goals.

  17. Remind yourself and students to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  18. Practice what you teach with regard to self-care.

  19. Pay attention to what’s working well.

  20. You’ve got this.

Creative Commons License

Trauma-Informed Teaching & Learning by Janice Carello is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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