Tips for Teaching Online in a Pinch

Manage Expectations

  • This is new territory for faculty and students – approach it with an experimental and planful mindset, and you’ve got this!
  • Review your syllabus and identify items (activities, projects, presentations) that may need to be modified for online delivery.
  • Accept that you cannot become an expert overnight and that no one expects you to. The priority should be to deliver the learning goals of your course to students —not to master online pedagogy in a week.
  • Reassure your students that the work they have done so far still matters and that learning will continue.

Reach out for Support

  • Fordham IT has 24/7 support, so reach out.
  • Look for How to Guides on the Fordham IT and Blackboard support sites.
  • Search the Internet for simple How To guides and videos. Search for exactly what you are looking for: how to narrate a PowerPoint for example.
  • Consult with colleagues through email and listservs.

Develop a communication plan and email it to your students.

  • Tell them how often you will be checking your email.
  • Ask your students to check their email on certain days for updates.
  • Share a reassuring statement and your plans for the remainder of the semester, as well as expectations regarding your shared commitment to learning and successful completion of your course.

Choose Wisely

  • Synchronous or asynchronous? Determine if a live session is instructionally required. If not, choose a simpler method of communication. Acknowledge that it may be a mix of methods.
  • Your favorite tool may not be the best tool (is it supported by Fordham IT, can the students quickly access it and learn how to learn with it?).
  • Don’t pick too many tools! Remember that students have classes other than yours and we don’t want to overwhelm them.
  • Simple tools and approaches are the best for you and your students.

Prepare the Students

  • Before a synchronous session (via Zoom or Collaborate) confirm that your students can all access the environment.
  • Be sure that students can meet the technical requirements.
  • Be sure that students’ time zones don’t require them to log on at an unreasonable time. Consider making asynchronous lectures available in the event that time zones are an issue for some students. Inclusion and access are key.
  • Stick with your usual class meeting time. If you plan to hold a synchronous session, hold that session when your class is scheduled.
  • Practice! Plan a low-stakes practice session with students. You can also practice a live session with colleagues.
  • Share a learning guide, slides or handouts before the live session.
  • Provide a phone-in option.
  • Log in early to your Live Session and test everything.
  • Accept that a live session will not be enough. You will need to maintain communication using other channels.

Be Flexible!

  • If things don’t go as planned don’t feel trapped. If your live session works technically but it doesn’t meet your instructional needs, try another approach.
  • Curate content! Instructional materials that cover a need topic may already exist.
  • Using simple content creation tools like narrated PPTs or screencapture videos.
  • Text is fine for some courses! Text based discussions boards are simple to use and may meet many of your communication and collaboration needs.
  • Allow your students some space to adapt. We are hoping for flexibility from them – we should be flexible in return.

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