Teaching Online

Some Resources for Online Learning from the Wabash Center Resource Collection

Many colleges and universities are making emergency plans to move face-to-face courses online.

Listed below are a few resources culled from the Wabash Center Resources Collection to support teachers challenged by this transition.

See as well the active discussion on the POD list-serv (for directors of college and university teaching and learning centers.

A few suggestions from this POD discussion are listed below:

Resources at Colleges and Universities

AAR’s Tips for Online Teaching

By Amy Hale and the AAR Teaching and Learning Committee

In response to concerns about COVID-19, many colleges and universities are asking faculty to move their face-to-face (F2F) courses online very quickly. This presents several challenges, but the most immediate are how to move your F2F course to the learning management system and how to adapt your teaching style/assignments to an online format.

First, find out what your institution’s specific teaching continuity plans are. Next, find out what synchronous tools your school has access to (e.g., Zoom, Web Ex, other conferencing software). You may use software such as Panopto to record a lecture and place it in an online shell.

If you will be teaching from a course shell and working more asynchronously, you will benefit from tips about navigating an online classroom. In this new environment, especially faced with a lot of uncertainty, engagement is key to success.

1. Check into your online course frequently. Students will need to see you present in the online classroom. Use messaging and the discussion board to be present with your class.

2. Respond to messages within 24–48 hours.

3. Set clear expectations with students. Make sure they know how many days you expect to be in the online classroom. Four days a week is a standard many online faculty set. Let them know exactly when they can expect grades from you. Be clear about the time you won’t be available. If you have delays, let them know.

4. Grade items quickly and provide good feedback. Remember, your students need to feel they are still connected and engaged with you. Even a couple of sentences on a short assignment or discussion post will go a long way.

5. Use weekly announcements to summarize the assignments, topics, and due dates for the week. Make sure the announcements get pushed to student e-mail addresses.

6. Use short videos in your course shell to give instructions and general course feedback on a weekly basis. These don’t need to be fancy or professional. Make them from the heart.

7. Be very clear about your participation expectations. Discussion and interaction is the heart of the online classroom. Make it count. Get students to respond to open-ended and thoughtful discussion questions, both responding to you and to their classmates.

8. When working with synchronous lecture technologies like Zoom, be sure to have ways to manage participation. Get used to the technology in advance and explain to students very clearly how you would like them to participate in the discussion. Remember, large online lecture groups can be a challenge to manage, so avoid a free for all. Stay engaging, and be sure to check in with your students frequently to keep their attention and reduce multitasking.

9. Remember, this will be a challenging time for both you and your students, and the written word can often be much sharper than you may intend. Be thoughtful and kind in your responses to students, and encourage them to do the same in your online courses. Your online classroom should be as safe and welcoming as your face-to-face classroom, and it might require more diligence on your part to provide a space for thoughtful communication.

There are many resources available on online education and teaching continuity. The websites of your learning management system will also have useful support to help you manage this transition. Here are some other useful sites:

Online Learning Consortium Planning and Emergency Preparedness – Excellent set of resources and webinars

Brown Teaching Continuity Guide – Excellent advice on managing synchronous sessions

Chronicle of Higher Education: How to Be a Better Online Teacher

Chronicle of Higher Education:How to Curate Your Zoom Backdrop, and Why You Should
Faculty Focus: Ten Online Teaching Tips You May Not Have Heard

Teaching in Higher Ed: 5 Tips for Teaching Live Online

Rebecca Barrett-Fox: Please do a bad job of putting your courses online

Resources for Students

Connectivity for students who don’t have it

  • FCC agreement stating that providers will waive late fees, not cutoff service for lack of payment, and open hot-spots.
  • Comcast COVID-19 response: offers free WiFi for 2 months to low income families plus all Xfinity hot-spots are free to the public during this time
  • Charter Free Internet offer for 2 months
  • AT&T COVID-19 response: offers open hot-spots, unlimited data to existing customers, and $10/month plans to low income families
  • Verizon COVID-19 response: no special offers, but following the FCC agreement.
  • Sprint COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, provides unlimited data to existing customers, and, starting Tuesday, 3/17/2020, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (I expect others will follow).
  • T-Mobile COVID-19 response: follows FCC agreement, plus unlimited data to existing customers, and, coming soon, will allow all handsets to enable hot-spots for 60 days at no extra charge (I expect others will follow).
Wabash Webinars
Teaching During Upheaval: You’ve Got This! (blog post) Wabash Center Resource Collection Dialogue On Teaching Podcast Episodes: Switching To Teaching Online Online Teaching, Online Learning (blog)

Teaching and Learning During Crisis (blog)

AAR’s Teaching Religion Program Unit has published the first edition of A Proven Practice: Reflections on Online Teaching. Each of the pieces is short (˜500 words) and details one specific technique. 

Pandemic Pedagogy Facebook Group: Educators, students, and others share insights, best (and worst) practices, advice, successes, challenges, and research about converting to fully online instruction during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Quality Matters Emergency Remote Instruction (ERI) Checklist is a tiered list of considerations, tips, and actionable strategies to enact during an institutional move to temporary remote instruction of classroom-based courses.

Chronicle of Higher Ed: How I’m Spending My Pandemic Summer Vacation
A professor creates a syllabus to guide herself and other faculty members in preparing for more remote teaching this fall, amid Covid-19.

Cengage: Stop-Gap Strategies to Quickly Transition Courses to Online
Many educators are considering moving courses to an online format, potentially for the first time. Hear Ashland University instructor Shawn Orr, discuss practical tips and strategies to utilize online instructional methods. Learn peer-tested tools to utilize best practices in online learning in order to complete courses in an online format. 

Firms Providing Short-Term Faculty Support and Course Development

The Chronicle of Higher Education is offering a free, downloadable guide, “Moving Online Now: How to Teach during Coronavirus.” We have featured some of its articles in this space earlier, but this is a useful compilation. Available to anyone. 

Webinar on Online Learning recorded from Friday, March 6, is available as a recording, at the “watch now” button on this page. (You’ll need to register.) Making the Shift to Online Learning: Emergency Preparedness & Instructional Continuity.

AAR’s Spotlight On Teaching: Translating Religion Courses to an Online Format.  The shift to online education involves a complex process of translation. Not unlike language translation, translation from traditional educational models to online environments requires a greater or lesser reconceptualization of education itself. This issue will cover such topics.

A detailed Google doc, written by Jenae Cohn and Beth Seltzer — both academ­ic-tech specialists at Stanford University — is geared for Stanford, but there’s a lot there that anyone can use. Their guide is particularly noteworthy for how it breaks down the synchronous-asynchronous distinction, explaining advantages and disadvantages of each and offering guid­ance about how to use Zoom for virtual meetings.

“So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online”:  Practical and very useful advice from Stephanie Moore and Charles B. Hodges on moving to online teaching in the short term. (Inside Higher Ed, March 11.)

“Transforming Your Online Teaching From Crisis to Community”: As more classes gravitate online due to the coronavirus, we must eschew the technocratic utopianism that implies that, simply by teaching remotely, professors are doing their jobs, write Cathy N. Davidson and Christina Katopodis. (Inside Higher Ed, March 11.)

“What Katrina Taught Us About Online Delivery” (Ray Schroeder, Inside Higher Ed): In 2005, more than 120 U.S. universities came to the aid of some 20 colleges and universities that had been impacted by Hurricane Katrina through shared online classes. (March 11)

The Chronicle of Higher Education has formed a private Facebook group to discuss the COVID-19 and higher education for readers to talk with one another, and with Chronicle reporters and editors, about it.  Join the conversation here. The Chronicle will also hold a virtual forum on Friday, March 13, at 2 p.m. EST, hosted by The Chronicle’s Karin Fischer and Bryan Alexander, author of Academia Next, to discuss the latest developments on how colleges are responding to the outbreak. Sign up here.

HASTAC provides a linked, living resource, document  full of suggestions, best practices, and links to tutorials. If you have any resources you would like to share, please feel free to use the google form to request access. (March 10)

Teaching Biblical Studies Online

Due to recent events, many of you will find yourselves teaching courses online for the first time. The Society of Biblical Literature hosts Bible Odyssey, an open-access site that contains various resources created by SBL members for the general public. Take a look at the videos, articles, timelines, and more that we offer that can assist with your transition to online teaching. Beginning this week with videos, we will be sharing these tools and resources along with tips to make the most of the site.

The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference has compiled a list of resources for those affected by coronavirus changes.

updated 07-30-2020

Wabash Center