While we are scrambling to transition face-to-face courses to remote teaching, we’d like to remind everyone that perfection isn’t necessary.

Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering, There is a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in. Anthem by Leonard Cohen

In the spirit of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, we offer the following ideas for your consideration.

  • Flexibility is vital right now. You didn’t sign up for a mid-semester move to remote teaching. Your students didn’t register for an online class. Students are looking to you for guidance and support. Are you treating you students as you would want to be treated in this situation?
  • Students likely do not have great internet connections. A large number are doing remote learning on cell phones. Students may be experiencing loss of income, ill family members, and stress about the uncertainty of this situation.
  • Let go of teaching your class as you always have. Take a step back and think about your learning objectives. How can you accomplish your learning objectives in this new situation?
  • Make the tools you have work to your advantage. Elaborate isn’t necessary.
  • Expecting all students to log into Zoom at a particular time is a challenging requirement, at best. Record any live sessions (save recordings to your computer, rather than the cloud; it gives you faster access to the recordings). Upload recordings to Kaltura or YouTube and provide the links to the recordings for students who could not attend. UIS has asked that all synchronous sessions to take place at normal class times to avoid conflicts among classes for students.
  • Asynchronous learning has some advantages in fluid, crisis situations. It allows students to work on their classes when their new schedule allows. Consider providing students material to read and then summarize, create an info graphic, find current events articles related to the subject, etc. Engagement sometimes looks different in an online environment, and it can be meaningful and rich. Check out this video from a theater instructor for why asynchronous learning might be your best bet.
  • Reconsider creating narrated PowerPoint or talking head videos for three hours a week. Long videos take a lot of bandwidth. Consider short videos (5 minutes or less). Post content in Word or PowerPoint files, too. Reserve synchronous Zoom sessions for discussion and student questions.

Remember, perfection is not necessary. Communicate with students. Simplify where possible. Ask for help when you need it.

Resources:

Everybody Ready for the Big Migration to Online College? Actually, No by Kevin Carey, NYT TheUpshot

Keep Calm and Keep Teaching by Jody Greene

Please do a bad job of putting your course online by Rebecca Barrett-Fox