Teaching Online During COVID-19


Welcome! I’ve set up these resources to help people who are starting to move their classes temporarily online due to school closings.

This is a difficult time, for sure. The temporary shift to teaching and learning online is not something anyone had anticipated when the term began, but now it is the reality we are dealing with. There will be some many challenges along the way. I’ve written about some of this in a brief article that appears in The Conversation.

First and foremost, I think we all — administrators, instructors, and students — need to focus on (a) keeping ourselves and others healthy and (b) meeting our instructional objectives for the term to the extent possible. People first. Content second. Technology third.

I’ve seen a lot of discussion online about whether this emergency situation will lead toward more online teaching and learning in the future. I think that’s the wrong question to be asking right now. What universities are asking their campus instructors to do under emergency circumstances is not the same as what online instructors regularly do.

The COVID-19 crisis is not turning campus classes into online classes. It is temporarily shifting them online. That may sound like the same thing, but the difference is a meaningful one. Online classes are designed specifically for that mode of learning. The instructors are versed in using tools and pedagogical strategies that work well on the medium. The students have opted in to online learning, and have established a baseline of technology access and commitment to learning in this way.

Again, these are not online classes that we are creating right now. These are campus classes shifted temporarily online. The classes were not designed for this purpose. The instructors and students were not prepared for it. Everyone is doing the best they can in response to a difficult situation.

With that in mind, in response to this difficult situation, I offer some of my expertise, developed across a 20+ year career of teaching online, designing online courses, and researching online learning. I’m continuing to produce posts on this topic and will aggregate them here (so keep checking back, or follow my blog), and I’m happy to take requests if there’s a topic you would like me to address in a post (email me).

More about People first. Content second. Technology third.

Coming next

  • Preparing for the first synchronous session
  • Example: Reworking an exam in a history class
  • Helping the students who face the biggest barriers