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Tips and Recommendations for On-Line Teaching for Fall 2020


This document is a compilation of tips and strategies collected from the MPC, Academic Affairs, student feedback, IDEA team, and other sources that we offer as guidance to help you provide the best

learning experience possible via on-line platforms this fall.


Course Planning:


  • Whether you are teaching fully asynchronous, fully synchronous, or a hybrid of both, we recommend the following approach:



Asynchronous courses:

  • Asynchronous courses allow students to complete their work over the course of a week at their own pace. Students have a timeframe and due dates of when they need to connect to their class.


  • Consider posting a short video each week introducing students to that week’s content

  • Students can sometimes feel disconnected in an online course, so build in opportunities for students to interact with each other and with the instructor. For example, both Discussion Board and Voicethread are platforms for students to interact with each other.

  • If you are going to include lecture materials (e.g., through Voicethread using slides, other video recordings), break these up into 20-25 minute presentations with some sort of accompanying activity or discussion.

  • Include weekly assessments to make sure students are regularly engaging with the material and understanding the course content. These might include reflection papers, Discussion Board posts, short videos, etc. 

  • Be reasonable in your expectations for how much time you will spend interacting with students, monitoring student engagement, and responding to or grading weekly activities and assessments. Responding to every Discussion Board post from all students may not be feasible, so communicate your approach to students at the beginning of the semester. 


Synchronous courses:

  • Synchronous courses require students to participate in partial to entire class meetings at the exact same time. Students and instructors are online at scheduled dates and times to participate in lectures, discussions, activities, and presentations.


  • Keeping students engaged in a synchronous class for 3 hours will be very challenging, so as much as possible include some of the asynchronous work described above as part of your 3 hours of class time

  • Asynchronous activities can prepare students for synchronous time, e.g., watching a video, reading a case study, writing a critical reflection 

  • Incorporate polling, chats, and small groups discussions in breakout rooms into your synchronous time

  • Some students may still be experiencing personal challenges, like low bandwidth, kids at home, etc. that may sometimes interfere with their ability to join at a specific time. Some students may need to join by phone or have their camera off. 

  • Record all lectures so students who cannot attend synchronously can watch later.

  • The decision about whether to recording discussions and other activities should consider confidentiality and whether it will affect authentic participation. 

  • All recordings should be posted for a limited period of time but no more than the semester and should be posted through Blackboard or some other secure (university approved) space for posting such content.

  • Academic Affairs/Student Affairs will provide suggested language to send out to students if you record and post your sessions. Please do not record sessions without informing students.


Additional Resources:



If you have additional resources or tips to share with instructors, please email them to Kristen Hood ( so we can add them to our website.

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