Some of us have already stopped holding classes in person. It looks like a lot more of us will be making the shift online very soon, as the COVID-19 outbreak will continue to expand in the United States.
We have a couple months left in the semester. I don’t think anybody knows whether campuses that go to online teaching will switch back to campus before the semester is over? It looks like we need to be prepared to stay online through the end of the spring.
This post is for advice.
I don’t have much useful advice to offer though – I’m very inexperienced when it comes to teaching online! I’m hoping to draw on the breadth of experience in the readership to provide helpful comments and links to help this shift. There are two areas I think many of us need to sort out:
1. What the most effective way to shift a class to online if you haven’t done this before, with the fewest bumps and the least unengaging experience for students? If we all shift to the LMS (canvas, moodle, blackboard), will they all crash? Any tips on doing quizzes, exams, assignments, lessons, discussions? If you know of a helpful resource for newbies, please share it. I can google these things up, but I imagine some of you have better knowledge and I hope you can share it.
2. What’s the least horrible way to move labs online? I know this will vary with each course, but what might your plan be if it typically involves wet lab and/or field experiences? I know that online labs are a thing, but we are teaching labs that weren’t designed for going online. Does your university have a plan? Or is each instructor or department left to come up with their own?
Please leave comments below! (You can make this entirely anonymous, just leave the fields blank.) If there are helpful comments on public social media that I find, I’ll try to track them down and paste them in.
*update: My link contribution is a thing in the Chronicle just for this occasion: “Going online in a hurry: what to do and where to start“
*update” I’d like to add, thanks to the wisdom of Dr. Stanley in the comments:
3. What are we doing about our students who don’t have reliable or affordable internet at home? Not everybody has unlimited data or a fast connection at home, and maybe not even an adequate laptop, and working out of libraries and other public areas is often not feasible, especially if all classes go fully online. Thoughts? Plans? What might be the role for libraries?