Faculty Resources

Distance Learning

Resources for Faculty for Short-term Distance Instruction

Continue to Teach

Overview

In the event of a campus closure or emergency we would like you to continue teaching your classes. Certainly, there will be things that you cannot duplicate via distance means (labs for example); however, please start thinking about how you can continue to teach the critical content in your classes.

Strategy

Given the potential for the Covid-19 virus to disrupt campus operations, we would like you to consider your options for online delivery of your classes. We are aware that a number of you have limited experience delivering classes online, but there are options that you can use that will allow you to continue your classes in some manner.

This is certainly a stressful time for both you and your students. During these unprecedented events, we need to do what we can to ensure that students have the opportunity to complete the semester. I was at a meeting last week in Seattle with NWCCU and they are considering options for allowing us to complete the semester using distance education means and possibly a shorter semester. As we learn more, we will keep you informed.

Here are some suggestions:
Identify plans ahead of time:

Address emergencies and expectations up front in your course syllabus. Include detailed information such as procedures and tools you will utilize in the event that campus is closed. Your students will know exactly what to do and can prepare accordingly. Consider doing this each semester so you are prepared and can engage quickly in the event of an emergency.

Communicate with your students right away:

Even if you don't have a plan in place yet communicate with your students as soon as possible. Inform them of the changes to come and provide direction for your expectations for checking email or Moodle so you can provide them with future updates and developments. 

Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction:

What do you think you can realistically accomplish during this time period? Do you think you can maintain your original syllabus and schedule? Do you want students to keep up with the readings and assignments? 

Review your syllabus for points that must change:

What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus; policies, due dates and assignments? Since students will also be thrown off by the changes they will appreciate details whenever you can provide them. Avoid busy work and keep your learning outcomes at the center of your course.

Rearrange course activities:

Consider delaying activities where face-to-face interaction is most crucial. Convert synchronous activities into asynchronous activities to ease scheduling challenges as long as the new activities promote the same learning outcomes. 

Maintain normal course scheduling:

It is ideal to schedule activities during the normal class time to avoid disruption of your students' commitments outside of class time or interference with other courses in which they are enrolled. Additionally, please consider not penalizing students who cannot participate due to lack of or poor Internet access or factors relating to accessibility. FAQ section below. 

Select familiar tools and methods:

Rely on tools and workflow that are familiar to you and your students. Utilize new tools or methods only when absolutely necessary. Introducing new tools and processes may leave your students with heightened mental or emotional stress resulting in lack of energy and attention for learning.

Clarify new expectations:

Keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations including; illness, lacking power, no Internet connection or needing to care for family members. You may need to reconsider some of your previous expectations for students including participation, communication and deadlines. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.

Provide detailed communication:

Your students may have a lot of questions so consider how you will manage their requests. Once you have more details about changes to the class communicate them to students along with information about how to contact you. A useful communication plan lets students know how soon they can expect a reply.

More Outside Resources

Tools/Resources

Communication and course materials can be disseminated by using: 

  • Email for direct communication. 
  • Zoom for live communication with your students and hosting your classes online.
  • Moodle for course announcements, assignments, course materials, lecture notes or PowerPoints, quizzes, assessments/exams, and forum discussions. Moodle is an accessible platform.
    Please refer to the Montana Tech website for resources to assist in online course delivery: https://www.mtech.edu/distance/facultyResources.html