SIP 11.9 Emergency Transitioning to Remote Teaching and Learning

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Student Agazi Abay studying near Denver Performing Arts Complex.

This week, the SIPsquad would like to focus on supporting faculty members as they move into perhaps the most challenging moment in our institution’s history: fully implementing remote teaching and learning, mid-semester. This unprecedented precautionary measure, intended to combat the spread and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on our campus community, has the faculty working around the clock to move everything online. So many of us have never taught online, so we would like to point you toward some resources to get you up and running.

Take a SIP of this: emergency transitioning to remote teaching and learning

Here are a few thoughts to get you off on the right foot:

  • Don’t panic. Our current use of technology in everyday life (social media, email, video chat, ubiquitous smartphone use, etc.) has us well positioned to use tools we are familiar with to alter our instructional-delivery mode with relative ease.
  • The vast majority of our students are digital natives and will likely adapt to this transition much easier than our seasoned faculty. The primary roadblock they will face, though, is a shift in class organization. Do your best to maintain any structure you can from your face-to-face class and organize a solid plan for remote completion of the semester.
  • Your best bet is to break the plan into chunks. If you focus on the next two weeks instead of trying to create eight weeks of online learning in one fell swoop, it will minimize stress on you and your students.
  • Ask for help. Take advantage of the resources listed below but also reach out to your peers in your department and across campus. There are so many seasoned online faculty members at Metropolitan State University of Denver, and they can be an invaluable resource as you consider this shift.
  • Once you have your plan developed, communicate it in its entirety to your students, if possible. Prepare to communicate with your students much more frequently for the rest of the semester, too – you may have emailed your class only once or twice before, but now set up a schedule of Sunday-evening or Monday-morning emails that announce the plan for the week, and check in by email a few times between classes as well.

Take advantage of the following MSU Denver resources that are designed to support you during this transition:

  • Self-directed training for online teaching is available at MSU Denver Ready. This training will provide you with the minimum tools needed to continue instruction online.
  • Participate in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design’s virtual drop-in hours.
  • ITS will offer support to faculty and students by using the Helpdesk number (303-352-7548). There will be a special help desk set up soon to support students who are struggling with technology.
  • Faculty can also seek support from the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design by calling 303-615-0800. There are also online tutorials available from the CTLD.
  • Microsoft Teams is a tool that all faculty have in the Outlook suite, and it can help you livestream your classes with relatively little learning curve and high accessibility. Here is an instructional video (two minutes long) to help you get started.

And finally, here are some SIPs on online learning. You may have skimmed over them before when you were just teaching face-to-face, but a reread may come in handy now.

SIP 4.14 Ensuring Online Accessibility: Three Best Practices

SIP 10.13 Using Active Learning Strategies in Online Courses

SIP 9.11 Creating a Human Component in Online Learning

SIP 10.2 Establish a Strong Teaching Presence Online

SIP 10.10 Establish a Strong Social Presence Online

Still thirsty? Take a SIP of this:

This blog post from the Scholarly Teacher: Completing a Face-to-Face Course Online Following a Campus Mandate.

Coronavirus and the Great Online Learning Experiment. Chronicle of Higher Ed, March 11, 2020.

Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start. Chronicle of Higher Ed. March 9, 2020.

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