Teaching a fully online course requires careful planning and preparation.
Transitioning to remote teaching in the current environment cannot
replicate this type of careful advanced planning and should be viewed as
an adaptive response.
It’s essential to plan for increased communication within a remote
teaching and learning space.
Adjust your expectations for students: You may need
to adjust some of your expectations for students, including
participation, engagement, grading, and deadlines. Students may
encounter a variety of barriers (e.g. illness, power outage, slow
internet connections, caring for family members) that could affect
their ability to meet expectations. Be ready to handle requests for
extensions or accommodations equitably.
Develop a communication plan: It’s important
that you develop a robust communication plan. Clarify your modified
expectations and course elements and communicate them to students.
Tell students how they can contact you (email, phone, online office
hours, Microsoft Teams, etc.), and how soon they can expect a reply
from you. Use Drexel Blackboard Learn announcements to push out
Consider realistic goals for instruction: Be
realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished in a remote
environment. Refocus the course goals on realistically attainable
objectives. Clarify what your expectations are for students’
efforts with regard to reading and homework. Be clear with students
what you expect of them with regard to participation and online
Adjust your syllabus as needed: Clarify what policies
(attendance, participation, grading, schedule) will need to be altered
for the duration of the remote delivery. Provide as much detail as
possible about changes. Do not expect students to participate in
synchronous sessions at a time other than the scheduled class meeting
In moving a face-to-face course to a remote online space, modifications
will be necessary. Drexel University provides a suite of technology
tools to help modify your course accordingly. By using Drexel-supported
technologies, you can ensure students have access to and support for the
tools you are using to teach.
Review a list of tools supported by Drexel’s Instructional
We recommend staying as flexible with your instruction as possible and
be willing to switch tactics if something isn’t working. Above
all, we urge you to stay focused on making sure the students are
connecting with you, the course, and each other as much as possible. You
will also want to keep a close eye on the course learning goals--while
you might not be able to teach something exactly the way you imagined,
as long as you’re still meeting the learning goals of the course,
you’re doing fine.
When changes to the learning environment occur, creating an inclusive
and accessible learning experience for students with disabilities is a
top priority. This includes providing accessible content and
implementing student disability accommodations.
Faculty and students should be prepared to discuss accommodation needs
that may arise. The Drexel University’s Disability Resources team
will be available to answer questions about implementing accommodations.
Your new plans and modifications should focus on six key consideration
areas: Communication, Assessment, Assignments and Activities, Lecture,
Participation & Engagement, and Library Resources.
As we transition to remote instruction, communicate with your students
right away and often. Even if you don’t have a plan in place for
your course, communicate with your students as soon as it’s clear
that your course will need remote delivery. Be clear with them that
changes are coming and what your expectations are for near term
engagement with the course. Communication is best done with courses by
using the announcements or email tools in Drexel Blackboard Learn.
Even if you have not yet finalized all the changes to your course, it is
important to send a message to your students prior to April 6th so they
know what they might expect. To get started, here is a sample email you
Dear [insert course name here] students,
I’m writing to let you know that the University is implementing a
remote teaching strategy in response to the novel coronavirus. What this
means for you is that we will not be meeting in-person at our normal
class location. Instead, we will meet online at the same time our class
normally meets. However, I will be hosting the class through Zoom. I
will also be using our Drexel Blackboard Learn course to deliver and
collect materials for the class. To access the course, go to
learn.drexel.edu. Once you log in with your UserID and password, you
should see our course listed under “My Courses”.
Over the next few days, I will keep you informed about how our course
experience will change. Know for now that we are planning to move
forward with the course, and please be patient while we get things
shifted for this new mode. I will be back in touch soon with more
[Insert your name]
Get Started with Drexel Blackboard Learn or
register for upcoming workshops through career pathways on Drexel
Assessments and Assignments
Offering assessments in a remote setting will require some planning. For
remote delivery, the primary concern should be assessing how well
students have achieved the key learning objectives and determining what
objectives are still unmet. It may be necessary to modify the nature of
the assessment to allow for the more limited affordances of the remote
Please be aware that students may be managing online assessments for the
first time, and that may affect their performance. Try to avoid letting
external factors (e.g. the use of new technology) factor in to the final
grade on the assessments.
Modify your hard-copy exams The primary tool you
should use to deliver assessments is Learn. If you normally give paper
exams, we recommend that you use Drexel Blackboard Learn’s Tests
tool to create and administer them. The tool will allow most question
Get Started with Drexel Blackboard Learn Tests.
Modify your submission strategies If you have
students do presentations, group projects, or other performance-based
assessments, then you may need to consider how those will be
demonstrated. They can use the same tools to do this as you –
Zoom or Collaborate – but they may need additional support to
use these potentially new tools. Register for Drexel Blackboard
Learn or Zoom training offered by the Instructional Technology Group.
Instructions for assignments can be posted within your Drexel Blackboard
Learn course. Consider using the Drexel Blackboard Learn Assignment Tool
to collect and store individual submissions and allow students to see
that they submitted the assignment.
Get Started with Drexel Blackboard Learn Assignments.
Lectures, Activities, and Discussions
There are a number of options available to you for holding online class
meetings, giving lectures, facilitating class discussions, and assigning
This blog post may help you get started thinking about which options could work
for your course.
Register for Collaborate, Zoom, or other trainings offered by the
Instructional Technology Group.
Many course readings may already be provided at Drexel University
as digital content or in books that students have purchased. If you have
any materials that are only available as physical hardcopies and which
students do not already own, please contact the library
in order to develop a digital strategy.
There are many groups and individuals across the University who are here
to help and support you in your efforts to transition to
remote-teaching. We recommend that you check with your department first
to see if there are individuals within your school and college who have
been designated to help.
Remote Teaching SharePoint Site
The remote teaching task force has put together several resources and recommendations for teaching remotely. These can be found on the Remote Teaching at Drexel SharePoint site.
Technology Training and Support
For questions or support with instructional technology we recommend that
you email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional
technology training sessions will continue to be made available on the
Instructional Technology Group’s website. For additional help transitioning to remote-teaching check out the
ITG COVID-19 Prep Page.
Zoom also runs virtual live training multiple times a day. For more tutorials about using Zoom, visit https://support.zoom.us.
The Peer2Peer Support Network includes faculty across the university who have volunteered to provide support to their colleagues teaching remotely. This group offers 1:1 faculty support with teaching and learning technologies from a faculty perspective. Faculty can make a request for support with a specific technology tool and will then be paired with a faculty colleague who has expertise with that technology. Faculty seeking general teaching support will also be paired with a colleague who can help them identify resources and ways to get started teaching remotely. To take advantage of this opportunity complete the online request form.
Remote Course Facilitators
The Graduate College has trained a large number of graduate students who are willing to serve as remote course facilitators. Remote Course Facilitators can help faculty manage several functions during synchronous class meetings such as monitoring the chat box, managing the waiting room, or creating and checking in with breakout rooms. Learn more about the RCF program on the Graduate College's site or submit a request for a fall remote course facilitator.
CASTLE Faculty Fellows
CASTLE has six faculty serving as CASTLE Faculty Fellows this term. These Fellows
support Drexel faculty who teach undergraduate STEM courses by answering questions they have about implementing effective online/remote teaching and serving as a sounding board for faculty who want advice about an approach they would like to try in their classroom. Visit CASTLE's Faculty Fellows site for more information.
Instructional Design and Multimedia Services (IDMS)
IDMS works one-on-one with faculty developing online courses at Drexel University. IDMS can provide consultations to ensure sound design (alignment of learning objectives, assignments, and assessments), best practices for video/audio setup for remote teaching, or general review and feedback on a course. Contact the Instructional Multimedia & Design Services (IDMS) team to learn more about how an Instructional Designer can support you.
Online Learning Council Professional Development Courses
In addition to supporting emergency remote instruction, the Online
Learning Council provides extensive and in-depth training in online
pedagogy, course design and course review via professional development
courses offered each term: The Essentials of Online Teaching, Applying
the Quality Matters Rubric, and Advanced Pedagogy and Instructional
Design. Over 200 Drexel faculty, staff and graduate students have been
trained since the fall of 2018. Check out a list of upcoming OLC Fellow-facilitated professional development
courses including dates and registration information.
CASTLE Remote-Teaching Resources
CASTLE has compiled a list of helpful articles and websites
with additional tips and suggestions for remote teaching in emergency
Details on all the precautionary measures enacted thus far and plans for the fall term can be found on
Drexel coronavirus website.