Plan

For the time being [...] it is worth treating this as unusual: an emergency response, rather than expecting yourself to spin up a well-developed online course… Ground yourself in the course goals/outcomes and then think about what kinds of engagement can reasonably meet some or all of those goals.” —Jacqueline Wernimont, Co-Director, HASTAC


  1. Be sure to read the "Get Started" page if you haven't already.

  2. Use the guide below to help plan for teaching a course remotely.

From the good work of Keep Teaching UC Davis.

To move parts of a course online, first consider your comfort and skill with the relevant instructional technologies, the structure of your course, the particular needs of your students, the requirements of your material and/or your discipline, the assignments and assessments typically used in the course, and the limits caused by timelines and scalability. Above all, because you are working with unexpected limits, we advise you to observe (and encourage your students to observe) reasonable expectations.

Consider using this course design template.

For in-depth course design support consider taking the Integrated Course Design for Remote Instruction course.

  • Determine realistic goals for the circumstances

    • What can I realistically accomplish during this time period?

    • What learning outcomes (still) need to be addressed?

    • What can I maintain in my original syllabus and class schedule?

    • How can students keep up with the reading and assignments?

    • How can I add structure and accountability to keep students engaged in course content?

    • Which assignments must I keep, and which can I modify or cut, if any?

    • What exams will be given, and how?

  • Consider class size and technology access

    • How many students are in the class? How might class size affect my choices?

    • What is my students’ access to the internet and necessary technologies?

  • Review your syllabus, and prioritize how the course and course content will be delivered

    • How can content best be delivered (e.g.,)?

    • What existing resources created by me or others (e.g., TED Talks, YouTube videos) could be used?

    • What course materials do I need to create?

    • Use this syllabus template.

  • Review the course grading structure and policy

    • Will changes be needed to the grading structure?

    • Do I need to consider alternative weighting for assessments and grades?

    • Can I make remaining assignments and coursework optional?

    • Should there be an alternative timeline for exams (e.g., if I typically give 2 exams per quarter, should I consider giving 3 exams and dropping the lowest grade)?

    • What tools can I use to assist me with grading? (e.g., Canvas Quizzes)

  • Assess your technology use and comfort level

    • How have I already structured my Canvas course in ways that might support online teaching?

    • What is my comfort level with using Canvas? What support do I need to get more comfortable?

    • What access do I have to the internet and necessary technologies?

    • What new technologies do I need to learn?

    • What is my comfort level with using teaching technology?

  • Develop a Communication Plan

    • What communication modes are in place?

    • Will these need to change to substitute for face-to-face time with students?

    • How will I work with my teaching assistants?

Once you have a clear sense of your needs and priorities, you’ll make some important decisions about teaching strategies, the structure of your Canvas page, and the sort of media you will use to communicate with students and share course content.

Consider using this course design template.

For in-depth course design support consider taking the Integrated Course Design for Remote Instruction course.

Use the syllabus template.