Communicate with students right away: Even if you don’t have a full plan in place, send a class email to your students. Let them know courses will resume online on March 30th and that you’ll be using Brightspace to continue instruction. This is a good time to reassure students that we’re all facing this challenge together and instruction will continue.
Consider realistic goals for continuation: Prioritize your goals for the course. What can you realistically accomplish, given the time and the challenges of online delivery? Will you need to make changes to major assignments and/or exams?
Review your course schedule to determine priorities: What do you most want students to learn and be able to do by the end of the course? Consider how you can best achieve these goals in the remaining five weeks of instruction. Is it most important to provide lectures? Create new structures for discussion or group work? Redesign tests or projects? Given the fact that this semester will be shorter and students will need time to adjust to online learning, your course schedule has to change. What can be cut or condensed? What is essential?
Review your syllabus for points that must be changed: Consider policies, due dates, procedures, and assignments. How will these change in an online environment? Note the changes so you can communicate these with students.
Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students: Rely on tools and pedagogical approaches that you know, and introduce new tools only when absolutely necessary.
Reset expectations for students: The COVID-19 situation is evolving and will impact students in a variety of ways. You will need to reconsider what you expect in terms of participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through these changes, keep in mind that students may have legitimate reasons for not meeting your expectations, including access to technology and internet, illness, or caring for family members. Be prepared to handle requests for extensions or accommodations with equity and compassion.
Create a more detailed communication plan: Once you have details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with how and when they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). Anticipating students will have questions, let them know how and when they can expect to receive a reply from you.