Preparing to Teach Remotely and Doing It!

Recommended steps to get started

Step 1: Communicate with your students

Establish Communication

Share your expectations and tell student how to reach you. Be specific about times you are available and encourage students to stay engaged. Communicate proactively and let students know how quickly they can expect a response from you. Create an announcement in D2L Brightspace or Use your class listserv to establish communication

Share information

Create a place for students to ask and answer questions. Create a discussion forum in D2L Brightspace or Create a shared Word document to share information. Share: Preparing to Learn Remotely
Ask your students if they have a computer or other device to complete course content and if they reliable access to the internet when not on campus?  If you are unsure or have concerns, let your Dean know.

Create virtual office hours

Make yourself available to students. Be sure to communicate your schedule and expectations about office hours.
Create a Virtual Classroom in D2L Brightspace (has to be enabled for your class section), Invite your whole class to a Microsoft Team meeting or use Zoom.

Step 2: Create a Plan

Acknowledge that this is a stressful time! Be patient with yourself as you make the mental transition from a traditional course format to a digital one. Flexibility is key; focus on your course goals and try to minimize the use of new tools. Low-tech solutions are okay! If email works best for you, use it. Be sure to test any tool that you want to use before trying it with students.  

What can you and your students realistically accomplish in the remaining weeks of the term? How close to your original syllabus, goals and schedule can you keep? Come up with the learning goal(s) for each week remaining in your term.

Ensure whatever method you choose is accessible to all of your students. For assistance with accessibility, see the Accessiblilty and Universal Design web page or contact one of us for help. Also see the Teaching Remotely FAQ’s about Student Accommodations.

For more suggestions and resources, see the TN eCampus resource, “Strategies for Moving your Course Online Effectively and Efficiently.

Step 3: Update your syllabus

Update a copy of your syllabus to include details of how the course will change, including changes to assignments, due dates, or class schedule.

You should not change:

  • the grading scale
  • the course outcomes
  • the course description
  • the disability statement
  • the suicide statement.

Only your Program Coordinator can change:

  • evaluation testing procedures
  • textbook

Step 4: Begin the process of adapting your course content

Teaching remotely requires adaptation of face-to-face content. You will likely need to adjust communication, content, assessments, and expectations for this novel situation.

Now that you have a plan (Step 2), and you have updated your syllabus, begin the process of digitizing, uploading, and linking with whatever plattforms and tools you feel comfortable using. How-to tutorials can be found in Step 2 items and below in Step 5.

And if you need help, along the way…

Step 5: Deliver

Tutorials for D2L Brightspace and Microsoft Office

D2L Brightspace

Fortunately, every course has a D2L Brightspace course shell with your students already enrolled in it. You don’t have to become an online instructor overnight to use this tool to teach remotely. Brightspace is a powerful tool, but it can be used very simply too to just organize your course content. You can use it to whatever degree you feel comfortable.

Microsoft Office

You may decide to use Microsoft Office to share files in OneDrive and hold meetings in Microsoft Teams. Every student, staff and faculty member can download the entire Microsoft 365 suite for free to their home computers. And remember, you can email your entire class from Microsoft Outlook (email) using the class listserv address.

Step 6. First week back (Week 10: March 30 -) checklist

With so much going on as we get ready to go live in our online courses, here are just a few quick checklist items to make sure you and your students have a smooth transition.

Additional Resources

NISOD’s Teaching Online Toolkit is full of valuable resources for faculty transitioning their classes online. You will need the college username and password to access these resources. Contact for that information.