An Urgent Transition

Each semester, we put careful effort into designing and sequencing our courses to maximize student learning. However, severe weather, contagion, or other disruptions sometimes mean that plans need to be adjusted and some components of in-person instruction must shift to remote work or online spaces. Simultaneously, we and our students may also be experiencing a wide range of related challenges such as power outages, transportation struggles, limited internet bandwidth, difficulty finding quiet and safe locations to work, and added emotional and cognitive load that reduce our capacity for engagement and productivity.

Depending on the conditions during any individual disruption, we may need to use multiple different course formats (in-person, hybrid, or online) or employ technology to maintain relationships with students and ensure continuity in their learning. Once we decide how to engage with students, distinguishing between “must-have” learning objectives and activities from “nice-to-have” ones can allow us to focus our, and their, efforts on areas of greatest importance. Finally, given the human cognitive and emotional toll of the events that force disruptions to normal classroom education, it may be helpful to consider trauma-informed teaching principles and ways they can inform our approach. As you plan how best to adapt your course during these circumstances, it may be useful to review these Five Design Principles for Resilient Teaching.

How to Use this Site

This resource offers helpful strategies and suggestions for designing learning experiences during disruptions to normal on-campus operations, ranging from short-term events like a hurricane to long-term instability such as during an infectious disease outbreak.

Use the links on the right to review considerations for different elements of your courses, from Choosing a Modality or Ensuring Access to course content to designing Activities and Feedback and Assessing Learning. Many pages have additional sub-pages for ease of navigation.

For additional support, reach out to Teaching and Learning Technologies or the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning anytime.