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Endeavor Foundation Center for Faculty Development

Remote Teaching

Preparing for Virtual, Synchronous Teaching and Learning

Questions about Campus Policies & Processes?

See this centralized FAQ.  For policies and processes related to your classes, see this section for faculty.  

Questions about the Shift to Remote Teaching?  

How to shift to the appropriate virtual environments for different teaching and learning activities (e.g., choosing the right tools for each activity, how to make these tools work for you)  --> Instructional Design and Technology team @ (Messages with certain keywords auto-direct to the IDT team, and they divvy up requests for quick responses.)

How to adapt or finesse your teaching within virtual environments (after you’ve picked the technology platform/tool and know how to use it), or what you need for ongoing faculty development and teaching support  --> Nancy Chick @ 

Technical support -->  IT Helpdesk @ 

Rollins Remote Teaching Resources on Canvas

You're thinking, "How do I facilitate a whole-class discussion (or show a video, or share handouts, or have students give presentations) in these circumstances?" See this new and still-in-progress Canvas site in which we share 
  • which technologies best support which teaching activities,
  • how to use those technologies, and
  • how to adapt your pedagogy and your activities most effectively.


As we move to synchronous learning environments following spring break, here are some useful tips for thinking ahead -- from Indiana University's "Keep Teaching" site:

  • Communicate with your students right away: Even if you don't have a plan in place yet, communicate with your students as soon as possible, informing them that changes [may be] coming and what your expectations are for checking email or Canvas, so you can get them more details soon.

  • Review your course schedule to determine priorities:  Identify your priorities during the [potential] disruption—providing [content], structuring new opportunities for discussion or group work, collecting assignments, etc. What activities are better rescheduled, and what can or must be done online? Give yourself a little flexibility in that schedule, just in case the situation takes longer to resolve than you think.

  • Review your syllabus for points that must change: What will have to temporarily change in your syllabus (policies, due dates, assignments, etc.)? Since students will also be thrown off by the changes, they will appreciate details whenever you can provide them.

  • Identify your new expectations for students:  You will have to reconsider some of your expectations for students, including participation, communication, and deadlines. As you think through those changes, keep in mind the impact this situation may have on students' ability to meet those expectations.... Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.

  • Create a more detailed communications plan: Once you have more details about changes in the class, communicate them to students, along with more information about how they can contact you (email, online office hours, etc.). A useful communication plan also lets students know how soon they can expect a reply. They will have many questions, so try to figure out how you want to manage that.

Draw on Your Strengths

What are your strengths and regular pedagogies in your regular classes? 

  • Do you lead effective whole-class discussions? 
  • Is structuring good small-group activities your superpower?
  • Is think-pair-share your sweet spot?
  • Are mini-lectures peppered with peer instruction your jam?
  • Do you regularly use formative assessments (e.g., minute paper, muddiest point) to make your students' thinking visible?

Then think about adapting this strength to the new learning environment (e.g., synchronous via WebEx, asynchronous via Canvas). All of the above are possible.

See the "See recommendations for using WebEx for synchronous class sessions" tab above. 

Start with What You Know about Teaching

Josh Eyler, author of How Humans Learn and Director of Faculty Development at the University of Mississippi, advises us to start with the pedagogy:

"Today's tip for those moving rapidly to remote instruction:

  • Take it lesson by lesson, bird by bird, as Anne Lamott would say. Look at material one day at a time & think about the most efficient and effective way to help students learn it.
  • Would lecture work best? If so, do you do it yourself through an easy video platform? Or do you find high quality content online? How can you set it up so students will not only watch it but learn from it? Build analytical, interpretive questions into the viewing experience.
  • Would discussion work best? Can it be synchronous through [WebEx]? That will help with social presence. If not, how can we use blogs or other forums to craft artful, analytical discussions w/clear evaluation criteria?
  • Would an activity work best? Should it be something they do individually and then you offer feedback? Or can you use [Canvas] to randomly assign groups so that they can interact? Minimally, Google docs is great low-tech collaboration tool for activities."

Draw on the Familiarity of Hurricane Preparedness

Just as Fall '19 classes began, Rollins closed for several days as Hurricane Dorian threatened to make landfall here. Faculty shared resources and advice for how to manage that sudden closure. 

Some of that advice is collected in this blog post, "Teaching in the Eye of a Hurricane."  Scroll down to the bulleted lists and the "Addenda from Colleagues."

Image source: by ayvengo at Getty Images/iStockphoto


You and your students are first and foremost whole human beings, and these are at best uncertain times.  There's much to say about treating ourselves and each other generously, but let me share a couple of helpful resources: