Texas Tech-Costa Rica Transitioning to Teaching Online

If you are just starting the transition, start by choosing a strategy.

If you have accomplished most of the transition (or think you have!), use the course transition checklist to make sure you haven't missed an essential component. 

If you have done both steps above, start reading, learning, and applying best practices in online teaching. 

How To Use This Guide

This guide is meant to help instructors quickly transition face-to-face courses to online delivery. This is a work in progress, so please check back for updates.

Transitioning your course online, and doing so on a short timeline, can be overwhelming. To help eliminate decision fatigue, choose a strategy based your course content and pedagogy, and then adapting that content and its delivery method in a consistent way. 

Strategy 1

If your class is small, or discussion-based, have your students read from their required course materials, journal about what they've learned, and then discuss in a live, synchronous setting. 

Strategy 2

If your class is larger or based on lectures, consider recording your lecture as a video, assigning a homework quiz, and then hosting a live Question & Answer session in a live, synchronous setting. 

Note: These strategies and all associated content have been reused and adapted from Vanderbilt University's blog post "Putting some of your course content online in a hurry? We have resources for you!"

For Smaller / Discussion-Based Courses → Read. Journal. Live Discussion.

In a small seminar, students will probably read one or more resources before class, think through how the materials relate to themselves, to the major themes of the course, and to other course materials. Then, students come to class prepared to make sense of what they have read with the group. There may be a bit of lecture from the professor and a lot of discussion among the seminar participants. 


How would this class format work online? Consider this possible model as a place to start: 

 Read. Journal. Live Discussion.

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You could label this "Activities by Class" or "Required Readings." Either way, make sure to name the content area in a way that its contents are easily recognizable to students. Create folders in the content area for each class meeting. Outline clearly for students the specific steps they will need to complete the activities in the class meeting. What will the need to watch? Read? Complete? Submit? Discuss? Etc.

You can upload a document or other file or you can link to library resources or online materials like websites. Make sure that the content is loaded into the corresponding content folder (step 1). 

where students can submit their answers to prompts about the reading and video before they come to the live class for the discussion. These submissions can be submitted for a grade in the gradebook, or the instructor can just scan them before class to make sure students are all on the right track. Make sure to include the link to the discussion board in the corresponding content folder (step 1). 

Finally, set up a virtual classroom

using a Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra meeting for the day and time your class normally meets. Make sure to include the link in the corresponding content folder (step 1). 

Note: These strategies and all associated content have been reused and adapted from Vanderbilt University's blog post "Putting some of your course content online in a hurry? We have resources for you!"

For Lectures / Larger Courses → Lecture Video. Homework Quiz. Live Q&A Sessions.

In a lecture-based class, the instructor will typically prepare lecture slides and a handful of check-in activities with students to ensure that everyone is making sense of the content. After class, students may have practice sets or other homework to complete. Students in larger classes may also have the opportunity to attend office hours ask questions and go over challenging material. 


How would this class format work online? Consider this possible model as a place to start:

Lecture Video. Homework Quiz. Live Q&A Sessions.

using the Record feature in Zoom to create a video in which you talk over your lecture slides. Add a link to the recorded video in the corresponding content folder for the class meeting (step 1). A couple of important tips for making educational videos:


Click here for more info

Build your video lectures

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You could label this "Activities by Class" or "Required Readings." Either way, make sure to name the content area in a way that its contents are easily recognizable to students. Create folders in the content area for each class meeting. Outline clearly for students the specific steps they will need to complete the activities in the class meeting. What will the need to watch? Read? Complete? Submit? Discuss? Etc.

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using a Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra meeting for regular office hours or Q&A sessions where students can talk one-on-one or in small groups with the professor. Make sure to include the link in the corresponding content folder (step 1). 

Finally, set up a virtual classroom

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Note: These strategies and all associated content have been reused and adapted from Vanderbilt University's blog post "Putting some of your course content online in a hurry? We have resources for you!"

If there are typically independent homework assignments after the lecture, giving students a way to check in and make sure that they are progressing on the homework can be useful. 


Continue reading here:

Create quizzes as check-ins

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Course Transition Checklist

Make a Communication Plan.

Learn how here:

Use Blackboard Announcements to quickly communicate with all students in your class at once. 

To support students and reduce the number of individual questions you must answer, consider implementing the following

Best Practices For Online Teaching

Now that you have survived the initial transition to online teaching, it's time to make sure that your course is accessible, inclusive, and effective. As you have time, use the resources below to improve your online pedagogy. 

For all types of online courses

  • Faculty can share course certificate on LinkedIn, CV, etc
  • Quick summary: “The Learning to Teach Online (LTTO) MOOC will help you develop a working understanding of successful online teaching strategies that you can apply in your own practice. The course is based upon the multi award winning open educational resource developed by Dr Simon McIntyre and Karin Watson.”
  • A short 3 page PDF that focuses on actionable methods (plus their citation for further reading) in the following areas: connection, content, assessments.
  • Would be highly valuable practices in the face-to-face setting as well.

For synchronous online courses

Reimagining the Engineering Student Experience 

With a new semester approaching, and the foreseeable future of the higher ed classroom unknown, you're invited to join faculty from across the globe to learn and share real-world examples and best practices in remote instruction.


Click HERE and reserve your seat today! 

Week of July 27-31, 2020

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