Access Center- Student Disability Support Services
Remote Teaching Information and Resources
Teaching during times of potential disruption requires creative and flexible thinking about how instructors can support students in achieving essential core course learning objectives.
While the process will no doubt feel unfamiliar and at times possibly frustrating, try as much as possible to be patient. There will always be hiccups, but times of disruption are, by their nature, disruptive, and everyone expects that. Be willing to switch tactics if something isn’t working. Above all, stay focused on making sure the students are comfortable, and keep a close eye on the course learning goals--while you might not be able to teach something exactly the way you imagined, as long as you’re still meeting the learning goals of the course, you’re doing fine.
Below are a few important points for faculty to consider as they transition into online formats.
Reset 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, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
Ensure course materials and readings are accessible
Some students may rely on access technologies for course materials, and some may only be working from a mobile device with limited network connectivity. For best results, content should be entered into Blackboard directly. If attaching additional files is necessary, ensure those files are accessible before uploading them, and consider providing more than one format of the files.
For more information on how to ensure documents are accessible, please visit MSU Denver Ready’s Accessibility page: https://www.msudenver.edu/ctld/ready/ready-to-learn/accessibility/
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous
Instructors may choose to engage their students synchronously or asynchronously depending on the course content or material that needs to be taught. There are many advantages and disadvantages to asynchronous and synchronous teaching options. Regardless of the selected methods, faculty must ensure that student accommodations continue to be met, including captioning for all video content.
Synchronous teaching: instructors and students gather at the same time and interact in “real time” with a very short or “near-real time” exchange between instructors and students. This method allows for real-time feedback and engagement which can help reinforce concepts for students. However, students may or may not actively participate, and a variety of technical challenges may further inhibit student participation – such as whether or not students have access to the necessary technologies, or if the tools being used create any barriers for students.
Asynchronous teaching: instructors prepare course materials for students in advance of students’ access. Students may access the course materials at a time of their choosing and will interact with each over a longer period of time. Asynchronous teaching provides a greater amount of flexibility for students to receive and engage with materials, and can be easier to access for students with limited network capabilities (e.g. bandwidth requirements for discussion boards are far lower than for live video tools). However, asynchronous teaching lacks the real-time feedback available in synchronous teaching.
The Access Center highly recommends the use of asynchronous tools where possible to provide the highest level of equity possible for all students.
In most cases, accessible exams can be set up directly inside of Blackboard. A list of question types that are or are not accessible is available on MSU Denver Ready’s Accessibility page: https://www.msudenver.edu/ctld/ready/ready-to-learn/accessibility/.
Instructions for extending testing time for a specific students can be found on the Online Faculty Commons website: https://sites.msudenver.edu/etc/blackboard-learn-tutorials/exceptions-for-tests/
- MSU Denver Ready page: https://www.msudenver.edu/ctld/ready/
- "ACCESSIBLE TEACHING IN THE TIME OF COVID-19" - https://www.mapping-access.com/blog-1/2020/3/10/accessible-teaching-in-the-time-of-covid-19
- "COVID-19 Resources for Higher Ed" - https://library.educause.edu/topics/information-technology-management-and-leadership/covid19
Some of the information on this page was adapted from “Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption, for SIS and PWR” by Jenae Cohn and Beth Seltzer, bit.ly/stanfordteachingdisruption, CC BY-NC-SA