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As Notre Dame transitions to temporary online instruction, I want to share five concrete tips that I have learned from teaching online for the past two years.


1. Keep it simple.

Revisit your learning goals and determine the technology that is necessary/available. Use this information to construct a feasible plan. (See here for sample online teaching plans.)


2. Take advantage of Sakai.

Avoid sending your students thousands of emails. Sakai has many useful tools. To view the options, go to your course Sakai page and select Settings → Manage Tools. I highly recommend 

– Lessons for creating content modules and sequences,

– Resources for posting documents, URLs to other websites, etc., and

– Assignments for posting, submitting and grading assignments online.

There are many other useful tools (chat sessions, discussion boards, quizzes and exams), but remember–keep it simple.


3. Apps for uploading student work

This is a big one. The easiest way for students to submit handwritten assignments is to scan the pages and upload it as a PDF to Sakai. There are many free apps that do this, but I recommend Scannable


4. Zoom is easier than you think.

You already have an account, you just need to log in. Click here to get started. Click here for more information.


5. Be clear about expectations and deadlines.

Most of your students have never received online instruction. They are probably getting just as many emails as you are. The most important thing you can do as an instructor is to be explicit about your plan and what you expect from your students. I suggest uploading a short document as an amendment to your syllabus (in Sakai under Resources) or actively using the Calendar and/or Announcements feature.


For more detailed advice and resources, refer to the University’s Instructional Continuity website (prepared by the Faculty Task Force, Notre Dame Learning, and the OIT).

I highly recommend attending the Instructional Continuity workshops or office hours. I have included the workshop titles and descriptions below for your convenience.



Basics of Teaching in Disruption

Are you wondering where to start with moving your class online? Join us for a high-level overview of the process. In this hour, you will begin to reassess course goals, learn a basic vocabulary for remote teaching, and develop strategies for moving your class online.

Asynchronous Teaching Basics

What is asynchronous teaching and how can it work in my class?  Join us for a demonstration on how to post resources, interact with students, and provide feedback outside the constraints of time and place.

Synchronous Teaching Basics With Zoom

Join us for this live (and recorded for future viewing) webinar on how to record and teach in Zoom. This session has four goals: 1) Get basics in creating, joining, sharing, and recording a Zoom meeting with your students. 2) Get familiar with pedagogical principles for using Zoom. 3) Recording a lecture using Zoom 4) Giving faculty the experience as a participant in a synchronous Zoom meeting



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