Strategies

When you realize you have to move your class online quickly, here are the steps to take:

  • Stay up to date about the closure or event: Campus closures or emergencies will be reported on the Wesleyan webpage. Technology updates will be available via the Wesleyan ITS website.
  • 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 are coming and what your expectations are for checking email or Moodle, so you can get them more details soon.
  • Review your course schedule to determine priorities: Identify your priorities during the disruption—providing lectures, 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.
  • Pick tools and approaches familiar to you and your students: Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools as necessary. For technical assistance with these tools, please contact ITS by submitting a ticket to ServiceNow.
  • 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, including illness, lacking power or internet connections, or needing to care for family members. 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.
  • Check with your department: In addition to thinking about your individual courses, we strongly recommend that department and program colleagues meet to discuss how they might respond and adapt to new circumstances as they arise. These should take into account both short-term (current semester) and long-term (progress through the major) effects of a lengthy closure, and to consider jointly their unique set of course formats, requirements, and learning goals.