The Keep Teaching website supports faculty in developing their own strategies to continue to meet the needs of their courses online, if there are disruptions in on-campus teaching and learning. Being prepared to offer many aspects of your face-to-face or blended courses online is an important part of planning for events that may interrupt normal campus operations.
Information here will walk you through putting the various parts of your course experience online to maintain academic continuity. Official communication regarding any emergencies, including the current COVID-19 situation, can be found on UBC’s main website.
Quick Tips For Preparing To Teach Online
- Be kind and patient with yourself and your students. Remote teaching and learning can be stressful for everyone, especially when it’s new. Use this site for guidance, as well as the mental health resources for faculty, and refer students to the UBC Keep Learning site.
- Recognize that moving courses planned for in-person teaching to a fully online context is an impossible task. You will not be able to recreate your classroom exactly. Give yourself a break. Check with your Faculty, Department, School, or Program for guidelines or expectations, especially around exams and other traditionally in-person activities.
- Set up course content strategically. How you structure modules, pages, or files in your online course makes a big difference in how easy it is for students to find and study content. Be clear in naming and organizing the material.
- Create a welcoming online environment. Use a conversational, personal, and inviting tone to help build a connection with your students, just as you would in face-to-face teaching. Upload a profile picture, address students with preferred names and pronouns, and model the etiquette you want the whole class to adopt.
- Maintain a regular teaching presence in the course. Make sure students know when and where new material will be posted and how to best get in touch with you. Look for ways to consistently add your voice through asynchronous features like announcements, replies, or comments.
- If you’re using new tools, consider giving a lower-stakes assignment or practice assessment before a real one. Get yourself and your students used to using a new tool first, so that you can conduct something at higher stakes with more confidence.
- Keep accessibility in mind as you transition content online. Follow the basic best practices, like adding alt tags to images and closed captioning to lecture videos, and encourage students with disabilities to reach out to the Centre for Accessibility or the UBCO Disability Resource Centre.
- Consider other access issues introduced by remote teaching. For example, some students may now be in different time zones or have slower Internet connections. Reduce files you upload to the smallest practical size and try to vary online activities between those that are more and less demanding of bandwidth.
- Know that you don’t have to learn all the best practices for remote teaching to teach well online. You can find many excellent resources to help you transition and teach online courses effectively, but trust your existing experience and instincts too.
- Take advantage of UBC’s many pedagogical and technical experts. When you reach out, please be considerate with these colleagues and remember that they want to help you as much as possible but are managing heavier workloads too.
The above was adapted in part from tips written by Amy Young, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Communication, Pacific Lutheran University. It is reproduced here with permission of the author with all rights reserved and is exempt from the keepteaching.ubc.ca site Creative Commons license.
Getting Started with Online Courses
Canvas provides a convenient and secure way to communicate and exchange materials with your students online. All UBC courses have matching courses in Canvas automatically created with the students enrolled, even if the instructor has never used Canvas.
To use your Canvas course, you will first need to make it visible for students to find.
- Log in to Canvas from canvas.ubc.ca using your UBC CWL (Campus-Wide Login) name and password. This will open your Canvas Dashboard.
- On your Dashboard, you will find all the courses you are teaching. Click any course to open it.
- Once inside a course, you can start adding content, creating assignments and assessments, and setting up discussions and communications.
- When you are ready, make the course available to students by clicking Publish, located on the course home page, in the right-hand sidebar under “Course Status”.