A partnership of CTE, CODL and KU IT

General Guidance

Important Security Update: Please read this important Zoom security update! (3/24/20)

A rapid move of KU courses into remote learning environments is unprecedented territory for all of us. Uncertainty about how things will go is stressful for us and our students. Before going too far down the road of learning new technologies or creating new material for your courses, please consider these general suggestions:

  1. Be aware of your own reactions and take care of yourself. If you burn yourself out, you will not be available to meet others’ needs in what could be a long process. Here's an article with advice on taking a breather and focusing on what's most important, and a resource for addressing anxiety
  2. Be patient and compassionate with yourself and others. Adapting to the rapidly changing situation means learning on the job for you and for students. In the long run, students will remember more how you treat them as a person than whether you got the technology to work just right. For help understanding what students might be going through, see this piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education
  3. Keep your students in mind and let them know that they are on your mind. Communicate with students about the changes you are making and your expectations as soon as possible, and then regularly over the semester. Keep in mind the challenges students may face in meeting those expectations, including illness and lack of internet connection. Our most vulnerable students are at the most at risk, as they may face disruptions in many basic needs. Let students know that you will be try to be open, flexible and understanding until some stability returns. Support your students as learners, and as humans, with the strategies suggested here.
  4. Use Blackboard. Blackboard, KU's learning management system, allows you to organize your course content in a way that is familiar to students. Most students will be as disoriented as their instructors in a new online environment, and you don't want to leave them guessing about your expectations or constantly searching for course material. As you prepare your course in Blackboard, make things transparent to students, draw on technologies you and students are familiar with, and ask for help as needed.
  5. Don’t overdo It. Review your priorities and course objectives: what are the most important things for students to take away from your course? Use those to guide your transformation efforts. Pick tools and approaches that are familiar, and rely as much as you can on materials and resources that you already have.  Before investing substantial time in recording lecture material, consider how you could provide the same information through readings and discussion boards, or annoted power points or worked problems. Avoid relying on real-time meetings with your class (e.g., in Zoom), to minimize technical and accessibility concerns and support better engagement and learning. Here's more on why that is. Instead use other strategies to connect with your students
  6. Ask for help. Connect with colleagues who are faced with similar challenges or similar kinds of courses. Refer to the resources on this site or reach out for support by phone or email. Continue to First Steps for instructions on using Blackboard. Stay up to date on how the coronavirus is affecting higher education, in Inside Higher Education
  7. Refer students with technology access issues to the IT Customer Service Center, 785-864-8080 or itcsc@ku.edu. See the Access page for more details.