Basic principles:

  • Bear in mind the principle of backwards course design: What do you want your students to be able to do or know by the end of the semester? How can you help them get there in this limited, remote environment? Prioritize and be realistic with yourself and your students. 
  • Don't reinvent the wheel. You will not be able to do everything that you would normally do, nor will your students. Do the best you can and ask for help when needed. Be patient with yourself and with one another.
  • Keep it simple. Brightspace and other tools are capable of doing much more than you likely need to do. Remember the basics, use tools you know and like, and don’t worry about being fancy.
  • Communicate clearly with your students about any changes you are making to the syllabus, the assignments, the due dates, or other expectations. Be transparent about your pedagogical choices. Post a revised syllabus on Brightspace. Be clear about how they will communicate with you and with each other. 

Adjusting different modes of instruction to an online environment

In any transition from a physical class to a remote one, there are two main methods of instruction delivery:

Synchronous Options

Holding your remote class live at a specific time and in a specific virtual place. Setting up this option is described in our Conducting an Online Class page of this website. A synchronous, virtual class most closely mimics the physical class environment. You and your students, via a variety of devices, meet together virtually to learn and teach within a single platform. You can also hold office hours virtually via Zoom

Asynchronous Options

Rather than holding live classes online, Brightspace gives you the ability to teach in many ways you are familiar with in the physical classroom. Via your course's Brightspace page students can participate in group discussions, access materials that you post, submit assignments, and take tests. 

Follow the content areas below to get a better sense of both the synchronous and asynchronous options available to you.

RECORDED CFT Sessions (Download/Watch Here):
Making the Transition to Remote Teaching
Assessing Student Learning in Remote Teaching

Synchronous / Real-Time Options

Lecturing Online

Best practices for online, live lectures.

Synchronous Group discussions / seminar format in real-time

Doing group discussions and using breakout rooms within Zoom.

Asynchronous Options

Pre-recorded lectures

You can make and upload videos for students to watch on their own at any time. 

Other Remote Teaching Considerations

Equity, Inclusion, and Remote Teaching

A comprehensive guide on student inclusion and equity by Associate Dean Betsy Sandlin.

Student Accommodations

Guidelines from the University's Director of Student Access Services in a Remote Teaching Environment.

Other Remote Teaching Considerations

Remote teaching challenges for specific disciplines.

Additional Resources

Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely

A resource from Rice University on inclusion and access while teaching remotely.

Going Online in a Hurry: What to Do and Where to Start

An article from the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighting best practices for remote instruction amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

Academic Continuity During Disruption

A resource website from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania which highlights remote teaching options and strategies.


A resource website from Bowdoin College's Center for Teaching & Learning on preparing for, and executing, the virtual classroom.

Questions/Concerns about Remote Teaching Pedagogy?
Contact: Betsy Sandlin, Emily Puckette, or Mark Hopwood