Teaching will require patience and experimentation during the coming year as instructors and students adapt to changes brought on by the coronavirus. Safety will be paramount when classes resume. To thrive, we are going to have to build adaptability into our courses and reimagine in-person activities for physically distanced classrooms, while still providing students the sorts of rich learning experiences, connections, and opportunities that make KU a distinctive place to learn and grow. That may sound daunting, but it doesn't have to be. This guide is intended to help you think through your classes and to empower you to teach in effective ways whether in-person or online.

*This guidebook is being continually updated and improved as we learn more about the challenges we will face in the fall and strategies for addressing them. Let us know (agreenhoot@ku.edu and dbward@ku.edu) if you have suggestions or requests. We are grateful for the contributions of Amy Leyerzapf (Leadership Studies), Susan Marshall (Psychology), and Kali Jo Wacker (English) to the content and design of this Guidebook.  

Key principles

The teaching context may look and feel very different, but the core principles of effective teaching still apply: alignment of course goals and instructional practices, creation of motivating and inclusive learning climates, and consistent attention to and reflection on student learning and feedback. The most crucial elements of course design will include: 

 Flexibility. Design courses so they can readily shifted between teaching contexts, identify ways for students to engage both in-person and online. Develop ways for students to participate and demonstrate their learning if they have to miss class. Whether a course is in-person, fully-online, or hybrid, online learning will need to be a prominent feature.

Inclusivity and access.  Create learning environments in which all students have equitable access and feel valued and supported as learners, and that support meaningful discourse about potentially challenging topics.  

Clear outcomes, aligned with assessments and learning activities. Organize courses around clearly defined learning goals that specify the core purpose of the class, assessments that enable students to demonstrate achievement of those goals, and learning activities that help them acquire the skills and knowledge to be successful. 

Engagement and connection. Emphasize engaging, high-impact learning activities that ask students to practice, discuss, and reflect on their learning, and provide opportunities for both student-to-student and student-instructor connection. 

Support for students. Build in support structures (e.g., guidance, transparency) for that will help them be better prepared to learn in a new context. Support students as learners and as "whole" individuals with needs and values beyond the classroom. 

A guide to this guide

The first two sections provide general principles to frame the way you adapt your course for flexible and engaging delivery. The next sections provide a step-by-step path for rethinking your course, and guidance for engaging and supporting students. This is followed by information about digital tools, and resources for more in-depth information or assistance. See the Workshops and Programs Page under Getting Help for an up-to-date schedule of online discussions, workshops and events on course adaptations and tools. Click on a button below to go to that content area (or see the menu across the top of this page).