Teaching requires patience and experimentation as the pandemic lingers.To thrive, we need to build adaptability into our courses and continue to reimagine in-person activities for physically distanced classrooms. Doing so will allow us to continue providing students the sorts of rich learning experiences, connections, and opportunities that make KU a distinctive place to learn and to grow. All of that can sometimes feel daunting. That's understandable, and it's one reason we created this guide. It is intended to help you think through your classes and to empower you to teach in effective ways whether in person, online, or in a hybrid format, or in other formats that may emerge. No matter how you teaching, adopting a flexible format (and mindset) will help both you and your students. 

*This guidebook is being continually updated and improved as we learn more about the challenges instructors face and the strategies they are using to address 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 different, but the core principles of effective teaching still apply: alignment of course goals and instructional practices; creation of motivating and inclusive learning climate, and consistent attention to and reflection on student learning and feedback. The most crucial elements of course design include: 

 Flexibility. Design courses so they can shift between teaching contexts, and 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, online, or hybrid, online learning will need to be a prominent feature.

Inclusivity and access.  Create learning environments that allow all students to have equitable access and feel valued and supported as learners, and that support meaningful discussions 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 sections after those 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).