Before you begin transitioning your course plans and materials for remote instruction, please consider the following general principles to help ensure student success.
Choose one form of communication with your students and stick to it. In focus groups, students said they preferred information to be posted in the announcements section of your Blackboard page, and then sent to them via Blackboard email to their UM email.
Communicate with your students early and frequently. Cultivating a sense that you are present with the students in a meaningful if non-literal sense is crucial to successful online teaching. Begin the online experience with some kind of very low stakes community-building exercise, deployed as early as possible, to help students feel like they’re part of a community rather than individuals accessing course materials in parallel, isolated from each other.
Use tools and approaches familiar to you and your students: Try to rely on tools and workflows that are familiar to you and your students, and roll out new tools only when absolutely necessary. If an interruption is caused by a localized event, it may be already taxing everyone’s mental and emotional energy; introducing a lot of new tools and approaches may leave even less energy and attention for learning.
Contact UM Accessibility Solutions if you have a student who is utilizing classroom accommodations so you can be sure to maintain those during periods of academic disruption.
Be sympathetic and flexible for students in distress, who lack the resources to fully access your class online, or who are unfamiliar with online learning.
Check in on students working behind or who are not logging into Blackboard during the academic interruption. They may be confused, sick, or distracted by caregiver responsibilities.