A Guide to Teaching Through Disruption for Instructors

This guide helps you find alternatives to face-to-face instructions, and belongs to this larger set of Remote Teaching help guides available to instructors. Please contact [email protected] for help and more information or check the schedule and visit our drop-in hours for one-on-one support.

Not sure where to start?
Take the Remote Teaching Readiness Quiz.

    • Communicate with your students early and often. Student success in learning environments that have online components is increased when there's a sense that the instructor is present.
    • Focus on the learning goals for your course. If the situation requires that you adjust the planned activities for the semester, you can focus on alternatives which support the goals of the course rather than on directly substituting online activities.
    • Pick tools and approaches that are familiar to you and your students. Opt for traditional alternatives, such as additional readings or existing lectures from YouTube, before introducing new technology that may distract from the course content.
    • Substitute asynchronous activities for synchronous where possible. Asynchronous activities can ease scheduling difficulties while maintaining similar learning outcomes.
    • Substitute digital resources for physical where possible and when conditions don't allow students to access the library or their text books.
    • Convey your new expectations to students, including your updated guidelines for participation, communication and deadlines.
    • If any of the suggestions below are unfamiliar to you, consult with your ITech liaison as early as possible to see examples, discuss possible implementations, or sign up for a workshop.
    • To quickly record and share video lectures that your students can watch asynchronously, use the Glow Course Media Gallery (also known as Panopto). The recorded video will automatically be loaded into the gallery for your students.
    • For live lectures, discussions or office hours, you can use Google Meet or  Zoom. Both allow you to schedule sessions in advance; Glow can generate a list of who's in your class.
    • Tips for guiding students learning online
    • Items graded in Glow or submitted through an assignment can have their grades appear in the gradebook.
    • Glow also provides a tool to download student submittals, and for commenting and providing feedback directly on student work in the SpeedGrader.
    • Accessibility: Accessible course content can be used by people with varying abilities and disabilities, and accommodates, for example, people with color blindness or another visual or hearing impairment. Contact your ITech liaison or the Williams Accessible Education office.
    • Asynchronous activities: Class activities that are asynchronous don’t require the participants to be present or complete the activity at the same time. Examples include pre-recorded short lectures, online discussion boards, and online quizzes among others. Asynchronous activities allow more flexibility for participants in different time zones and often are more accommodating of low bandwidth.
    • Discussion boards: An online forum where students can interact with their classmates and instructor by posing and answering questions in the form of short posts. Glow provides discussion boards, available in the left navigation bar of classes.
    • Distance learning: Distance Learning occurs when students and their instructors are in different geographical locations and the instruction occurs on an electronic device, such as a computer or mobile phone. The learning can occur in a synchronous environment, in which all participants are connected at the same time or in an asynchronous environment, when participants are engaged in learning at different times.
    • F2F (face to face) activities: Activities in which the participants are physically present with each other, as distinct from online activities.
    • Screencast: A screen cast is the video recording of a computer screen, often with an audio narration (distinct from a screenshot which is the capture of a single screen as a still image). A screen cast allows an instructor or student to demonstrate a process, problem solution or software feature, or narrate slides and provide it to viewers asynchronously. There is a screencast recorder in Glow’s course media gallery.
    • Streaming media: Streaming media is video or audio that is recorded to a server and sent to a computer from the Internet as a continuous stream of data which is played as it reaches the destination computer, as distinct from being stored on the computer first. YouTube is a popular example of a streaming media service. Glow’s “course media” allows faculty to stream media using the Panopto streaming media service.
    • Synchronous activities: Class activities that are synchronous require participants to be present at the same time. The chief example is video conferencing. Synchronous activities aren’t forgiving in the case of connectivity problems, low bandwidth.
    • Webinar: A webinar is a seminar or workshop in which the facilitator and participants view the same screen at the same time. Usually the webinar has an audio component that the facilitator controls and sometimes includes functionality that allows participants to chat by entering text, answering polls, raising their hands and asking questions.

    Please send suggestions for glossary items to [email protected].

Need Help? Contact Us!

If you'd like to explore any of these suggestions or would like to learn more, please email [email protected] or contact your Instructional Technology liaison.