Best Practices for Adapting Your Course

For faculty going online, we also want to offer the following best practices for adapting your course in this kind of rapid, emergency situation:

  • Utilize campus resources when necessary and safe to do so—barring a total suspension of operations, your support teams at the College will be available to assist you. You do not have to manage everything on your own!

  • If hosting live, synchronous sessions via Zoom, adhere to your regular class meeting times and record sessions as you can. Students often plan their schedules around their jobs, and may not be able to attend sessions outside those times. Recordings can be shared between guidelines (so long as you follow FERPA guidelines) or posted within Canvas for review by students who could not attend.

  • If you have a student using accommodations such as ASL interpreters, live captioners, or more, check in with Accessibility Resource Center to verify what steps need to be taken for those services to continue in an online setting. If you are preparing video lectures or live sessions, be prepared to orally describe visual-only content for your blind students, or use tools already discussed with your students. You can reach ARC at

  • Follow FERPA guidelines! When using virtual office hours, ensure that students have privacy when discussing grades, feedback, or other classroom questions. If recording a live session, be sure that names are not visible, and inform students in advance that the session will be recorded (so that they can choose whether to attend or review the recording later).

  • Be flexible as you can be. Many students may not have the resources at home to complete their coursework online. Many students struggle with online learning as a whole and may lack the soft skills needed for an online course, such as self-motivation and time management. Still more students may have heightened anxiety, or are caring for a sick loved one, and will not have the cognitive space to give you their best work. Allow these students to request an Incomplete and to complete their course work at a later date.

  • Direct students to online support services as needed, such as eTutoring, the IT Help Desk, the Canvas support team, online options for registration and payment, and more.