Preparation for the Fall Semester

(Rev. date: August 04, 2020 - 2:27pm)

This page describes resources to help Homewood instructors prepare for teaching online in the fall 2020 semester. The page is structured using a recommended process for faculty design, develop and then teach an online course or a course with online students. Even if courses are offered on campus, some students may connect online because they cannot return to campus. Therefore, all faculty are strongly encouraged to attend training about how teaching online compares to teaching in the classroom or teaching remotely as many faculty did in the spring 2020 semester

Start with Training

Numerous, diverse workshops will be offered on online teaching strategies along with training on educational technology commonly used in online courses. All faculty are strongly encouraged to attend the online teaching orientation -  how teaching online compares to teaching in the classroom or teaching remotely.  A list of workshops and registration links is below and will be updated regularly.  Other online workshops offered across the University are listed at  You can also watch a series of self-paced videos about preparing to teach online from the Whiting School of Engineering. Note: all training times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).

Trainings: Teaching Strategies

Start here...
Online Teaching Orientation

The "Online Teaching Orientation" is a workshop to prepare faculty for teaching online in the fall.  The objectives are to help participants compare how online teaching differs from teaching in a classroom, list assessment strategies for online courses, describe ways to engage students, describe communication strategies, and list resources available to help faculty prepare.  The workshop will be facilitated with a discussion of case studies of Homewood online courses.

Assessing Students in an Online Course

This session will discuss different assessment stratgegies for evaluating student learning in an online course including strategies and technology to maintain academic integrity.

Recreating the Chalkboard/Whiteboard Online

Many instructors use a chalkboard or whiteboard to teach.  This session will present digital alternatives to using the chalkboard/whiteboard through different technology options.

Using Technology to Facilitate Group Projects

Digitizing Course Materials

Developing a Communication Plan for Online Students

Getting Your Course Back to School Ready

Faculy Panel on Timely Topics: Addressing COID-19 and racism in classes and curriculum

Trainings: Tools & Applications

Blackboard (BB) Training

Blackboard is the primary space where faculty host course content for students.  Instructors can also use Blackboard to facilitate tests and student submissions for assignments.

BB Tips for Instructors

BB for TAs

Introduction to Blackboard:

BB Tests and Assignments:

BB Communication and Collaboration:

Microsoft Teams Training

Microsoft Teams is a online collaboration platform that allows users to chat, hold discussions, share links, images, and documents for collaborative editing. 

MS Teams Office Hours:
Join us for a 1 hour session to discuss how Microsoft Teams can be used within your course. We recommend attending one of the trainings or reviewing the video tutorials at the following page before joining this session:

MS Teams - Beyond the Basics:

Panopto Training (Using Panopto for Video in Your Course)

Panopto is a video cloud hosting services that allows faculty to pre-record lectures, host video files,  or allow students to record presentations.  Faculty can also upload recordings of recorded live Zoom sessions to host in Panopto.

Piazza Training (Using Piazza for Q&A in Your Course)

Piazza is a free online gathering place where students can ask, answer, and explore 24/7, under the guidance of their instructors.

Zoom Training

Zoom is a web-conferencing tool faculty can use to host live, synchronous class sessions with students.

Introduction to Teaching on Zoom:

Using Zoom Breakout Rooms to Facilitate Small Group Work:

How to design engaging class sessions on Zoom

Faculty Zoom and Breakout Session Demos

Open Q&A on Educational Technology

Pop in to an open Q&A with Brian Cole, Associate Director of the CER. Brian will be available to answer faculty questions related to using educational technology in their course--including tools like Blackboard, Panopto, TurnItIn, iClickers, and Zoom.

Complete a Course Needs Survey

Start the Course Needs Survey

All instructors should complete this survey of how they plan to teach online (for each of their courses). “I don’t know” is a valid response. Homewood instructional support staff and faculty with experience teaching online will follow up with respondents to discuss their inititial ideas. Submissions on this form aren’t final, but intended to inform initial conversations and help identify additional support resources instructors may need.   

Course Design 

A decision about how courses will be taught in the fall 2020 semester will occur later this summer. Faculty can begin now to think about how they would structure and facilitate an online course. That way they are prepared to start developing course materials once the decision is made. Faculty should consider closely how they will do the following.

  • assess students online
  • engage students and build community online 
  • communicate with students on a regular basis

A team of instructional support staff and faculty with experience teaching online are available to help you prepare for the fall semester.  Instructors who complete the course needs survey will be contacted automatically. Faculty can also request help by emailing

Course Development

Teaching an online course requires faculty to prepare course materials with more lead time than typically done for an in-classroom course. Recognizing that faculty may need more support, the Provost’s Office is providing funds for hiring graduate and undergraduate students to support faculty in creating course materials and/or helping to pre-record content.  Please contact to request funding. Staff can also help identify students if needed.

Faculty should consider accessibility best practices when developing their materials to make it easier for all students to access their content.

Consider conducting a pre-semester or early-semester survey to help you finalize your course preparations. This can help you identify and accomodate unique concerns or barriers students are facing. It can also help you build community and communicate to students that you are committed to their success. 

Students may feel have concerns taking courses online. Consider sharing these tips to help students prepare for taking an online course in your Blackboard site or via email as the semester begins.

(Rev. date: August 04, 2020 - 2:27pm)