Preparation for the Fall Semester

(Rev. date: October 13, 2020 - 3:30pm)
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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 https://cer.jhu.edu/programs-and-services/teaching-workshops.  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


As the semester nears, we are seeing a significant increase in consultations.  Staff and faculty partners are responding as quickly as they can, but we are encouraging faculty to drop in to consultation office hours to get their questions answered.

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.

University-wide Teaching Workshops

Find more teaching workshops hosted by teaching-learning centers across the university and open to all divisions by visiting the Teaching Workshops webpage.

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.

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.

Respondus Instructor Training

Learn how to use LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor to address exam integrity. Or see how Respondus 4.0 and StudyMate Campus allow you to easily create online tests, flash cards, or learning games. Register for any of the sessions below and we’ll see you there!

Instructor Training: LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor

This comprehensive training is intended for instructors who plan to use LockDown Browser and/or Respondus Monitor proctoring with online exams. The training will cover:

  • How to use LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor to protect integrity and ensure student identity
  • The instructor and student perspective using each application
  • How to analyze proctoring results, including a feature that ranks exam sessions by risk.
  • Best practices and tips for success with both applications

Dates: Oct 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 29
Register Now: https://web.respondus.com/webinars/

Zoom Training

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

Trainings: Studios



The Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and the Whiting School of Engineering are offering faculty designated course studios--these are AV-equipped, high-speed internet classrooms that can be used for course recordings or live delivery (details differ per school). These studios are not managed by the CER. For training and more information, please follow the links below:

Krieger School of Arts & Sciences:

Whiting School of Engineering:

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 cerweb@jhu.edu.

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 cerweb@jhu.edu 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: October 13, 2020 - 3:30pm)