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This page is an archive of Lehigh's Spring 2020 "Academic Continuity Guide," which can be found below.
Instructors teaching in Academic Year 2020-2021 should visit  Lehigh's Guidance for Teaching in AY 2020-2021

See also:

Need Help? If at any point in this process, you need help or additional guidance, contact the LTS Help Desk.
610-758-4357 (8-HELP)  |  Text 610-616-5910  |  |  Chat

      Lehigh's Original "Academic Continuity" resource from Spring 2020 is below


      All Lehigh classes will be taught remotely for the 2020 spring and summer semesters. 

      No decision has been made yet about fall 2020, but instructors should prepare for the possibility that at least some instruction will need to be online.

      A version of this page, tailored specifically for teaching online in the summer session can be found in our Summer Online Course Planning guide.

      An overview of the university's plans to help prepare faculty for fall 2020 can be found in our Preparing to Teach in Fall 2020 guide.

      Read on to learn how to:

      1. Use Course Site as your core online learning platform
      2. Develop a framework for your course
      3. Communicate and connect with students
      4. Post course materials
      5. Deliver lectures
      6. Interact with students through online course activities
      7. Assess student learning online

      First Steps: If you are creating an online course in response to an emergency situation, focus on the “First Steps” in each section below. You don’t need to build a whole course at once or use every online tool from the start. Instead, design core course activities for your first day, then gradually explore other element.
      Need Help? If at any point in this process, you need help or additional guidance, contact the LTS Help Desk.
      610-758-4357 (8-HELP)  |  Text 610-616-5910  |  |  Chat

        Use Course Site as Your Core Online Learning Platform

        Course Site will be the core learning platform for all courses and should be your primary means of communicating with students, delivering content, enabling interaction, creating assessments, and keeping a gradebook. Instructors may link to other tools and sites from within Course Site, but Course Site should be students’ first stop. Think of Course Site not just as a suite of instructional tools but also as a way for you to visually communicate to students how your course is organized, what they are supposed to do, and when they are supposed to do it.

        First Steps: If you have not already done so, request a Course Site for your course

        Sample Course Site, organized by function:

        Sample Course Site



        Develop a Framework for your Online Course

        As you plan for teaching in the fall semester, do so knowing that

        • While some students and instructors will be able to meet together in a physical classroom, others will not;
        • Over the semester, instructors and students might shift from the ‘able to meet in a physical classroom’ group to the ‘not able to do so’ group;
        • Given social distancing requirements, we will not be able to use our classrooms at their normal capacity;

        With these and other factors in mind, we recommend faculty adopt the following framework:

        1. Develop a robust online asynchronous course--including online lecture videos and online learning activities--that will serve as the backbone of your course, independently of whether your synchronous instruction takes place in-classroom or online. ("Asynchronous" means you are not necessarily online at the same time as your students; instead, you create online course activities that the students complete during a specified time period, usually within a 24-48 hour window).
        2. Plan now for how best to use time with students during synchronous class meetings, which--depending on who is able to physically be in the classroom and which classrooms are available--will take one of the following forms:
          • All Zoom
          • All In-Classroom
          • Some combination of In-Classroom/On-Zoom, where the frequency and type of each class meeting is determined by student availability and classroom capacity

         Sample Scenario 1: The instructor is unable to teach in-classroom: 

        All students participate in asynchronous online work and twice-a-week synchronous Zoom class meetings.

         Sample Scenario 2: The instructor is able to teach in-classroom but not all students can.

        All students work together on the asynchronous online coursework. Then, based on classroom capacity and relative numbers of remote and on-campus students, instructor the determines a workable cycle of 
         -synchronous Zoom meeting with all students.
         -synchronous Zoom meeting for remote students only.
         -synchronous in-classroom meeting for in-classroom students only.


        Asynchronous learning, online*

        `Students log into Course Site, complete readings, watch check-in video, watch lecture video(s) and complete online course activities.*

        Synchronous learning

        Instructor and students meet, at the scheduled class meeting time, either in-classroom or on Zoom.

        Office Hours: Zoom or in-office

        Asynchronous learning, online*

        `Students log into Course Site, complete readings, watch check-in video, watch lecture video(s) and complete online course activities.*

        Synchronous learning

        Instructor and students meet, at the scheduled class meeting time, either in-classroom or on Zoom.

        Office Hours: Zoom or in-office

        Instructor finalizes next week’s asynchronous work, offers feedback, and sends an announcement with updates.

        *This asynchronous online part of the course should be available to students 1-2 days before scheduled class meeting time. Students should complete the work before the class meeting time, or earlier if the instructor wishes to review student work before class. 

        The four requirements of this framework are:

        • all online work must be either in Course Site or linked to from Course Site (so students know where to go);
        • all synchronous class meetings must be held during your scheduled class meeting times, unless all students have agreed to a time change;
        • each week should contain multiple opportunities for interactivity and active learning elements (i.e., opportunities for students to interact with the instructor, ask and respond to questions, receive feedback, etc.).
        • wherever possible, use Lehigh's recommended technology tools, as doing so reduces the number of tools students have to learn and improves support for student and faculty. With these caveats in mind, faculty willing to innovate and to try new tools should feel free to do so.

        In sum, the framework recommends that you plan for each week to have some combination of the following:

        • recorded lecture videos (to deliver content, to instruct, to connect with students, and to develop teacher presence);
        • online asynchronous active learning opportunities;
        • synchronous class meetings (some combination of lecture, interactivity, and active learning) that, depending on circumstances, you conduct either in-classroom or on Zoom;
        • office hours, that, depending on circumstances, you conduct either in-classroom or on Zoom); and 
        • assessments that align with the learning objectives of the course.

        As the instructor, is up to you to decide:

        • The frequency, duration, and relative weight given to each of these elements (your answer will depend on your pedagogical preferences, course type, course learning objectives, etc.)
        • Which instructional approaches are best done asynchronously and which are best done synchronously.
        • Course learning outcomes
        • The course content, lecture approach, types of active learning elements, and assessments that are most likely to move students toward meeting course learning objective.

        With this framework, you can now begin take the next steps to develop the specific elements of your online course. As you do, we recommend that you this 'backwards design' principle:

        • Keep the major learning outcomes for the course in mind (i.e., what knowledge and skills do you expect students to have gained when the course is over?).
        • Determine which assignments, projects, or exams will allow your students to demonstrate that they have met these main course objectives.  These are the major assessments for the course.
        • Then, begin determining what specific coursework you will ask students to do that will enable them to acquire the knowledge and develop the abilities that they will need to succeed in the major assessments you just identified. 

        For a one-page graphical overview of this framework, see the CITL's "Recommended Pedagogy for Online Teaching"

        Communicate and Connect with Students

        Consistent, clear, reliable communication from instructors is a crucial element of successful online teaching. Good communication builds course community, creates a sense of teacher presence, and helps students understand that this is a real course with academic expectations that are fundamentally the same as a traditional on-campus course.  

        Bear in mind that online learning will likely be new for most of your students, too, so they will rely on you to communicate expectations, explain course logistics, and provide updates in a regular, predictable way.   

        We strongly recommend that you use the Announcements feature in Course Site for all course-wide communications. When you post an Announcement, all students enrolled in the class will receive it as an email, after a short delay.  To send it immediately, click 'Advanced' for options.

        Why use Announcements? Doing so keeps all communications in one place and creates an easy-to-access archive of communications. This approach ensures that all students know where to go for information, assignments, and updates. If you use email instead, you will likely find yourself sending the same email multiple times if students delete or lose track of the emails they have received.

        We also recommend that you create a Discussion Forum called something like “Course Logistics: Post here any general questions about assignments, due dates, etc.” and instruct students to use that forum for questions about how the course functions, questions about assignments details, deadlines for coursework, etc. instead of emailing you directly. Doing so ensures that all students see the question and your answer.  When students forget and email you directly, remind them to post their question in that forum. If you use this approach, it is important also to invite students to email you directly for any personal matters or questions about their individual work, grades, class performance, etc.

        First Steps: As soon as your Course Site is set up and students are enrolled, send students a Course Site Announcement to let them know that you are in the process of setting up your Course Site and that they will receive more information and instructions from you shortly.

          Tips for promoting Teacher Presence in your online course: 

          • Perform a survey before the course starts or very early on: ask about student readiness (do they have the technology and course materials they need?), ask what time zones they are in, ask whether there are any special circumstances you should know about).
          • Check in with students personally.
          • Communicate frequently.
          • Respond promptly to questions posted in the Course Logistics Forum and to emails about individual work or personal performance.
          • Provide regular, prompt feedback on activities and projects.
          • Create a clear structure, but be flexible and adaptable based on student need.
          • Hold consistent virtual office hours.
          • Every few weeks invite feedback on course methods: ("Of the things I am doing in our course, which want me to keep doing because you find them helpful? Which do you want me to stop doing or do less of because you do not find them helpful? Are there things I am not doing that you would like me to start doing?").

          Post Course Materials

          If students are relying on you for access to course documents, readings, etc., prepare now to get those materials into a digital format.

          In an online environment, instructors have multiple ways of sharing course materials with students, but the simplest approach is to upload documents, create links to web resources in Course Site, or create a Perusall assignment.

          First Steps: Review your syllabus and set a timeline for your readings, policies, due dates, assignments, etc.  Now may be a good time to revisit your Course Objectives  and give some thought to ensuring that course readings, assignments, lecture plans, and assessment align with those objectives. Also, a caveat: It is tempting to add additional work when moving a class online in part because it is relative easy for the instructor for the instructor to do so--it is only a matter of adding assignments--and in part because it can be difficult to gauge student workload. Double check your reading assignments and coursework to make sure it is not becoming unreasonable and set a reminder to solicit student feedback on the workload. 

          When you have finished, post your syllabus online, under the Announcements link at the top of your Course Site main page.

          CITL Resources:

          Deliver Course Lectures 

          Now that you have prepared your course material, it is time to create and deliver lectures.  Here we use the term "lecture" to refer to both direct instruction (explaining difficult concepts, presenting information, interpreting texts, offering illustrations, doing demonstrations, etc.) and also more interactive lectures (which combine direct instruction with active learning, facilitated discussions, Socratic teaching, collaborative learning, etc).

          Read on for three different approaches. As you read, think about how you would combine them into an effective way to accomplish the many different things you do when you teach your class..

          Approach 1: Post Your Course Lectures as Written Documents

          One straightforward, low-tech way to deliver course lecture material is to type out in a document what you would have said during lecture and then post this document in Course Site. Since these notes are meant to be read by students rather than heard during class, compose them so they are clear and easy to understand. Although this approach is primarily for direct instruction, some notes can also integrate active applied learning, if students are directed to complete certain activities at key moments while reading the notes. That said, there is no opportunity for interactivity and so, while some students may prefer to read rather than listen to lectures; written notes should not be your only way of delivering your lecture material.

          First Steps: Upload any Course Lecture documents or create a 'Page' in your Course Site. If you create a 'Page' in Course Site, type in some draft lecture notes now so you can see how they will appear to students and so you are familiar with how to add, edit, and post content. You can add images to your page. If you often write equations or diagrams on the board during class, one way to replicate this for students is to upload the image into your Course Lecture page together with your commentary. Continue adding lecture material when you are ready to do so. Give your lecture documents descriptive names so your students can easily find the correct lecture when they need to do so.

          Options: As an alternative to placing your Course Lectures in Course Site, you could create a shared Google folder with your Course Lecture documents as Google Docs. In the folder sharing settings, select "viewable by anyone at Lehigh with the link," then "get sharable link," and add that link in Course Site so students know where to find this shared Google folder.

          Approach 2: Pre-Record Video Lectures for Students

          Panopto is a video-creation tool available through Course Site. You can use Panopto to create Video Lectures that present content, explain difficult concepts, etc., just as you would when lecturing in a face-to-face class. Instructors record themselves by using their computer's built-in camera and microphone or a webcam. Panopto also allows simultaneous capture of the contents of an instructor's screen (i.e., to show lecture slides or other material).

          Getting Started with Panopto: Follow these steps to provision Panopto and record a brief Introduction video as a way to learn how to use the system. 

          Teaching Tips:

          • Keep recorded lectures brief (ideally 10-15 minutes). If your typical lecture is longer than that, break it into smaller sections of this length. You may find it hard to do this at first, but please know that it is hard for students (hard for anyone, really) to stay focused on a recorded lecture that is longer than this, and attention begins to fade after 10-15 minutes. If you have more material, record two separate shorter videos. 
          • Separate content-heavy lectures from more personalized or semester-specific communications. That is, create one video that explains a difficult concept, and create a separate video to connect with students more personally, reflect on current events, give general feedback to students, provide instructions on an assignment, etc. This approach will make it easier for you to reuse content-specific lecture videos, will also make it easier for students to know where they need to go for which material, and will convey to student that you care not only about the course content but also about them, as individuals in this class, this semester.
          • Bear in mind that pre-recorded lectures are a form of direct instruction, so it is a good idea to assign a post-lecture activity to complete after viewing each recorded lecture. The idea is to help them solidify their understanding of the lecture material, apply concepts, practice skills, discover misunderstandings, etc.  Some possibilities:
            • Homework assignment from the textbook.
            • ConcepTest, i.e., a Course Site Quiz or Google Forms Quiz asking a few questions to measure understanding of concepts in readings and lectures;
            • Shared Explanations: students write an explanation, in a shared doc, of an assigned course concept;
            • Collective Course Notes: students take turns writing course notes on lecture and readings in a shared doc—highlighting confusing concepts and posing at the end questions for you and for each other;
            • Studend-driven Q&A: students take turns posing questions from the reading in a shared doc—other students write answers. 
            • Presentations: Designated student(s) prepare a presentation (Panopto video, or create slides in a shared Google Slides to be discussed during class, or prep for a live presentation in an upcoming Zoom session.  Done well, this lecture-activity-lecture-activity approach during the asynchronous part of your course will reinforce learning, increase retention of knowledge, while also cuing you into areas of student confusion that you can address in an upcoming interactive class.
          • CITL Tips for High Quality Recordings: Location, Lighting, and Sound
          • Sample Panopto-produced Video 

          Technical Tips:

          Approach 3: Create Live Interactive Lectures

          This approach is best for interactive teaching sessions where you shift frequently between short lectures and synchronous interactions with students or discussion-style classes.

          Getting Started with Zoom: Create a Zoom session with a friend or colleague to become familiar with how to create a session and how to use the software.

          Teaching tips:

          Delivering Course Lectures: Selecting the Right Approach at the Right Time.

          So, what is the best way to combine Lecture documents, Panopto videos, Zoom sessions? There is no single right answer.

          As you prepare your asynchronous sessions, you may find benefit in having more time to write out or record your lectures in advance, and pre-recorded videos are a great way to deliver complex material efficiently, especially if you find it challenging to lecture while also facilitating a live Zoom session. Writing or pre-recording lectures also has the advantage of creating documents or videos you can repurpose in future classes.

          During your synchronous sessions, Zoom allows you to have everyone online together at the same time, creating an opportunity for you to lecture “live” while simultaneously interacting with students, posing questions, soliciting responses from students, engaging in Socratic dialogue, etc.

          As suggested in the framework above, the best answer is a combination of the three approaches, tailored to the course type, discipline, and instructional approaches. That is, create some lecture documents, supplement them with pre-recorded lectures and class activities to be completed within a certain timeframe, and then hold discussion sessions and office hours synchronously using Zoom. This combination approach has the advantage of letting you carefully construct re-usable lectures material while also creating opportunities for the spontaneity and interactivity of a live online discussion.

          Interact with students through online course activities

          In addition to sharing course material and delivering lectures, instructors will also need ways to provide feedback to students, pose questions, answer questions, and create opportunities for instructor-student and student-student interaction. The most effective online activities require students to intellectually engage with the course content and to receive formative feedback from their instructors.  This handout illustrates how these various elements fit together: Recommended Pedagogy for Online Teaching 

          As noted above, Zoom sessions can be used for Interactive Lectures (which combine direct instruction with interactivity). 

          Zoom can also be used for discussion sessions, recitation sessions, or office hours in which instructors pose questions, give immediate feedback on answers, respond to student questions, etc.  For "live" online sessions, please bear in mind that, because you may have students living in a wide range of time zones, students may be logging into your course in the middle of the night.  You may wish to find out which timezone your students are in and, if you see that some are facing this challenge, please make it clear whether or not they are required to be present during your live sessions--or if they are permitted to watch recorded videos later.  Also, if you plan to hold synchronous office hours, please do what you can to do so at times that accommodate the timezones where your students are.

          An alternative is to use an online discussion forum, which many faculty use for discussion-intensive courses. Because the forum is asynchronous, you'll find that, used well, it will broaden and deepen student participation because all students participate and they have more time to formulate and express more substantial responses.

          First Steps: Create a Course Site Discussion Forum for your first Class Session, Week or Unit.

          Teaching Tips for using Course Site Discussion Forum:

          • If you are teaching a discussion-intensive course, you may find this resource helpful: Discussion-based Online Classes - Sample Weekly Workflow for Instructors and Students.
          • Asynchronous discussions work best when instructors post open-ended prompts that direct students to engage with the course material, producing work other students can respond to, and the instructor can review. 
          • If you have a large class, create groups to make student discussions more manageable. To enable Group Mode in your Forum, edit your Forum settings. Under "Common Module Settings" change Group Mode to 'visible groups or 'separate groups.'
          • Encourage students to respond to one another. One method to do this is to require each student to post one response to the prompt and at least one post in response to another student.  
          • If you want students to post their own response before seeing other students’ responses, select “Q & A Forum” under Forum Type. To deepen student-student interaction, give students a deadline to post their response, a second deadline to post a response to three classmates, and a third deadline for the original poster to post a follow-up summary that addresses the three responses.
          • You don't need to respond to every student's post but you should keep up to speed on the discussion by spot checking various posts. It is a good idea to give some kind of feedback, even if you only select a few posts and a few responses and write/record your thoughts on them.  For example, in your next lecture, you can refer to and respond to select discussion posts calling attention to specific things students said. Or you can respond once-a-week to each student's summary post. Or, if you prefer not to post in the discussion forum, you can  assign a separate writing assignment that challenges students to build on the online discussion--then give feedback on that assignment as you would on an essay or paper. 
          • Promote productive discussions by posting discussion forum guidelines and making participation part of the course grade.
          • Students have been provided with this guide: Preparing for Remote Learning: Ten Crucial Steps for Students. You may wish to familiarize yourself with what they are reading, and remind them to consult it as they begin your online class.  

          Other approaches that foster student-student and faculty-student interaction:

          • Perusall is a powerful tool, built into Course Site, that lets you combine student readings with student annotation, inquiry, and discussion about course readings. Done well, student discussion take place in the margins of their reading.  Tip: For the first few assignments, post some questions in the margins and have students either post responses or post their own questions. Later, have each student post one comment or question and reply to one comment or question for each posted reading assignment. Give them tips on what kind of posts you are looking for. Spot check their posts.  At first, give general feedback regarding quality, then after a week or two, give individual feedback to students who are falling short in terms of quality and quantity of posts.  When you set up a Perusall assignment, you can decide how many posts students are expected to make and the Perusall gradebook will automatically assign a grade to student work. We recommend you don't rely exclusively on the Perusall grade, but it can help you see who has completed the assignment.


          Assess Student Learning Online 

          When students cannot take a quiz or an exam in a traditional physical classroom, instructors will need to create online assessments.

          If you are concerned about unsanctioned collaboration, plagiarism or cheating, see Promoting Academic Integrity During Remote Learning and Online Assessment Best Practices, including methods for promoting academic integrity during online testing

          Creating quizzes or exams:

          First Steps: Use Course Site Quizzes, a robust quiz feature that allows you to create a variety of different types of quizzes (e.g., multiple choice, essay, etc). 

          Other options:

          Assigning essays and papers

          First Steps: Set up a Course Site Assignment or Google Assignment in Course Site to collect student essays/papers. Both allow you to assign, collect and give feedback on student papers.

          Other options:


          Going Live

          Last of the First Steps:

          • After you have prepared for the start of your first online course session, make sure your Course Site is available (sites are not available by default), then send an Announcement telling students the site is ready and giving them instructions on what they are supposed to do next.


          Sample Course Site Announcement:

          Subject: Check-in... and Coursework for Thursday, 4/23/2020

          In general, students did well on the Chapter 3 quiz and everyone had thoughtful contributions to the ongoing Forum discussion. Please check your grades and my feedback. Bring any questions on the reading or the quiz to our Zoom Office Hours on Wednesday at 4pm EDT.

          Our next class session is now available in Course Site.  Be sure to complete all of the following before midnight EDT, Thursday, 4/23/2020:

          •  Log in for Zoom Office Hours on Wednesday at 4pm EDT.
          •  Read Simon, Chapter 4
          •  Watch Lecture 3
          •  Post a response to the “Week 3 Forum” prompt
          •  Take Quiz 4

          Keep up the good work.

          See you Wednesday,

          Professor _________

          Additional Lehigh Resources

          Select articles on moving online in emergency situations

          Prepared by Lehigh's Center for Innovation on Teaching and Learning (Primary author: G. Reihman, posted 3/5/2020, updated 5/22/2020)