Contingency Planning and Preparedness

Campus Messages

Faculty Checklist for Monday’s Remote Learning Launch

Posted on: Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 4:19 PM

Dear Faculty,

Just as pilots use a checklist before take-off, we thought it might be helpful to you to have a quick checklist before your remote-learning launch. 

The Two Most Important Things

All the technological bells and whistles are FAR less important than these two primary things:


  1. Make sure your students know what you expect from them (through a revised syllabus and clear directions on all activities and assignments),
  2. Have a daily presence for the students in the class (by posting announcements and/or sending emails), and
  3. Have remote office hours (by real-time email, telephone, WebEx, or Bb Collaborate).

Respond quickly: 

  1. Make sure your students hear from you quickly.  Ideally, you should respond to any emails or messages within 24-hours Monday-Friday, quicker if possible.  Let students know the time frame within which they can expect to hear from you.
  2. Grade and provide feedback on assignments quickly so that students are able to evaluate their performance and adapt as they see where their performance can and should improve.  If feasible, incorporating shorter more frequent quizzes and/or tests will allow more opportunities to give relatively frequent feedback than having only one or two infrequent high stakes exams.

The Checklist

  • You have posted your updated syllabus  in Bb.
  • You have posted times and directions for remote office hours.
  • You are familiar with how to request support and services at
  • If you are doing any synchronous sessions:
    • you are not relying primarily on synchronous content, but are using it to supplement your asynchronous content (FYI, in online learning, asynchronous is the “best practice”)
    • your students know what system you are using (preferably Bb Collaborate or WebEx)
    • you and your students have tested the system
    • you and your students know the back-up plan if you, or they, have trouble connecting
    • you have plans to record the synchronous session for students who cannot participate live.
  • You have developed and uploaded instructional material that covers the equivalent of at least one week of course work. 
    • We realize that you may not have had time to get content up for the full remainder of the semester, but once you get at least a week of content ready, we strongly encourage you to work ahead so that you have the entire course ready.  Recall our earlier message about Backup Plans.  Someone else may have to finish your course if you become incapacitated, so the more you have ready, the better.
    • Try to keep things especially basic and low stakes in your first week with remote learning to make sure you and your students can figure out where the seat belts and air masks are because the ride will probably be bumpy.
  • You have checked the Accommodate system (through your faculty tab in to see what accommodations students in your course may need, and you have touched base with those students to see how the move to remote learning may require changes to those accommodations. 
  • You have posted an announcement or sent an email to your students asking them to alert you (now, and also as things change) about issues that may impact their ability to do their coursework, such as:
    • limited access to technology or internet service
    • health-related problems
  • You have posted Our Campus Help Desk directions for your students.
  • Breathe.  Take a deep breath, launch, and then revise as needed. 

Some things will probably go a lot better than you expected, and some things will not go well at all.  This is not going to resemble a “best practices” online launch.  This will be a “triaged” launch.  Do your best to promote student learning and set reasonable expectations for yourself and your students.  If you communicate well and quickly, you will set yourself and your students up for the smoothest flight.    

Message originally distributed via: Campus Update