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Message from Provost Rob Clark and the University School Deans on Online Instruction Beginning Monday

On Monday, faculty members and students together will begin online teaching and learning experiences to complete spring semester coursework. Many will do so for the first time. For both groups, transitioning a traditional classroom experience into an online environment presents challenges, but conquering this task in the midst of a pandemic comes with many additional obstacles.

To instructors and students for Monday, just remember: we’ll figure this out together, please be patient with the process, and there’s a lot of support available.

Of particular note, no one yet knows how popular technologies such as Zoom will operate when they are needed most, and internet connections from all over the world will be tested during this process. As an additional measure of preparedness for Monday, students can test Zoom on their computer in advance at

If things don’t go as smoothly as expected with the first online experience, or technology fails, one recommendation for instructors is to pre-record lectures when possible to make them available to students on Blackboard for later viewing. This reduces the demand on technology to seamlessly deliver real-time instruction. See the tutorial and handout How do I Pre-Record Lectures for my Students?

The University’s Teaching During Times of Disruption guidance has numerous short video tutorials available to instructors, covering topics such as communicating online with your students; managing a live class session; and providing accommodations to students.

The complementary site, Learning During Times of Disruption, similarly has multiple resources for students, covering areas such as communicating online with instructors; participating in live lectures; and dealing with technical issues during a live Zoom session.

Both sites also have contacts listed for faculty and students to seek support and troubleshoot problems throughout the semester.

We appreciate that our faculty and students have been preparing for weeks for the move to online classes. We hope this transition will be as smooth as possible for everyone, but we recognize that it will not be flawless. Again, we thank everyone for their willingness to adapt to this necessary transition.

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