As you prepare your fall courses, please begin with these big-picture guidelines. Once you’ve reviewed them, head to our Getting Started Toolkit.
1. Aim to keep students’ overall time commitment in your remote course roughly the same as it was in your in-person course.
The many tools and options for remote instruction sometimes tempt instructors to increase student workload. Please do not do that. Instead, consider how much time students spent on work for your in-person class (including class time and out-of-class assignments), and aim to replicate that. We have planning tips in our Toolkit below.
2. Tailor your lectures and course materials to the remote environment—but don’t necessarily overhaul them. Remote teaching will almost certainly require you to adjust your course materials, but it won’t require scrapping them. To decide what you’ll need to change, start with our guide below for choosing the right mix for you of synchronous and asynchronous components. You can then review the best practices for each technique: Maybe you’ll need to spend some time pre-recording lectures (asynchronous) and/or tweaking your class participation scheme (synchronous). But don’t feel pressure to develop an entirely new teaching persona, or to use every online bell and whistle. Particularly if remote instruction isn’t your comfort zone, a smaller set of techniques that suits your style will be less likely to overwhelm you and your students.
3. Design your class to foster regular and substantive interaction between you and the students and among students. Students’ substantive interactions with instructors and with their peers are vital to law school education. Please be deliberate about finding ways to translate the interactions you’d normally have in class into the remote environment. Seek to build community with and between your students. We suggest a variety of options in the Toolkit, though you need not pick all of them. Please also be sure to hold regular office hours.
4. Support students’ adjustment to your remote course by clearly communicating your expectations. Be very clear with students about how often and when you will meet, what technology you will use, and what students will need to do in your class. Please also consider in advance how you will support student hardships. In the Toolkit, we suggest a Welcome Video and offer syllabus templates.
5. Plan and clearly convey your assessment plans. Reflect in advance on whether you will alter the way you assess and grade students, including whether and how you will grade class participation. Communicate your assessment plans to students clearly at the outset of the semester.
Ready to get started?