Getting Started

The information on this page was prepared in Spring 2020 for the transition to emergency remote teaching. In preparation for Fall 2020, Duke Learning Innovation has developed a new resource, Flexible Teaching, which features a series of guides for course design, delivery, and materials. Please refer to as you prepare for your fall course(s).

As you make plans for remote teaching during an emergency, focus on what tasks you are trying to accomplish. Many face-to-face teaching and learning practices have reasonable online alternatives, such as those suggested below. There are also often low tech approaches using everyday tools like email that are reliable and sufficient to accomplish the educational goal. With limited time to plan, the simpler solution that minimizes cognitive load and complexity is often the best.

Remember, more important than any technology is your presence and care for your students and the continuity of our learning community.

Presenting content

Current PracticeOnline Alternative
Instructor-led lectureCreate your Duke Zoom account to record lectures (watch this video to Learn Zoom) or host live class sessions in Sakai.
Content shown in classShare readings and texts via links in Sakai (use Resources tool or Lessons tool)

Class discussion

Current PracticeOnline Alternative
Instructor-led mini lecture plus student-driven discussionDeliver mini-lecture in real time or pre-recorded via Zoom. For synchronous discussion run a live session on Zoom. For asynchronous discussion
use Sakai forums with a question prompt.
Group/team-based in-class discussionsUse Zoom breakout rooms to manage small group discussions. Bring students back into larger Zoom session to share out.

Assignments and assessments

Current PracticeOnline Alternative
PapersUse the Sakai Assignments tool to collect student papers or other works in pdf or Word format to review and grade. If you just need to collect ungraded drafts for feedback, the Sakai Drop Box tool can be useful.
ExamsThe Test & Quizzes tool in Sakai supports various types of question types (e.g., multiple choice, numeric entry, text entry, essay, file upload). Adapting tests and quizzes will take more time. You would need to build the questions for each assessment either one-by-one or using markup text or cut and paste.
Student presentationsUse Zoom for live presentations; VoiceThread and other tools available for audio-narrated interaction. Read a blog post by Duke Learning Innovation here: “Online Student Presentations“.
Peer reviewUse the peer review option (enabled with a checkbox) for the Assignments tool in Sakai; moderate a discussion-based peer review in Sakai. Or share Word documents with tracked changes. Read more here:  “Add Dimension to Online Learning with Multimedia and Peer Review“.
Programming assignmentsStudents can upload code files using the Sakai Drop Box for faculty to download and review. Gradescope is a more advanced option for coding assignments, which requires more setup.
LabsHarvard’s LabXchange is an open and free option for virtual labs. Alternatively, record a video of a lab demonstration and then create an assessment that has students analyze the lab experiment and write a lab report. It is also helpful to check with your textbook publisher to see the online content and activities available to you and your students. Many textbook publishers have consultants that can help you plan your lab-based simulations. Visit our strategy page for more ideas on Managing Labs Remotely.