Skip to Main Content

Otterbein Academic Continuity

This guide is designed to give suggestions and support for when there are obstacles for face-to-face instruction. For instance, a snow day, power outage, and other unplanned closures.

Planning Ahead

Contact the Center for Teaching and Learning to set up a Course Design Consultation
Plan ahead for those, "What do I do now? moments"

General principles to follow as you transition your course plans and materials for remote instruction.

  • Prepare your students to conduct class remotely by introducing remote learning tools and practices early in the semester.
  • Communicate with your students early and frequently. Cultivating a sense that you are present with the students in a meaningful if non-literal sense is crucial to successful online teaching.
  • Focus on learning outcomes even if you need to adjust the specific activities that contribute to those outcomes. Keep students moving toward those outcomes. Avoid "busy work."
  • Prioritize course activities and focus on delivering the ones with the most significant impact on learning outcomes.
  • Maintain normal course scheduling as much as you can. Try to hold synchronous activities to promote community, but please don't penalize students who cannot participate due to time zone differences, poor internet access, or similar factors. Additionally, it's ideal to schedule synchronous activities during the normal class time (relative to the Pacific time zone, or another reference point provided by the Dean's office), to avoid putting students in the untenable position of having to choose between simultaneous activities for different classes.
  • Convert synchronous activities into asynchronous activities to ease scheduling challenges, as long as the new asynchronous activity promotes the same learning outcomes.
  • Rearrange course activities if needed to delay those activities where face-to-face interaction is most crucial.
  • Replace physical resources with digital resources where possible. Remember that students who are not on campus will not have access to the library, and some will lack access to their course textbooks. Have realistic expectations about library staff support for scanning articles or book chapters. If you can, substitute materials that are available in Payson's full-text databases or that are freely available online. Please be careful about assigning readings from ebooks in the Pepperdine Libraries catalog, though, as these are not equally accessible to all students at all times due to check-out limits.
  • Consult your divisional dean about any division-specific considerations.
  • Use tools that are familiar to you and the students, to the greatest extent possible.


Course Design

Why design? (from our Backwards Design Libguide)

Undergoing a structured course design process like Backwards Design can seem overwhelming or counterintuitive, especially if you are unfamiliar with course design methodologies. However, these methods are designed to provide educators with opportunities to systematically explore their teaching, better align their teaching with students' needs, and situate courses more clearly within the overarching curriculum. As an added benefit, Backwards Design can also help you manage your teaching workload and foster more inclusive classrooms.


Link to "Keeping Stress from Evolving into Distress: A Guide on Managing Student Stress through Course Design" (Web article) - Center for Teaching Vanderbilt University

Other Institution resources

Instructional Practices to Avoid
  • Holding class via virtual meeting software at a time and day the class does not meet.
  • Extending class beyond the time the class usually meets.
  • Increasing the amount of work students are expected to do.
  • Asking students to do the same amount and kind of work the syllabus initially expected them to do while (a) compressing the work into a shorter time period and/or (b) reducing their access to instructor, peer, or campus resources. If you have more content than time, reflect on the student learning outcomes for your course and focus on those that are the most important.
  • Teaching via individual consultation and tutorial (unless you were going to do that anyway).
  • Increasing the weight of any graded assignment.
  • Adding a class session during finals week.
  • Extending the course so that it ends after finals week.
  • Rescheduling finals.

Otterbein Library resources