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How to Teach Anywhere

Transitioning an on-ground course to an online course

online header 

Academic Continuity

A variety of circumstances might require you to temporarily deliver your class online with minimal notice, such as an infectious disease outbreak, a family emergency requiring your presence elsewhere, or a natural disaster.

This website provides suggested actions to implement when making the shift from teaching in a classroom to teaching anywhere.

Support is also available for faculty and instructors on any part of the process of maintaining instructional excellence while migrating elements of a course online. 

Visit the OBU Technology Tutorials & Guides page
for additional resources and walkthroughs of available OBU platforms.

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In the event that on-campus, face-to-face teaching is limited, instructors need to be prepared for alternative methods of course delivery.

Best Practices

Assess and plan

To move a course online, first consider your facility with the relevant instructional technologies, the structure of your course, the particular needs of your students, the requirements of your material or your discipline, the assignments and assessments typically used in the course, and the limitations caused by timelines and scalability. Above all, because you are working with unexpected limitations, we advise you to observe (and encourage your students to observe) reasonable expectations for success.

Transitional Ideas:

Traditional Course

Online Course

Course Lectures Use various methods to deliver content:
  • Record lecture and post in Canvas
  • Increase reading (make sure it is free and accessible to all students)
  • Link to already recorded media
Class Interactions/Participation Use the Discussion tool to promote dialogue between students.
Exams/Quizzes Create online exams/quizzes which are modified in light of online delivery.
Papers Move submissions to Canvas
Presentations/Performances Students record presentations/performances and upload to Canvas.
Labs Link to online video demonstrations and simulations. Adjust schedule to push in-class activities to later in the semester.


Require weekly activities (discussions, quizzes, etc…) to keep students engaged and to monitor attendance. These can be graded or un-graded activities, but they should be required.

Foster communication and collaboration among students

Keeping in touch with students is vital during any changes to your class(es) — whether a viral outbreak like COVID-19, a planned absence on your part, or a crisis impacting all or part of campus. You'll want to let students know about changes in schedules, assignments, procedures, and broader course expectations. 

Keep these principles in mind:

Seat time equivalents

Moving course delivery to the online environment requires adjusting student learning exercises to compensate for missed ground engagement. The HLC requires that online courses are equivalent to ground delivered courses, so all missing seat time needs to be made up through other methods. For example, a 3-hour ground course will need an additional 3 hours equivalent of coursework added per week when transitioned online. This can include but is not limited to watching recorded lectures/media, increased readings, and additional assignments such as discussion boards, papers, and exams. Be mindful to consider increased preparation and research time for additional tasks being required (an additional exam may only take 30 minutes, but preparation time may take 3 hours). For help calculating seat time equivalents, consult the coursework calculator.

If you feel that video is the most appropriate tool for your instruction, instructors have the following options:

Regardless of which of these tools you use, your sessions should be recorded so they can be accessed later by students unable to attend in a synchronous manner.

Distribute course materials and readings

You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings that allow you to shift more – or all – instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet for keeping the intellectual momentum of the course moving.

Considerations when posting new course materials:

Transitioning Lab Activities

One of the biggest challenges of teaching online from anywhere is sustaining the lab components of classes. Since many labs require specific equipment, they are hard to reproduce outside of that physical space.

Considerations as you plan to address lab activities:

Translating performance classes to online

More Resources

Collect assignments

Collecting assignments during a campus closure is fairly straightforward since many instructors already collect work electronically. The main challenge during a campus disruption is whether students have access to computers and/or the internet, as anyone needing a campus computer lab may be unable to access necessary technologies. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Assess Student Learning

The office of Academic Technology & Creative Communications can provide individual consultation to instructors wanting to adapt exams to a different format to ensure that the new format is measuring what the instructor wants. Here are some options for adapting your final exam:

Additional online assessment tools: