Preparing for Fall 2020

Though flexible teaching practices can be implemented at any time and for any course, for Fall 2020, you should assume that some of your students will be participating remotely. It is also likely that many faculty will be teaching remotely. All courses should therefore be designed to be online, even if it may be possible to interact with students in person from time to time.

First, review the Blueprints page to get an idea of what flexible teaching may look like for your course.

Then, work through the three Flexible Teaching Guides which will walk you through the process of redesigning, gathering materials for and delivering your fall course(s).

If you are not sure where to start, or are worried you will not be able to design your flexible course in time, the Course Design Planner can help you navigate the guides and get started in four weeks.

Attend a workshop to gain hands-on experience on various flexible teaching topics. If you are unable to attend, we post videos of recorded workshops.

If you have any questions that are not answered in the FAQ, stop by our open office hours. Learning Innovation staff members are available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 1-3 p.m. EDT to answer your questions and work with you one-on-one.

How is this different from the emergency remote teaching Duke faculty did during the Spring 2020 semester?

The emergency remote teaching effort (Keep Teaching) was the best we could do, given the limited time and constraints of the Spring 2020 pandemic, to help faculty translate face-to-face activities and content to a remote setting in an emergency. 

Flexible teaching starts with the principles of course design to create a flexible, resilient course that can withstand any change in modality or delivery.

Emergency remote teachingflexible teaching
Lead TimeLess than two weeksThree-to-four months
Student ExpectationsManaged through ad hoc communication; adjusted as circumstances changed.Students introduced to the online components of the course. Norms set at the beginning for participating in online activities, discussions and live sessions.
InstructionDelivered primarily through live Zoom sessions with recordings for those in different time zones.Lectures pre-recorded, edited and offered ahead of class time; instructors also select and curate other content. Some instruction may occur in classrooms and/or via live Zoom sessions.
Content Creation and DeliveryOnly supplemental materials already available for the course and materials shared on-demand.Content created or curated based on the course design plan before the launch of the course; students have the opportunity to access content on their own schedule and review as many times as necessary.
Learning TechnologySakai, Zoom and other tools as possible at the time.Technologies selected based on desired learning outcomes; student access is set up ahead of time. Uses multiple learning technologies and tools at Duke, in addition to Sakai and Zoom.
Student EngagementLive Zoom sessions; limited use of breakout rooms for group activities. Limited peer-to-peer or peer-to-instructor interaction.To support active learning, group and team activities are planned before the course starts. Students learn expectations for participation in live or asynchronous discussion, team projects and other meetings.
AssignmentsPaper-based assignments quickly translated to online versions

Paper-based assignments can be rethought from the ground up to be digital first for collaboration and feedback.

Assignments can be redesign to take advantage of online mediums (ex: students might produce blogs or websites; develop videos and multimedia; use web-based presentation and sharing technologies).
AssessmentsExams quickly translated to online versions and/or re-conceived as open-book.Exams can be redesigned before the class starts to take advantage of question banks, randomization or even re-conceived to demonstrate applied learning vs. recollection.
ProjectsProjects and larger assignments continued but presentations, discussion and other learning artifacts varied depending on the situation.Projects and team assignments include designs and recommendations for technologies to use to collaborate as well as standard plans to provide presentations and/or have team meetings online if necessary.

At its best, flexible teaching successfully combines the design, organization and deep preparation of online courses, the agility and choice of hybrid/blended courses and the student connection and engagement of face-to-face courses. 

While Learning Innovation crafted this site for Duke faculty and for a Duke audience, we also want the Duke teaching community to know that there is a wide and growing body of resources available beyond Duke. You will find links to many of these resources alongside the content we have created within the guides themselves, and we have identified some broad references and resources for those who want to explore further below.