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Guide to Hybrid & Online Teaching at JMU

Get started or get help

iconDo you have some time to plan your online or hybrid class? Consider joining the self-paced Institute for Online & Hybrid Learning for access to a faculty learning community, with support offered by experts, peers, and mentors.

Is your online or hybrid class starting soon? Here are our recommendations for getting started quickly:

1. Publish your course & set notifications.

First, publish your course in Canvas and set your Canvas notification preferences.

2. Email your students.

  • Using Canvas or your MyMadison roster, email your students to let them know the course will be held online or in a hybrid mode. Timely initial communication will help reduce uncertainty and begin to cultivate the sense of connection that is critical to successful online teaching.
  • Ask your students a few questions to become aware of their learning needs and any concerns they have. Here is a sample student questionnaire, which you are welcome to copy or adapt. You can use Google Forms or Microsoft Forms to create yours.
  • Try to balance reducing student uncertainty with sharing appropriate types and amounts of information. Avoid overwhelming students with initial communication. Instead, provide students with essential, initial information and let them know when they can expect to hear more information from you.
  • Share any resources that you know you will be using, many of which you can locate directly from the Guide to Hybrid & Online Learning at JMU

3. Ask whether your students have the technology they need to participate in your online course.

  • Refer students to the JMU Online Technology Requirements.

  • Many students will be accessing the internet via their cell phones and/or via slower internet connections. Please keep this accessibility issue in mind. Using the Student Canvas app may provide more inclusive access for students for certain aspects of the course (e.g. the app is not for completing assignments or other assessment in a class).

4. Consider and share course policies.

Students may experience increased uncertainty about an online class. Here are some questions to ask yourself (and explain to students):

  • How will assignments and expectations change?
  • How will you define attendance and participation?
  • How often should students expect to hear from you? 
  • How often do you expect students to communicate with you?
  • Where can materials (slides, handouts, notes, assignments) for classes be found?

5. Prioritize synchronous interactions when possible for essential course activities.

  • Keep synchronous class activities focused on making progress on essential learning objectives.
  • Focus on course activities that align with learning objectives even if the activity format needs to change to accommodate online teaching.

6. Consider asynchronous options.

  • Alongside synchronous options like web conferencing, asynchronous and low-tech activities can make content more accessible.
  • Canvas discussion boards and other interactive asynchronous online activities can help foster peer learning. 

7. Build or augment your Canvas site with content, assignments, and quizzes/exams.

Find more topics in this guide on the A-Z Page List or in the menu.