Advice for Instructors at Notre Dame

Notre Dame, like other institutions of higher education, is confronting major disruption due to the global coronavirus outbreak. We now face a situation in which we need to deliver instruction remotely in order to preserve the safety and welfare of our students, faculty and staff. We recognize this is a significant disruption for all of us. In order to be prepared to stay on track and help students achieve semester learning goals, we need to be flexible, adaptive and inventive. We also need to practice empathy and compassion for those most affected. Students, faculty, and staff may bear the burden of disruption differently, and often silently.

It is important to realize that success here is measured by completion, not by perfection, and that we strive for good outcomes for all students, their instructors, and our staff and community colleagues. That makes this a team effort. Reach out to each other to share ideas, resources and support as we navigate this together. Be patient with yourself and with others.

To support you in your efforts to move your class online, Notre Dame’s Instructional Continuity Faculty Task Force has aggregated strategies, tools, tips and resources, avenues for help, and a mechanism for you to share your ideas and resources with others.

Guiding Principles

We encourage you to maintain the following habits of mind and guiding principles as you move you prepare for teaching online:

  1. Be Pragmatic. Do not hope to achieve an exact replica of your campus course during an extended disruption. Revisit your course goals and expectations and focus your energy on the most crucial elements.
  2. Be Transparent. Communicate clearly, frequently, and supportively with students about your revised goals, your new expectations & practices, and other adjustments to the course during the period of disruption.
  3. Keep it Simple. Use university-supported technology tools. Stick with existing technologies and workflows whenever possible. Maintain existing meeting schedules and cadences if possible.
  4. Be Empathetic. Your students will be displaced and stressed, and may not have access to the support, materials or regular connectivity they need. Students (and instructors) may need to adopt new habits and learning practices quickly.
  5. Be flexible about time and approach to teaching. Remote teaching can occur in a variety of timeframes. The approach can be asynchronous (you post resources and assignments and students complete the work anytime before a deadline you set) or synchronous (you and your students meet together in a live session at your regularly scheduled class time). Using a blend of these approaches can offer a rich learning experience. Please do not schedule required synchronous classes outside of your regularly assigned class time.
  6. Assess Learning Flexibly. If your current assessment scheme doesn’t lend itself to remote learning, explore alternative forms and styles of assessment, including take-home exams, integrative reflections, frequent low-stakes online quizzes, etc.
  7. Share Expertise. Seek the advice of departmental peers, disciplinary colleagues, and learning professionals; share what works and what doesn’t.

Share Ideas, Resources, and Feedback

Do you have an approach or ideas you’d like to recommend to your colleagues? Or feedback to share?

Please use this form to get in touch with us

Need help?  Contact ND Learning at, drop in to ND Learning Open Office Hours, or sign up for an ND Learning Online Workshop.