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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Tips For Teaching Under Quarantine

Eunice DeFaria

Due to the corona virus, all schools have suspended face-to-face instruction and are in the process of moving everything to online delivery. At NIU, online classes begin Monday. So today, I simply want to run through a list of helpful hints for making a successful transition.


First, consider technological differences. Even though instructor and students will be using the same digital platform, the use and experience of that platform will vary by differences in end-user equipment. Before rolling out an ambitious online plan, instructors should check with students and design solutions that can work with the lowest common technological denominator.

Second, think beyond replication. Do not simply try to reproduce the physical classroom experience. This is a fool's errand. Do not require synchronous meetings, when an asynchronous delivery method will work. Do not expect students to sit for 30 or 40 minutes of video lecture; divide up the content into smaller units that can be accessed by students at their own pace.

Finally, patience and understanding. It is going to take time to get it right and different instructors will have varying levels of success based on their own prior experiences. Likewise, students will need time to get up to speed and learn how to organize their class time to work with families and the other responsibilities they need to address.

We will get through this. But doing so will require all of us to work together and recognition that none of this is going to be automatic or easy.

I’m David Gunkel and that’s my perspective.

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