For Faculty: Teaching Readiness Update

The purpose of this document is to share answers to common questions, information about available support, and critical updates to assist you in preparing your courses for the Fall 2020 semester. We know the work ahead is difficult and that managing new circumstances and using new technologies pose challenges. We are working diligently to reduce uncertainties you are facing and to support you in this work as thoroughly as possible. We hope the information below, along with available training resources and opportunities, will be useful to you right now and in the days ahead.

How will teaching and learning in Fall 2020 be different from Spring? 

The chart below should serve as a helpful heuristic synopsis. 


Spring 2020

Fall 2020

Instructional Modality

Emergency Remote Teaching: little time to prepare online materials or redesign courses.

Resilient Pedagogy: intentional planning for flexibility to ensure quality, mitigate potential disruptions and increase equity for in-person and remote students.

Building Community

In-person connections with and between students were sustained during an involuntary pivot online.

We aim to create community with and among students, some of whom may be taking courses remotely.  

Assessments (exams, papers, projects)

It was difficult to assess learning remotely while maintaining security, esp.  in high- stakes exams; we made ad hoc changes. 

We encourage more frequent assessments that can be delivered online to live and remote students to offer parity of experience.


We rapidly adopted Sakai, Zoom, Panopto tools and asynchronous strategies; ad hoc implementation.

We aim for intentional design and use of key technologies to support course goals, enhance learning, and increase equity.

Student Perceptions

Gratitude for instructors’ commitment and flexibility

Expectation of high quality, coherent, and well-designed  learning experiences.

When will I receive my classroom assignment(s)?

The Office of the Registrar has published course schedules and classroom assignments for the fall semester. The new schedules are available at InsideND via Class Search. You will note that we have converted and outfitted several non-traditional spaces and auditoriums for classroom use to accommodate physical distancing and other health and safety protocols. If you have questions about your new classroom assignment or meeting time, please contact your dean’s designee for fall scheduling matters, typically an assistant/associate dean. Please note that the classroom assignments are not yet final, as adjustments will be made as we learn which faculty members will be teaching online during the fall semester. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through these issues.

Will I have remote students in my class?  What is this “dual-mode” I’ve heard about? Does this mean I am simultaneously teaching to a live in-person group of students with some others on Zoom?

You should assume that you will, for part or all of the fall semester, have students who participate remotely. We encourage you to design instruction, activities, and assessments with this in mind.  You do not have to prepare separate course designs. “Dual-mode” means a residential course in which some students participate in-person and others participate remotely via Zoom.

What Should I Be Doing Right Now?

Resilient courses are designed to withstand involuntary disruptions while enabling students to achieve stated learning goals. Taking intentional steps now will mitigate the effects of a future disruption, and assist any remote students you have in achieving equity of learning opportunity.  Assume you will have remote students (either through an accommodation or due to required quarantine or isolation). Four things you can do right now: 

  1. Participate in ND Learning readiness programs.
  2. Use the attached Fall Teaching Resilience template to prepare a readiness plan.
  3. Consider changes to your course design that might include alternative assessment strategies, adoption of digital learning materials, and adapted teaching strategies. 
  4. Prepare your course materials and Sakai site as soon as possible.

What kind of advice and assistance will the University provide?

ND Learning is offering a regular series of dedicated fall readiness workshops on topics such as course redesign, resilient assessment strategies, active learning and group collaboration, and effective asynchronous learning. Find a convenient time here (we will continue to update the site with additional times). Past workshops have been recorded and are posted for your convenience. In addition, ND Learning  offers individual and group consultations, resilient pedagogy working groups, drop-in office hours. We are pleased to announce several new training initiatives to assist you preparing for the fall:

  • A two-day Resilient Teaching  bootcamp will be offered on Wednesday July 8 and Thursday July 9 to provide a coordinated sprint to readiness. Details and Registration here.
  • Publication of a Fall 2020 Teaching Readiness Playbook (a reference tailored to Notre Dame’s unique context, collecting strategies, how-to guides, plans and action steps), available no later than July 10.
  • A self-paced online mini-course designed by ND Learning, available no later than July 10. 

Please note that these offerings are designed to provide you multiple ways to access common advice, strategies and resources depending on your comfort level and preference. ND Learning guidance and University updates on policy will continue to be posted on the Resilient Teaching (aka Instructional Continuity) website.

Are there external resources I should consult?

To supplement our offerings tailored to Notre Dame, we recommend the following resources created by our colleagues: 

What kind of technology will be available in my classroom? 

In consultation with ND Learning, the Faculty Task Force and the Registrar’s Office, the OIT has developed four categories of classroom technology improvements for Registrar-controlled classrooms to enable engagement and interaction between instructors and students, regardless of how they attend class.  Audiovisual enhancements at a minimum allow remote students to hear, see and interact with the instructor through Zoom. In some rooms, additional microphones facilitate in-room and remote student discussion and interaction. Detailed information is available in this OIT Knowledge Base article.

Instructors assigned to departmental classrooms should check with their dean’s office for more information about available technologies and resources.

Can I visit these rooms in person? Or by video?

OIT’s Audio Video Technologies group is building a demonstration classroom in a DeBartolo Hall room. Beginning in the week of July 6, OIT and ND Learning will be offering regular orientations to the technology and experience using this demonstration classroom.  A narrated video walkthrough of the classroom and learning experience will be distributed as part of the rollout of this sample space. In addition to orientations, some of ND Learning workshops in-person components will be held in a DeBartolo classroom to give participants a feel for the dual-mode experience. Additional demonstration classrooms (in a range of available sizes, with outfitted technology) will be ready for visiting on July 20. Please register for a Dual-Mode Classroom Demonstration here.

How do I use the new classroom technologies? Will there be training? 

The OIT will provide instructors with training and orientation through both how-to articles and training workshops to be held after July 20. 

I have a lot to do to get organized in time for August 10. Can someone help?

Your department may have access to remote student interns who can assist with course readiness effort right away (organizing materials, gathering library reserves, Quality Assurance / proofreading, uploading to Sakai, etc). Ask your dean's office for more information.

Are there any common descriptions of course delivery?

To provide a common vocabulary we are using the following descriptions

Residential Dual-Mode

The norm. Taught with instructors and most students in person, with some remote students as appropriate.

Hybrid Course

Designed intentionally to use a combination of live in-person and asynchronous learning to achieve learning goals.


Due to classroom size constraints, students alternate between live in-person and live online participation.

Fully Online Course

All instruction and participation happens online, with instructors and all students physically separated.

Instructors should work to ensure that their syllabus and Registrar’s course data accurately reflect the course delivery mode in order to provide students and their advisors with accurate information.

May I teach my classes 100% online? In hybrid format?

The Office of Institutional Equity is managing faculty requests for accommodations, which will take a variety of forms. Any instructors provided accommodations to teach remotely should check with their dean's office to understand any training requirements or expectations. All courses meeting online should be clearly designated as such in the Registrar’s course data in order to guide students and their advisors. ND Learning will offer accommodated faculty customized training in effective online teaching. 

As Provost Burish and Provost-Elect Miranda wrote on June 23, “questions about hybrid approaches should be resolved at the local (college, school) level. The provost’s office does not plan on issuing “rules” on hybrid approaches. We simply ask that you remember the importance students place on interacting with faculty and that you leverage technology in ways that give you better opportunity to connect with our students.” Check with your dean’s office if you have any questions.

How will the new classrooms work? Must I wear a mask while teaching? 

The face coverings policy applies to teaching. Instructors must wear face coverings.  Classrooms will have assigned seats to facilitate contact tracing, designated entry and exit patterns, and visible distancing signage. Longer passing periods (time between classes) will help students to depart and arrive on time. As previously noted, we are exploring the use of face shields for instructors -- this is an evolving issue and we will keep you updated.

Who will monitor the remote students while I’m teaching?

Some classroom assistants (student workers) will be available upon request to help instructors without assigned TAs operate the technology during live instruction. Instructors assigned to Registrar classrooms can request this support from OIT later in July. 

How will students work and interact in groups while remaining physically distant in class?

Classroom testing suggests that students in physically distanced classrooms will be able to converse comfortably during small group work. We suggest groups of 2-3, and when needed, the use of digital documents and artifacts that allow for physical distance.  Some group collaboration may also be shifted online, outside of the scheduled class meeting time, when pedagogically appropriate. In most classrooms, wi-fi will not support large numbers of simultaneous student Zoom video meetings intended to facilitate small group work. 

What if I have a non-traditional classroom assignment? Will there be “dual-mode technology” to allow remote students to participate live?

The OIT is outfitting approximately 25 non-traditional spaces as temporary Registrar classrooms with upgraded technology and sound systems that will be similar in functionality and instructor experience to other large lecture dual-mode Registrar classrooms as detailed in this Knowledge Base article.  

For additional flexibility, portable Zoom kits and document cameras will be available for temporary check-out from the OIT Help Desk. Some departmental classrooms are also being outfitted with specialized technology on a case-by-case basis. 

How should I conduct office hours and informal learning events?

Student feedback from Spring 2020 endorsed holding scheduled office hours via Zoom. Using a waiting room feature for Zoom office hours can maintain privacy. Face coverings and physical distancing are also viable approaches to office hours and informal learning.

What if I want to create asynchronous materials (e.g. short lecture videos, screencasts or worked examples) as part of my course design?

Great idea. Learn how to do so effectively in an ND Learning workshop or by consulting this resource. You can book time in ND Studios if you prefer in-studio filming and production.

What will my students’ experience be like in Fall 2020?

Remember that the Fall 2020 semester will have no breaks and the day-to-day circumstances for living and learning will be unusual for all of us. As you design your fall courses, please consider adding a degree of breathing room while maintaining high academic expectations. It is critical to cultivate interpersonal connections early in the semester. 

Three Typical Forms of Student Experience in Fall 2020 Courses

In-Person / Residential

Participate in person as scheduled. Some courses may include alternating-attendance plans, online recitations or tutorials, hybrid designs, or other modifications. Courses taught by accommodated faculty may be 100% online.

Remote on campus 

Participate in class live but remotely, during a period of quarantine or isolation only.

Remote at home 

Participate in all learning activities and co-curriculars fully online for the duration of the semester. May apply to some International students and students with accommodations.

Are instructors required to record all courses? Must students attend class?

Attendance policies are unchanged. Instructors with remote students should record live class meetings. Recordings can be a very valuable learning resource for later study. Recordings will be made with Zoom and posted in Panopto to provide maximum control over their circulation. More details on this process are available in this knowledge article. Please consult our posted guidance on classroom recordings, privacy, and intellectual property for additional information.

How do I provide feedback? Who should I talk to with questions about teaching, fall readiness, learning strategies, and the like?

If you have questions about pedagogical strategies, resilient course design, inclusive pedagogy, or if you wish to help offer guidance and mentorship to colleagues, please be in touch with

If you have questions about teaching technologies in Registrar classrooms, please refer to this knowledge article or contact the OIT Help Desk at 574-631-8111, or chat online at:

Any questions about policies, permissions, requirements, or classroom assignments should be directed to your dean's office.

Where are all of these resources collected?

Keep checking the Resilient Teaching website (aka Instructional Continuity), which is undergoing a significant redesign. We will provide regular updates on new resources, strategies, and offerings there as well as through traditional communication channels.