Online Teaching

General Suggestions for Teaching Online


Pedagogy in the Time of COVID19

Prepared by Queens College Provost Elizabeth Hendry and the GC’s Provost’s Office

    1. Be kind to yourself and your students. Everyone is stressed, even if they’re playing cool. That includes faculty. And that’s OK.
    1. Let’s acknowledge that the quality of education may not be as good in suddenly revised formats as it is in the pedagogical model we’ve actually planned for. That’s OK as well—we’re just trying to survive.
    1. Do not read about best practices for distance learning. That’s not the situation we’re in. We’re in triage mode. Distance learning, when planned, can be really excellent. That’s not what this is. Think about what you must cover and what might be expendable. Thinking you can master best practices in a day or a week will lead to feeling like you’ve failed.
    1. You will not recreate your classroom, and you cannot hold yourself to that standard. Moving a class to a distance learning model in a few days’ time may preclude the possibility of excellence. Give yourself a break.
    1. Prioritize: What do students really need to know? This is really difficult, and, once again, the quality of teaching and learning may not be to the standards that you usually pride yourselves on. But these are not normal circumstances.
    1. Stay in contact with your students, and be transparent. Talk to them about why you’re prioritizing certain things or asking them to read or do certain things. Most of us do that in our face-to-face teaching anyway, and it improves student buy-in because they know content and delivery are purposeful.
    1. The GC has pedagogical experts on academic technology that you may have only been dimly aware of until now. Be kind to these colleagues. They are suddenly very slammed, but they have compiled many great resources for you use:
    1. If you’re making videos, student viewership drops off precipitously at five minutes. Make them capsule videos if you do make them. Consider providing a summary/transcription of your video to ensure accessibility for your students. Do not assume your audio is good enough or that students can understand without transcription. This is like using a microphone at meetings—it doesn’t matter if you don’t need it; someone else does and they don’t want to ask.
    1. Make assignments low or no stakes if you’re using a new platform. Get students used to just using the platform. Then you can do something higher stakes. Do not ask students to do a high-stakes exam or assignment on a new platform.
    1. If you’re teaching undergraduates, be particularly kind to your graduating seniors. They’re already panicking, and this isn’t going to help. If you teach a class where they need to have completed something for certification, to apply to grad school, or whatever, figure out plan B. But talk to them. Radio silence, even if you’re working on a solution, is not okay.


Prioritizing Asynchronous Teaching and Learning

Prepared in collaboration with Valeria Belmonti, Instructional Technologis and Designer CSI

    • An instructor cannot reproduce the classroom interaction through videoconferencing, but indeed through a good combination and planning of asynchronous tools (discussion boards with prompts different from summaries and generated by students, small groups wiki and journals, project based assessments, interaction with content through assignments, etc.). Student-to-content and student-to-student asynchronous activities will provide a more meaningful interaction than a large group videoconferencing.
    • Bringing a course online requires a shift from a lecture-style type of teaching, most commonly found in classrooms, to a fully student-learner approach, and for the latter, the asynchronous approach offers more options and efficiency. Check out the site prepared by CSI Instructional Technologists and Instructional Designers.


10 Tips for First-Time Online Faculty (Published on Medium)

By Andrew Vanden Heuvel

Tip #1: Consider Teaching Asynchronously

Tip #2: Keep Course Navigation Simple and Obvious

Tip #3: Build on Existing Content

Tip #4: Keep Your Lecture Videos Short

Tip #5: Use Simple Technology

Tip #6: Make It Simpler for Students So It’s Easier for You

Tip #7: Think Creatively About Labs

Tip #8: Leverage the Benefits of Autograding

Tip #9: Answer Student Questions with Course Improvements

Tip #10: Save Time with Chunking

Link to full article:


Strategies for Teaching Remotely

By Modern Language Association

1.    Ask Students

2.    Making a Plan

3.    Tools

4.     Activities and assignments

5.     Examples of assignments and teaching resources

6.     Humanities Coronavirus Syllabus

Link to MLA site

Teaching Languages Online

Teaching Literature and other Content Courses Online

Persuall, a Collaborative Reading Platform []

Selecting and adapting online materials for the teaching of culture

CUNY Cloud Systems' Feature Guide

Useful Links


  • The Association of College and University Educators created a website with very easy steps to introduce faculty to distance learning: Online Teaching Toolkit,
  • Many of the CUNY campuses’ Teaching and Learning Centers have created extensive online resources you many find helpful. A not-exhaustive list:

Graduate Center

CUNY Central

Queens College


Brooklyn College

Hunter College

College of Staten Island

John Jay College

  • GC Digital Initiatives: The GC Digital Initiatives team is available for consultations on a wide range of topics related to technology. We invite GC faculty, students, and staff to use this form to set up 30-minute appointments with them.

Guides and Tutorials (includes resources on Data and Databases; Design; Mapping; Programming (including Python); Project Management; Projects; Text Analysis; Web Development; Social Media and Scholarly Publication)

Digital Scholarship Resources

  • Many book publishers are making their online teaching and testing platform available to all students currently enrolled in a course in which the faculty member uses one of their books (whether or not students have purchased the book). Reach out to your textbook publisher to see if this is a possibility.
  • Many educators across the educational community have contributed to this website with links to many free educational resources.