Fall 2021 Teaching Resources and Support

Welcome to the new academic year! As most of us return to the classroom for in-person teaching this fall, TEP and key campus partners are striving to share information about policies and practices that instructors need for a safe and positive return, including:

As always, please contact us at any time for in-person or remote co-thinking or with questions. For Canvas support, visit the Canvas How-To guide or contact UO Online. We are here for you!



What was the experience of teaching/learning in person like for those who did it last year?

The return to campus is raising a range of emotions from faculty, staff, and students. A few colleagues who taught face to face last year and a few of our students share hopes, fears, and some advice.


What University COVID policies are in place?

The University, including the Academic Council and Faculty Senate, have released several key pieces of policy that impact how we support learning while preventing COVID spread in our teaching contexts. We want to share these policies and highlight those we see as most impacting class planning.

UO COVID-Related Policies

  • COVID-19 Guidance "Resource Rubric": a Q&A formatted resource for instructors on "what you need to know to protect our campus community," focused on safety across classrooms, labs, offices, etc.
  • COVID Containment Plan for Classes (featuring slides you can use with students)
  • Instructor Guide: Student Wellness in the Classroom: A one-page guide for understanding what happens when a student is diagnosed with COVID-19, identified as a close contact* or has symptoms of COVID-19; the guide also makes an ask that instructors use seating charts of stable seating zones to help contract tracing efforts.
  • Prevention: a public-facing resource that includes university-wide guidance (for students, staff, and faculty) about what the university is doing to prevent COVID spread.

As the Academic Council's "Fall 2021 Guidance and Expectations during COVID-19 Pandemic" focuses on teaching, we want to highlight four key points from this policy, and will share resources in the next section of ways in which you might approach this policy in your own planning to fit your teaching context. 

Academic Council Fall '21 Guidance specifies that:

  • Instructors are encouraged to plan class sessions a few weeks in advance where possible, to be ready for any disruption to campus operations
  • Students who are directed to quarantine or isolate should be held harmless by any course attendance or participation policies. Instructors may ask for verification of quarantine or isolation requirements from students.
  • Instructors will need to provide equitable access to course materials for these students, which may include recorded lectures/class sessions, live access to course via Zoom, lecture slides and notes, or other means deemed appropriate by the instructor.
  • Instructors of in-person courses are not required to accommodate students who request online access to the course for the entire term unless the student presents an AEC notification of accommodation letter that calls for that. Students without AEC accommodations who ask for such access should be advised of the course modality and expectations and encouraged to work with advising to find alternatives if they cannot meet those expectations.

The University knows that there is no one way to enact these policies, and that each teaching context has different opportunities and constraints. The section below details resources that show a variety of approaches to teaching that fit within this guidance, and that offers ready-made language to share with students where applicable.


How can I enact these policies to fit my teaching practice and context?

There are two resources we have created to support applying UO's COVID policies to your class planning: a Return to In-Person Teaching: Class Policy and Planning page, which focuses on four questions we've heard most from instructors and a series of strategies instructors might take to answer them and a Fall 2021 Syllabus "Starter," which offers modifiable language instructors can place directly into their syllabus. 

Return to In-Person Teaching offers strategies that strive to address these instructor questions:
  • How can I support student learning without reverting to the overextension some instructors experienced last year?  
  • How can I support community building and engagement as we return to the classroom? 
  • What can I do pedagogically if students get sick and/or need to quarantine? 
  • How can I act on Academic Council guidance for making and communicating a contingency plan to students in case instructors get sick and/or need to quarantine? 

Access Return to In-Person Teaching here

Fall 2021 Syllabus "Starter" includes:
  • categories and sample language each of the required portions of the University Senate's newly passed requirements for syllabi 
  • revised language for an in-class context 
  • required policy language on "academic disruption" and a "COVID Containment plan" for classes 

Access the Fall 2021 Syllabus "Starter" here.

In addition to these two resources, TEP and UO Online have schematized options for meeting Academic Council's "equitable access to course content" requirement for students who are isolating or quarantining due to COVID-19 and we offer a full suite of instructor support. Please contact us for in-person (including, if desired, in-classroom!) or remote consultations or with any teaching-related questions, large or small. 


What Technology-Aided Teaching Resources Exist?

As instructors consider options for meeting guidance to "ensure that absent students have equitable access to course content," some may decide to record classes or allow for remote access for students who must quarantine. To make a decision that fits your context and needs, know that Information Services is here for you with a variety of ready-made and responsive resources. 

Recording Your Live Class:

See relevant policy and simple, how-to guides for recording with Zoom or Panopto.

For Questions or Live Help, Contact:
Know Your Classroom Technology:


What tips and strategies do you have for teaching while masked?

Teaching while wearing a mask – and engaging a room of students wearing masks – presents a unique set of challenges. For example, how do we balance protecting everyone’s health with fostering an interactive class?  While we can continue to rely on several familiar teaching strategies for engaging student learning, instructors will likely need to modify how they structure and facilitate certain activities or adopt new approaches better suited to the current context.  Here we offer a few tips, strategies, and resources to help with classroom planning and to stimulate creativity.  We welcome additional ideas and insights to keep building this resource!

Establish clear expectations for interaction

Establish clear expectations for how the class community will interact and behave in ways that protect health by including a syllabus statement and Canvas resource page on COVID containment, and adoption of a caring classroom compact or good classroom citizenship guidelines.

Develop a system for class members to signal if they are having difficulty hearing someone speak due to a mask or need you or another student to repeat a statement, for instance through an agreed upon set of hand gestures or use of the chat option in Zoom. Also be prepared to repeat student contributions aloud to ensure that everyone in the room can hear (this is helpful in medium or larger classes even without masks).

Consider offering a break during class when everyone can get outside and breathe without a mask or get a drink or eat a snack for at least a few minutes. Also consider adopting a protocol for how students can come and go from the room during class in the least disruptive manner, should they need to use the washroom, get a drink, or be outside for a few minutes.

Allow students to pass on being part of a group discussion or activity if they don't feel up for interaction, for any reason, but ask that they still participate individually and contribute. This can be facilitated using many of the virtual tools discussed below. For example, if student groups are sharing their thoughts on a virtual slide - with each group having its own slide - students who are working individually can also have their own slide for recording contributions.

Remember to structure meaningful student engagement by building class community and facilitating productive and respectful interaction.  

Use virtual tools to facilitate interaction

Consider bringing remote teaching strategies forward to your in-person class. 

For brainstorming initial ideas or responses, or sharing concise summaries of discussions, have students use shared online docs or slides, or a virtual whiteboards such as Office Whiteboard (free to all UO faculty and students), Padlet (free for up to three interactive boards), or Google Jamboard (free but requires Google account to set up).  Each student or student group can have their own whiteboard or you can have all use the same whiteboard space (works better in smaller classes). These tools allow students to see each other’s work in real time, and you can also observe students’ work without having to move around the room and check in with folks. Moreover, both you and students can revisit and review this work after class, build upon it in future class sessions, or cite it as part of assignments.  These tools can also substitute for more traditional note cards or pieces of paper.

For discussions, students can use Canvas discussion boards in the classroom, for example small groups of two or three students can discuss aloud together then post their thoughts to a Canvas discussion board for other groups to read and engage.  In this way, all contributions get expressed, and students cannot simply say “what they just said.” You can also look over the discussions and highlight points of connection or overlap, or call up particular contributions for further whole class consideration.  Discussion threads can continue after class or extended into future class sessions.

For group work, use the Canvas Groups tool to create a virtual group work space for sharing and archiving group work. As with the ideas above, these can serve as artifacts for review or ongoing work.

For annotation and group reading activities, use Perusall to create student groups and provide documents for inquiry and marking. Perusall is integrated with Canvas and can be linked in your Canvas course site.

Instead of handing out worksheets for students to complete, make them virtual with form-fillable Word documents or PDFs, with links posted in Canvas that students can access during class.

For a live chat option, you can use the chat feature in Zoom. Agree upon a set of conventions, for example having students put "Question:" in the chat before asking it or "Resource:" before providing a link, and so forth.  This can make it easier to identify what might need attention in the moment, such as a question, and what can be engaged later if there is time.

Enhance presence and relationships

Use a microphone in the classroom to amplify your voice, which is a good idea with or without a mask - statistically, one in five students as some degree of hearing loss. Also be prepared to slow down and practice enunciating as clearly as possible. The University has purchased additional microphones for faculty to check out.  Instructors who want to purchase their own mic should be aware that UO classrooms are configured to use the Shure WL185 lavalier mic.

Introduce yourself in class using a photo of yourself without a mask on a slide and also in Canvas; or make a short video introducing yourself without a mask (like many instructors do for asynchronous WEB courses). Consider having students share a photo or short video introducing themselves to you (or your GEs in large classes with labs or sections) without a mask, as an initial participation assignment.

Identify a core group of students who can take notes and make them available for others who may need to miss class.  Students can send you the notes for posting to Canvas along with other class materials such as slides and readings, or students could post their notes as a file in the Canvas Groups or Discussion area.

Consider organizing set student groups for the term for in-class small group discussions and work. These groups can also work together to ensure that anyone who misses class gets notes or updates. These do not have to be the same groups for out-of-class projects but could be.

Ask your students for insights about how to engage a particular activity or which virtual tool might be best to facilitate group activities or projects.


What student success & wellbeing resources should I know about?

Student support units have been doing tremendous work to care for students throughout the past year and a half and as they return to campus this term. A student seems to be struggling academically or if you have concerns about a students' well-being, do not hesitate to share these resources with students or (if you wish to) to contact them with any questions you have as an instructor.

If you have a student who does not show up or log in to classes

Academic Advising in UESS is the first stop for academic referrals—say, students don’t show up or login during the first week of class and are unresponsive to your outreach, or are not submitting work, or grades are dropping, etc. Use this form to request that an academic advisor reach out to the student.

If you have students who would benefit from tutoring and academic skills coaching

If a student would benefit from tutoring and academic skills coaching, tutoring and academic support is available through the Tutoring and Academic Engagement Center. Consider highlighting these resources broadly through Canvas or directly referring individual students. The TAEC provides drop-in and remote math, science, and writing support, supplemental instruction and an asynchronous Online Writing Lab. They also offer learning specialists appointments and peer academic coaching for students who would like to enhance their study skills or are struggling with things like time management, notetaking, and/or test prep.  Instructors are also welcome to email the TAEC at engage@uoregon.edu with questions about how best to refer students for tutoring or academic skills coaching or visit the “Campus Partners” page on their website.  They also have a monthly newsletter that updates the UO community about their services (you can sign up at the bottom of the campus partners page).   

If you have other concerns about a student

Sometimes students cannot or will not ask for support. If you are concerned about a student, contacting the Office of the Dean of students may be a critical factor in getting them the support they need. There are several reasons why students might need help including their physical and mental well-being, issues of bias, demonstrating concerning behaviors, or you are concerned they are missing. More information about what to do when you are concerned about a student can be found at this webpage.

If you have an urgent concern about a student

Please submit a Community Care and Support report form indicating your concerns which can be found here. The Care and Advocacy Program staff within the Dean of Students will reach out to the student to discuss their situation or make an appropriate referral. If the concern is an emergency, please call 9-1-1 before completing the Community Care and Support form. 

If you have a student who may need mental health support

If you have a student that has expressed feeling stressed or overwhelmed and might share more about the personal stressors in their lives or a significant event that has affected their emotional well-being, you can connect them to University Counseling Services by encouraging the student to call (541-346-3227) and schedule an appointment to get additional support. Faculty can also remind students that UCS services are free and confidential. Learn more and find Counseling Services recommended syllabus statement on student mental health in Dr. Mariko Lin’s post for this blog, “Reaching Out–Student Mental Health.” We also encourage you to take the evidence-based online interactive module called Kognito (https://counseling.uoregon.edu/kognito) to learn how to have effective conversations with students in supporting their mental health.  

Please know that Counseling Services prioritizes calls from instructors who are trying to support their students’ wellbeing. For consultations (call 541-346-3227) 


As I plan for fall, what research can I access about students' recent experiences of "Inclusive Teaching"?

Learn how students describe inclusive teaching from the Academic Data Analytics analysis of Student Experience Survey responses. Read the Inclusiveness Practitioner Guide.

In addition, we encourage you to stay tuned to upcoming teaching-related events.


Where can I find recordings of the Fall Teaching Overview Sessions?

Here is a link a Fall Teaching Overview (recording from 9/17/2021) prepared for general review. Please contact us if you need the Zoom link for an upcoming session.