Adjusting to remote teaching

Three weeks in and I’m trying to learn how to steer this ship

Andrew Morrison
3 min readSep 4, 2020

I’m getting to the end of the third week of 100% online physics classes. I don’t consider this true online learning, because I think if I had chosen to do this, I would have probably spent close to a year planning how to do it right. What I’m doing this semester is better described as “emergency remote teaching”.

I don’t have a full feeling for how well things are going overall, but I do have a couple of tips to share for those in a similar situation. One tip is a general, sort of big-picture tip. The other one is a bit more specific or targeted.

Today, I was really getting worried that most of my classes (I have three) are not engaging in the discussions as much as I was hoping they would. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to reach the students in the class and try to get them to become more engaged with the group work.

I don’t have any points in my class, because I use standards-based assessment and reporting, so I can’t make the group work worth points.

I don’t want to seem like I am mad or upset with the students, because I really don’t know why they aren’t engaging. Yet, from my perspective, I thought that everything I had done was set up to clearly communicate how the group discussions and work should be handled.

After a lot of thinking, I finally settled on what should have been obvious from the start. I asked…



Andrew Morrison

Physics professor with research interest in musical acoustics