Fall 2020 Planning & Guidance

Given the need to prepare for a flexible teaching and learning environment in the Fall, the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), along with our partners, is building a rich set of offerings and resources that will help in this transition. Please visit the preparing for Fall 2020 website to see what is available.

If you are looking for details on the Course Design Institute (CDI) being offered this summer, please visit the CDI pages for more details!

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In response to the constraints imposed by the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus, Georgetown has moved all spring and summer 2020 classes to a virtual learning environment. The Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS)—along with partners from across the University—is here to help. On this site you will find information about office hours, web resources, webinars and other forms of assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact us at cndls@georgetown.edu if you need help.

Rapid Transition to Remote Learning

Remote teaching can be daunting for those accustomed to teaching face-to-face courses. To help your transition, we’re asking you keep three principles in mind:

  • Keep it simple – now may not be the time to launch that new virtual reality simulation or attempt complex projects. Everyone’s definition of keeping it simple will be different, but we’re encouraging you to choose activities and approaches that you can manage.
  • Don’t try to be perfect – this is a significant challenge for everyone. Things will not go as planned. The technology may falter. Students may have access challenges. Things will happen. Do your best.
  • Be honest, open, and compassionate – communicate with your students about the challenges. Let them know what you’re trying to do and ask for help, from them, from us, from your colleagues.

Getting Started

In remote teaching, we’re asking you to focus on three things:

  • Deliver Content – have a plan to deliver your (updated) syllabus, course lectures, and course materials to your students. We recommend using Canvas, but you should use what you feel most comfortable with.
  • Engage with your students – In addition to delivering content, you need to interact with your students. You should plan to do this synchronously and asynchronously. Zoom is a great tool for synchronous engagement. The Canvas discussion board is a terrific option for asynchronous conversations.
  • Assess your students – How are your students doing? You should not only plan on formal, summative assessments, but given this challenging situation, it’s incredibly helpful to check in with your students (even after every class) to see how they are doing.

This website has resources and approaches to doing all of these things, and CNDLS is here to help. We also have a page on this website devoted to teaching activities that may be more challenging to bring online, like labs, experiential learning, and studio art.


There are any number of tools you can use to make remote teaching possible. With the principle of “keep it simple” in mind, we recommend you focus on tools with which you and your students are most likely to be familiar. Note that you’ll need a reliable internet connection for this new teaching format; if you run into problems, see this UIS page on internet connectivity issues.

What to do Solutions
Deliver content Canvas
Engage with your students Zoom
Assess your students' learning Canvas

Additional tools are listed under the Tools menu and are available on the Georgetown Tools and Services page.

For your reference, here is the policy recommended by the Main Campus Executive Faculty and approved by the Provost for maintaining instructional activities during disruptions. Please see updated Information for Faculty and Academic Staff regarding Instructional Continuity.

Office Hours

For support with tools and tips for teaching online, CNDLS provides virtual office hours, Monday-Friday. Click here to enter virtual office hours between the hours of 9 and 5 pm. After hours, you can reach us at cndls@georgetown.edu.


CNDLS is hosting a series of webinars to help address key questions when teaching at a distance. Please find a list of the webinars below and for more training opportunities, please visit the training page. Recorded sessions are available here.