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COVID-19 Resources

This resource page was created in response to the unprecedented University closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are two sections to this resource page: Teaching Online, and Social Distancing. We hope that these resource help graduate and professional students be strong and mindful through the Spring 2020 semester. If you have more resources to add, please email the Graduate Student Senate Vice President at:


Teaching Online

Quick Start to Online Teaching

This resource page from Teaching & Learning Innovation has a lot of tips for University of  Tennessee, Knoxville students. A couple of the links are highlighted in this section.

Online Instructor Toolkit

Source: UTK OIT Instructional Design & Support 


So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online

Source: Inside Higher Ed

Here are some quick planning items you can implement:

  • Create a course site in your university’s or school’s LMS
  • Load any assignments that will be due into the assignments section (or have support staff help you with this).
  • For online, students require very clear instructions and prompt feedback, so make sure you provide students clarity on what to submit, how and any associated handouts for an assignment.
  • Create a discussion/forum section dedicated to student questions for you that you will check periodically (may want to set a meeting reminder to allocate time and remind you to do so).
    • Create a class communication plan so students know where to go and what to expect; address questions like:
    • Where to send questions
    • How quickly will you respond to emails; how quickly will you respond to discussion posts
    • How to reach you with any urgent needs or questions
    • What sort of regular communications you will send out to the class (e.g. weekly reviews and/or updates)
    • Other plans you have for how you will be available to students and how you will send out regular information and updates


Ten Ways to Overcome Barriers to Student Engagement Online

Source: Academic Technology at the College of William & Mary

“Online learning presents new challenges when compared to a traditional classroom because students are separated from their instructor by a computer screen. How can we engage our students in the content, learning activities, and assessments? How can we prevent feelings of frustration or isolation and keep them motivated? These questions are frequently asked by online instructors looking to maintain the same levels of engagement they see and feel in their face-to-face classrooms.”

  • Overcome Social Barriers
    • Make first contact before the course beings.
    • Create an introductory activity.
    • Provide opportunities for learner interaction.
    • Encourage sharing.
  • Overcome Administrative Barriers 
    • Establish contact methods and hours.
    • Provide directions often and in various ways.
    • Provide effective and timely feedback.
  • Overcome Motivation Barriers 
    • Chunk your content.
    • Send reminders to keep students on track.
    • Use a variety of multimedia and modalities.


Please do a bad job of putting your courses online

“This advice is very different from that which I would share if you were designing an online course. I hope it’s helpful, and for those of you moving your courses online, I hope it helps you understand the labor that is required in building an online course a bit better.”
Read Rebecca Barrett-Fox’s full post here.


Social Distancing

Keeping Your Distance to Stay Safe

Source: American Psychological Association

Social distancing means keeping a safe distance (approximately 6 feet) from others and avoiding gathering spaces such as schools, churches, concert halls and public transportation.

“Spending days or weeks at home with limited resources, stimulation and social contact can take a toll on mental health. Though controlled studies on interventions to reduce the psychological risks of quarantine and isolation are lacking, psychologists have established best practices for handling these challenging circumstances.”

Recommendations from the American Psychological Association:

  1. Limit news consumption to reliable sources.
  2. Create and follow a daily routine.
  3. Stay virtually connected with others.
  4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise in your home when you are physically capable of doing so.
  5. Use psychological strategies to manage stay and stay positive.


How to Prevent Loneliness in a Time of Social Distancing

Source: Scientific American

Whether you are quarantined, working remotely or just being cautious, now is the perfect time to practice using technology in socially healthy ways. Here are a few suggestions for how to connect without contact.

Cultivate your community: The basis of connection is having something in common. Whatever your niche interest is, there is an online community of people who share your passion and can’t wait to nerd out with you about it. There are also digital support groups, such as for new parents or patients with a rare disease. Use these networks to engage around what matters most to you.

Deepen or broaden: Fundamentally, there are two ways to overcome loneliness: nurture your existing relationships or form new ones. Reflect on your current state of social health and then take one digital action to deepen it—such as getting in touch with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken with in a while—or to broaden it—such as reaching out to someone you’d like to get to know.

Use a tool: Increasingly, apps and social platforms are being designed to help us optimize our online interactions with loved ones, including IkariaCocoonMonaru and Squad. If you do well with structure, these resources may be a useful option for you. Or you can consider using conversation prompts, such as TableTopics or The And, to spark interesting dialogue during a video call.


Online Mediation & Exercise

  • Calm (Free trial)
  • Headspace (free & paid versions available – contact if you want a referral code for 14 days free.)
  • Downdog app (yoga) – free until April 1st
  • Couch to 5k


More Resources