SMU Instruction & Technology Readiness: Preparing for Fall 2020

Ramping Up Support for Fall 2020: Resources for Fall Instructional & Technology Preparations

Due to the continued rapid pace of communications and many daily changes, your faculty teaching and technology support partners will begin to communicate with you more regularly regarding instructional and technology support and planning resources necessary to ensure academic continuity for the fall term. Starting this July, the Office of Information Technology (OIT), in direct collaboration with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) and SMU Libraries, will be expanding the frequency of joint communications and resources explicitly geared toward SMU’s fall academic continuity. Our goal is to provide more regular information and clarity as you navigate the changing requirements and challenges of upcoming course preparations.

Fall 2020: I’m teaching fully online: What do I need to know?

Many Fall 2020 courses will be delivered fully online for a variety of important reasons—we know that many of you are anxiously awaiting more information about the start of SMU’s new online training courses, which launch next week! We have been busy putting the finishing touches on a completely new Online Teaching Training Course, which is on track to launch on July 1, 2020. Many of you have contacted us already to find out more about the course—thank you! Please stay tuned, as CTE will be emailing information about enrolling and getting started on a terrific new training opportunity for those teaching entirely online next term. The new training will include both an online teaching certification course and a short Canvas technology training element. Additional details about these training requirements will be forthcoming as the Provost’s Office finalizes determinations about fully online teaching approvals for fall.

Fall 2020: I’m teaching SMU HyFlex: What do I need to know?

Most Fall 2020 courses will be offered in an SMU HyFlex teaching mode where instruction will be delivered simultaneously to both fully remote and in-person students using new remote classroom technology. These HyFlex courses require a careful balance of in-person instruction while ensuring an equivalent experience for online students. Beginning in early July, specific new HyFlex orientations, faculty guides, and structured training and resources will start to be released to help you prepare for the new remote classroom technologies, as well as how to prepare for this unique teaching modality pedagogically.


We understand that your upcoming instructional support will vary based on your mode— HyFlex or fully online— of your course’s delivery. The SMU Libraries, the Office of Information Technology, and the Center for Teaching Excellence are working together to develop information, training, guides, and other resources. We are looking to start releasing the fruits of this collaboration in July. No matter the mode, all courses will need to plan and prepare for remote/online students, and many of these same courses will also require planning and preparation for in-person students. Support for each type of class will be available and will cover:

  • Strategies for delivering in-person and live remote HyFlex instruction in newly remote-equipped rooms
  • Training on the use of new remote classroom technologies and devices for instruction
  • Creation and delivery of various options for remote/online assessments to both in-person and remote students
  • Use of Zoom for interacting with live students and conducting virtual office hours
  • Designing for student engagement across modalities
  • Effectively designing/leveraging a minimum Canvas course template
    • Publish online syllabus (including information about technology tools, student services, netiquette, academic integrity, and expectations for grading/response times)
    • Communicate with students using Canvas Announcements
    • Check-in each weekday with all students in your course
    • Logically organize course content into Modules
    • Use the Gradebook so students can keep track of their progress
    • Easily integrate with SMU library resources
    • Assign a variety of online assessments
    • Take attendance using Canvas Roll Call tool

Each teaching mode presents challenges and opportunities. We will continue to provide you with the necessary tools and support to keep teaching and serving students both in-person/remote and fully online.

Important Resources:

SMU is still in the process of reorganizing and adding content to the SMU Keep Teaching site as a one-stop-shop for resources and course tools. In early July, we will be adding new materials to this site specifically geared to inform and to assist you in navigating teaching your in-person and remote students at the same time. You will find updated information about new remote classroom technologies and strategies that will help you plan activities that engage both in-person and remote learners.

SMU Libraries:

Up-to-date information about collections and library services is available at All libraries will be open July 6, 2020, with SMU ID card access except Bridwell Library which is currently under construction.

Where Can I Get More Training?

We will continue to post information on the Keep Teaching Training Events site with the most up-to-date HyFlex and fully online training sessions, Q&A, and other structured faculty-centric learning opportunities. The CTE, OIT, and SMU Libraries are committed to the continuing faculty training and consultation sessions for faculty during the time ahead—and will be ramping up training sessions in early July.

College/Program Specific Assistance:

In addition to the main IT Help Desk, remember these contacts for specific school or departmental guidance:

If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Advanced teaching assistance and instructional design consultation are also available from the Center for Teaching Excellence by contacting: For assistance with any Library needs, please access

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Published by

Jason Warner

Associate CIO, Academic Technology Services