Teaching Continuity at Caltech  /  Advice & Guidance  /  Communicating Expectations

Communicating Expectations Online

As announced on March 18, 2022, the Institute will return fully to in-person instruction by Monday, April 4, 2022. Resources for remote and online teaching are provided on this site if Caltech must shift to remote instruction in the future.

Outside of special emergency permissions granted during the pandemic, Caltech's accreditation is limited to in-person instruction.

Frequent and clear communication is essential in making sure that your course runs smoothly.

Communication Among the Instructional Team:

Develop a communication plan for your instructional team (co-instructors, head TA, TAs, support staff). Decide when and how often you will meet, who will be in charge of organizing and facilitating those meetings and what pre-work should be done before meetings.

Communicating with Students:

With your instructional team, decide on a communication plan for communicating with students. Decide on the following:

  • Who will be primarily responsible for responding to student inquiries?
  • How should students share questions with you / TAs?
  • Will you use a discussion forum or rely on email?
  • How often will you / your TAs send communications to all students?

Plan. Structure. Organize.

Using the course syllabus template (available as a Word document or in the Canvas syllabus template), plan your quarter and share with students.

Share Your Teaching Plan and Expectations with Students:

Students want to know how to engage in your course, how to ask questions (and when and where) and what your expectations are of them. Include as much information as you can in the course syllabus and explain this on the first day of instruction.

General Communication Strategies on Canvas / Email:

Post announcements on Canvas using the ‘Announcements' tool and additionally send each announcement to students as an email. Instruct students to ensure their Canvas notifications are ‘on' such that they can receive announcements posted on Canvas as emails.