Teaching in a Time of Uncertainty

The CFDE is deeply committed to helping our faculty and graduate instructors with their virtual teaching and learning goals through these precarious times. We have researched, identified, and gathered resources on topics that will best serve our community.

Below is a guide on “Teaching in a Time of Uncertainty” to help educators navigate through some issues they may encounter during this semester (for example, incorporating trauma-informed strategies and inclusivity into your online courses, dealing with your students’ emotional reactions, and minimizing the risk of "Zoombombing") through an inclusive and equitable lens. This document includes summary discussions and several links to online resources, articles, and books on trauma-informed teaching strategies, inclusive pedagogy, and technological advice for preventing unwanted guests in your online courses.

Time-sensitive webinars will be posted first when available, followed by recorded webinars. Over time, as resources become more available to the general public, we intend to make additional updates to this guide.

Recorded Webinars

The Chronicle for Higher Education, “Inclusive Teaching in the Online Classroom,” May 1, 2020, 

This webinar reviews and offers advice for inclusive teaching in remote teaching.

AACU, "Shaping Teaching and Learning to Address a Global Health Crisis: COVID-19 and Global Health," May 1, 2020.

This webinar addresses public health challenges through community-based learning experiences under the constraints of COVID-19 and shares advice and strategies for public health courses.

AACU,Designing High-Impact Practices for Equity and Impact in New Contexts,” April 17, 2020. 

This webinar shares strategies for supporting student success and advancing equity in new environments.

The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Fixing Higher Ed’s Inequities in a Time of Crisis", April 17, 2020.

The spread of Covid-19 has laid bare American society’s racial and class disparities in health care, employment, and social services. In higher education, these inequalities have also come into sharp relief. The shift to remote education is harder for those without access to quality technology; financial issues at institutions are more likely to affect contingent faculty and campus staff workers; and low-income students face bigger obstacles to continuing their education than their well-off peers. Given these issues, what can faculty do to help address them? Join two leading academic experts to answer that crucial question.

Center for Higher Education Leadership, “Higher Ed Resources in a Time of Coronavirus Webinar,” March 13, 2020.

This CHEL webinar addresses the coronavirus, how the pandemic affects higher ed campuses, and ideas for higher ed leaders moving forward.

AACU, “Safeguarding Quality, Equity, and Inclusion as Learning Moves Online,” March 27, 2020, Virtual Presentation.

This PowerPoint offers practical advice and effective pedagogical strategies for creating and sustaining high-quality, equitable, and inclusive learning environments online. Faculty can download the presentation by clicking on the link below the “About the Event” column on the right hand of the page. A recording of the webinar will be uploaded in the future.

AACU, “Teaching, Learning, and Assessing in Remote Learning Environments,” April 3, 2020.

This AACU presentation provides an overview of teaching, assignments, learning, and assessment processes with an eye toward maintaining quality and equity in online environments. The recorded webinar and a copy of the PowerPoint presentation are available on under the “Program Information” column on the right hand column of the page.

Johanna Creswell Báez, PhD, LCSW and Matthea Marquart, MSW, “Trauma-informed Teaching & Learning (TITL) Online Webinar,” Columbia University School of Social Work

This webinar focuses on the principles of TITL and practical ways to apply them online as well as provides self-care strategies for instructors and students.

Mays Imad, "Trauma-Informed Teaching & Learning," recorded webinar, March 27, 2020. 

Description from host: As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country, many institutions of higher education have suspended classes, converted to virtual formats, and/or closed on-campus food and housing facilities. These changes not only disrupt students’ educational pathways, but also their daily lives, impacting their emotional and mental well-being. This webinar examines the impact of traumatic experiences on students’ learning, and discuss strategies that can be used to mitigate this impact and improve educational outcomes.

Teaching About Racism

Akamine Phillips, Jennifer; Risdon, Nate; Lamsma, Matthew; Hambrick, Angelica; and Jun, Alexander (2019) "Barriers and Strategies by White Faculty Who Incorporate Anti-Racist Pedagogy," Race and Pedagogy Journal: Teaching and Learning for Justice: Vol. 3 : No. 2

This article is about the personal and professional barriers White faculty faced when engaging in anti-racist educational practices in their college classrooms.

Ash, A. N.; Hill, R.; Risdon, S. and Jun, A. (2020) "Anti-Racism in Higher Education: A Model for Change," Race and Pedagogy Journal: Teaching and Learning for Justice: Vol. 4 : No. 3

In this article authors propose a model for change “within higher education that distributes leadership and institutional power across racial lines and enlightens the White community about systemic inequities.”

Blackwell, D.M. (2010) "Sidelines and Separate Spaces: Making Education Anti-Racist for Students of Color." Race, Ethnicity and Education, 13 (4) pp. 473–494.

In this article author discusses her experiences as a black woman graduate student “as a way of ‘talking back’ to the disjunctures between pedagogical intentions and the disappointing realities of anti‐racist classrooms.”

Blakeney, A. M. (2005) "Antiracist Pedagogy: Definition, Theory, and Professional Development." Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, 2 (1) pp. 119–132

This article explores antiracist pedagogy within the sociological framework of critical theory.

Cole, C.E. (2017) "Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy in Higher Education: Teaching so That Black Lives Matter." Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 36 (8) pp. 736–750.

This paper demonstrates how the principles of Black Lives Matter can be used to “enact a culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP) in higher education settings, particularly in small colleges that serve significant populations of students who are underrepresented in higher education.”

Giroux, Henry A. (2003). "Spectacles of Race and Pedagogies of Denial: Anti-Black Racist Pedagogy under the Reign of Neoliberalism." Communication Education, 52, (191-4), p.191-211

In this article the author examines the changing nature of the new racism by analyzing how some of its central assumptions evade notions of race, racial justice, equity, and democracy altogether.

Haynes, C. (2017). "Dismantling the White supremacy embedded in our classrooms: White faculty in pursuit of more equitable educational outcomes." International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 29 (1), 87-107

In this article the author develops conceptual framework of racial consciousness andits influence on the behaviors of White faculty in the classroom.

Haynes, C., & Patton, L. D. (2019). "From Racial Resistance to Racial Consciousness: Engaging White STEM Faculty in Pedagogical Transformation." Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, 22(2), 85–98. 

The authors discuss the importance of awareness of racial justice in teaching and course content in the classrooms of White STEM faculty.

Jenkins, C. (2016). "Addressing white privilege in higher education." Academic Exchange Quarterly, 20(4), 121-126. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/158792.

This literature review surveys the relationship between white privilege and higher education, defines white privilege, identifies its impact on higher education, recognizes ways white educators perpetuate it, and theorizes how educators may resist it.

Jenkins, C. M. (2018). "Educators, question your level of cultural responsiveness." Journal on Empowering Teaching Excellence, 2(2), 15-23. 

This article analyzes the importance of imbalance culturally responsive teaching within the classroom.

Jenkins, C., & Alfred, M. (2018). "Understanding the motivation and transformation of White culturally responsive professors." Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 24(1), 81-99.

This article analyzes the role of culturally responvise pedagogy.

Kandaswamy, P. (2007). Beyond colorblindness and multiculturalism: Rethinking anti-racist pedagogy in the university classroom. Radical Teacher, 80, 6.

This essay is about the reflections of experience in designing and teaching a course on race, gender and the politics.

Inclusive Pedagogy Resources

Colleen Flaherty, “Making Sense of the Senseless” June 3, 2020 , Inside Higher Ed. 

This article discusses the role of academics in interpreting the national protests against police violence and racism.

Edward J. Maloney
 and Joshua Kim, “Learning and COVID-19,” May 28, 2020, Inside Higher Ed. 

This article discusses how COVID-19 has changed the activities and approaches of colleges and universities toward learning.

John MacPhee, Promoting Student Mental Health in Difficult Days” May 29, 2020, Inside Higher Ed.

The author argues that four key elements are crucial for colleges in providing student mental health. They are following: support the development of life skills, promote social connectedness, dentify students at risk, and Increase help-seeking behaviors.

Amielle Major, How to Develop Culturally Responsive Teaching for Distance Learning,” May 20, 2020.

Madeline St. Amour, “How Neurodivergent Students Are Getting Through the Pandemic,” Inside Higher Ed, May 13, 2020.

This article shares the experiences that both faculty and neurodivergent students faced during the transition to remote learning. It also offers advice on how colleges and universities can support neurodivergent students through this pandemic.

Raechele L. Pope, “COVID-19 Is Making Us Rethink Everything,” Inside Higher Ed, May 11, 2020, 

Pope offers eight recommendations for creating and maintaining affirming and student-centered advising for Ph.D. students.

Joshua Kim, “5 Reasons to Stop Doing Timed Online Exams During COVID-19,” Inside Higher Ed, April 8, 2020.

Kim addresses the equities from remote timed exams and advocated educators to use other forms of assessment.

Rice University’s Center for Teaching Excellence, “Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely,” March 13, 2020.

This resource provides tips on addressing unequal access to technology, hardware, and software and integrating asynchronous and synchronous tools into your remote classrooms.

San Diego State University, “Maintaining Equity and Inclusion in Virtual Learning Environments,” Spring 2020.

This resource highlights best practices for upholding equity and inclusion in remote classroom environments.

University of California Council of Chief Diversity Officers, “Equity and Inclusion During COVID-19, March 18, 2020.

Helpful guidelines to ensure equity and inclusion continue in remote teaching course.

Aimi Hamraie, “Accessible Teaching in the time of COVID-19, Mapping Access, March 10, 2020.

Hamraie offers advice on how to build accessible virtual courses and assignments. The author covers lecture and discussion-based lesson plans as well as assignments.

Coshandra Dillard, “Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus, Teaching Tolerance, February 14, 2020. 

Dillard provides historical context on racism and public discourse as well as a method for interrupting racism in the classroom.

Kelly A. Hogan and Viji Sathy, “8 Ways to Be More Inclusive in Your Zoom Teaching,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 8, 2020.

This article provides tips for incorporating inclusive pedagogy into your virtual classrooms.

 Annie Tulkin, “COVID-19 and College Accommodations,” Accessible College, March 18, 2020.

Annie Tulkin discusses the possible effects Covid-19 may have on future accommodations and  provides annotated resources on health conditions/disabilities and course accommodations for educators.

University of Arkansas’s Explore Access, “Designing an Accessible Online Course,” March 2020, continuously updated.

The University of Arkansas’s Explore Access developed a toolkit to assist campuses across the country who are moving online virtually in response to COVID-19. The site provides extensive resources to make your online courses accessible for all students.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, “Beyond the Food Pantry: Supporting #RealCollege Students During COVID19,” The Hope Center, March 16, 2020.

An extensive resource for educators to help students through the pandemic. It also has tips on increasing accessibility and inclusive practices for online courses.

Greta Anderson, “Accessibility Suffers during Pandemic,” Inside Higher Ed, April 6, 2020.

This article highlights the accessibility issues encountered from the rapid transition to online learning environments. For strategies to incorporate universal design, please see Mark Liberman’s “Technology Can Address Digital Accessibility -- to an Extent,” and The UDL guidelines.

Jason O. Chang, “Treating Yellow Peril: Resources to Address Coronavirus Racism,” Crowdsourced Document.

Chang offers various resources on teaching about coronavirus-related racism.

Nancy Doyle, "The World Needs Neurodiversity: Unusual Times Call for Unusual Thinking,” Forbes, March 24, 2020.

This article brings awareness of the value of neurodiversity during the pandemic.

Kelly Fields, “10 Tips to Support Students in a Stressful Shift to Online Learning” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 30, 2020.

Fields provides ten tips based on inclusivity and accessibility to support students through the transition to remote learning.

Jason Lang, “What I Am Learning About My Students During an Impossible Semester,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 1, 2020.

Lang covers the use of values-affirmation in classroom activities.

Elizabeth Redden, "Scholars v. COVID-19 Racism," Inside Higher Ed, April 2, 2020,

This article covers how scholars with expertise in Asian American studies, public health and other academic disciplines have confronted coronavirus-related racism through teaching, research, and community outreach.

Julia Schmalz, “‘Do No Harm’: The Coronavirus Crisis Calls for Compassion, Say Faculty Members Sharing Advice,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 27, 2020.

A short video showcasing the best piece of advice or perspective faculty have received about online teaching during this time.

Harriet L. Schwartz, “Authentic Teaching and Connected Learning in the Age of COVID-19,” The Scholarly Teacher, April 5, 2020.

Schwartz provides an overview of how to integrate compassion and gratitude into your virtual classroom.


Understanding Trauma in General

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Trauma and Justice Strategic Initiative, SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach, July 2014

This resource provides readers with a working concept of trauma and details for developing a trauma-informed approach. See pages 10 through 16 for an extensive framework.


Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, (New York: Penguin Book, 2014). Note: Currently, our library does not have an electronic copy available. Please see below electronic access options.

In The Body Keeps the Score, van der Kolk explores traumatic stress using extensive data gathered over the course of 30 years. He reveals how trauma rearranges the brain's wiring-specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. The book also offers techniques for mitigating the effects from trauma.

Atlanta-Fulton County Library Account Holders (free to all Emory faculty, staff and students)

Sample for non-Fulton County Library Account Holders

Maria Popova, “The Science of How Our Minds and Our Bodies Converge in the Healing of Trauma”  

For individuals interested in purchasing an electronic or physical version of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, Popova provides an extensive book review and includes excerpts that help contextualize the theoretical underpinnings in understanding trauma.


Resources for Trauma-Informed Teaching Strategies

F Tuitt, C Haynes, S Stewart, “Transforming the classroom at traditionally White institutions to make Black lives matter." To Improve the Academy 37 (1), 63-76.

Tuitt, F. (2003b). "Afterword: Realizing a more inclusive pedagogy." In A. Howell , & F. Tuitt (Eds.), Race and higher education: Rethinking pedagogy in diverse college classrooms (pp. 243–268). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Review.

Doug Ledermen, “How College Students Viewed This Spring's Remote Learning,” Inside Higher Ed, May 20, 2020,

In-depth survey before and after courses offers useful information about the importance a thoughtful mix of flexibility and structure.

Esteve Corbera, Isabelle Anguelovski, Jordi Honey-Rosés & Isabel Ruiz-Mallén (2020) “Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care,” Planning Theory & Practice, published online, May 18 2020

This article discusses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in academia’s future and argues that academia must help in the areas of creating a culture of care, help members refocusing on essential responsibilities, and redefining excellence in teaching and research.

Janice Carello, “Trauma-Informed Teaching and Learning Blog.”

Carello’s blog offers extensive resources on trauma-informed methods.

Imad Mays, “Hope Matters,” Inside Higher Ed, March 17, 2020.

Mays offers trauma-informed teaching strategies to support students in remote classrooms.

Tea for Teaching Podcast, “Trauma-Informed Teaching with Karen Costa,” April 22, 2020.

In this podcast, Karen Costa discusses how trauma-informed pedagogy can be used to help students during times of crisis. 

Janice Carello and Lisa Butler, “Practicing What We Teach: Trauma-Informed Educational Practice,” Journal of Teaching in Social Work,  35:3, (2015), pp. 2626-278, and “Potentially Perilous Pedagogies: Teaching Trauma Is Not the Same as Trauma-Informed Teaching,” Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, Vol. 15:2 (2014), pp. 153-168, 

In the first article, Carello and Butler provides a guide for implementing the trauma-informed practices to classroom settings. The second article clarifies the differences between teaching trauma and using trauma-informed pedagogy.

Karen Costa, “Trauma-Aware Online Teaching,” Online Presentation, April 28, 2020, and “Trauma-Aware Online Teaching Collaborative Doc,” Open Source Resource Document, April 28, 2020.

The first link is a presentation on trauma and trauma-aware teaching methods that provides educators with the tools needed to implement these strategies in your online classrooms. The second link is a crowdsourced text where people can pose questions and offer advice and resources pertinent to the presentation.

Angela Lehr, “What Trauma Looks Like in College-Aged Students and Adult Learners,” SHARE Blog, April 2020. 

Lehr offers a comprehensive overview on helpful trauma-informed strategies for higher education settings.

Valerie Strauss, “A trauma-informed approach to teaching through coronavirus — for students everywhere, online or not,” Washington Post, March 26, 2020, 

This article provides expert advice on how to use trauma-informed curriculum while teaching students.

Brittney Collins, “Yes, You Can Do Trauma-Informed Teaching Remotely (and You Really, Really Should),” Education Week, April 3, 2020.

An opinion piece offering advice on how to integrate trauma-informed teaching strategies into your online courses.

Alexander C. Kafka, Kelly Fields, Karen J. Head, David Gooblar, Kevin Gannon, James M. Lang, and Becky Supiano,  “Coping with Coronavirus: How faculty members can support students in traumatic times,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2020 special edition issue.

This free special collection addresses teaching and learning hurdles, assisting students in distress, and resources.

Brandon Bayne (UNC Chapel Hill), “Adjusted Syllabus.”

 Bayne provides a syllabus addendum to support students during the pandemic. 

Katherine Schulten, “Coronavirus Resources: Teaching, Learning and Thinking Critically,” New York Times, published March 11, 2020, updated March 25, 2020, 

This page provides live updates on student-centered resources in relation to Covid-19.

Jen Smith, “Trauma Informed Care in the Classrooms of Higher Education: A Resource Guide for Educators in Higher Learning,” Trauma Informed Oregon

Smith provides a short .pdf reference guide that provides educators with strategies for developing a trauma-informed care in the classroom.

Teaching Tolerance, “A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching through Coronavirus,” March 23, 2020

The article addresses what do educators need to be aware during this time and what they need to understand about stress, trauma and their effects.

The School of Social Work at the University of Buffalo, “Trauma-Informed Teaching Resources Page”

This site provides several resources on rationales for infusing a trauma-informed framework into educational practice and classroom resources. Topics include: Trauma, stress, and self-care; classroom handouts, principle and practices charts; trauma-informed presentations; and references.

Karen Gross, “I’m Worried … Higher Education Isn’t Focused at all on COVID-19’s Psychological Toll,” New England Board of Higher Education, March 9, 2020.

Gross explores the psychological impact the threat from Covid-19 and its traumatic experiences in higher education. The article also offers several trauma-informed teaching strategies.

Jessica Minahan, “Trauma-Informed Teaching Strategies,” Educational Leadership, October 2019, Vol, 77, Number 2, pp. 30-35

Minahan posits that making small changes in classroom interactions can make a big difference for traumatized students. The author provides strategies for putting students' reactions into context, employing thoughtful interactions, building relationships under times of crises, promoting predictability and consistency, shifting perspectives, giving supportive feedback, recognizing areas of strength, and implementing inclusionary practices. The article also presents several questions and thinking exercises to assist educators with their goals. For quick reference, we have added them below.
  • "Students can't learn if they don't feel safe." What small changes are you willing to try in your classroom to foster a sense of safety among traumatized students?
  • Think about one of your students who struggles with [their emotions]. How could you help [them] "switch the channel" when [they are] upset?
  • Do you routinely share—and exchange ideas about—what's working with traumatized students? How could you better improve lines of communication across the whole support team?

Shed Siliman and Katherine Kearns, Brave Consultations: Creating Hopeful Spaces for Grads in Distress, Online PowerPoint Presentation, Winter 2020.

Siliman, a trauma-informed teaching expert and crisis counselor, and Kearns, an Assistant Vice Provost for Student Development at Indiana University-Bloomington, encourage instructors to reflect on their own emotions and reactions in this moment and take that into account as they move into a new kind of classroom. Now more than ever, the presentations stress, trauma-informed teaching offers students the space to express what they feel. Trauma-informed strategies give educators the tools to listen reflectively by giving their students options and agency in this time of need. 

Brené Brown, Daring Classrooms, and this video. 

The following is a summary from these sites. Brown’s Daring Classroom explores how scarcity affects the way we lead and teach. Brown posits the following question: What would it mean for our schools and classrooms if we showed up for tough, honest conversations about what it takes to bring our best, most authentic selves to work? The former link offers a handbook and additional resources while the latter link provides a short video. Both links provide educators strategies for engaging with vulnerability and learning how to recognize and combat shame. She argues that conversations may sound risky and vulnerable, but risk and vulnerability are essential to courageous educational spaces.

Shannon Davidson, Trauma-Informed Practices for Postsecondary Education: A Guide 

Though this resource was written before higher education institutions moved to online platforms, there are several strategies that can be adapted to Canvas—see section on “Trauma-informed practices for postsecondary education: Classroom-level strategies” on page 17. The author gently reminds educators that there are four principles for working with trauma-affected individuals. For brevity sake, we have included them in this passage. “First, normalize and validate students’ feelings and experiences. Second, assist them in understanding the past and its emotional impact. Third, empower them to better manage their current lives. Fourth, help them understand current challenges,” (see page 16). The author also includes de-escalation techniques.


Zoom Best Practices

Zita Fontaine, “Zoom’s Virtual Backgrounds Help Fight Inequality,” Medium, April 14, 2020.

Fontaine advocates that instructors allow their students to use virtual backgrounds for personal confidentiality.

University of North Carolina, “Zoom Tips for Students”, Google Document, April 2020, 

A guide made for UNC students, yet the content can be adapted for general use.

Jill Duffy, “How to Prevent Zoom-Bombing,” PC Magazine, April 2, 2020.

Additional tips for securing your Zoom meeting.

Ryan Gallagher, “Best Practices for Securing Your Virtual Classroom, Zoom Blog, March 27, 2020, updated March 31, 2020

Gallagher provides tips on locking your virtual classroom, controlling screen sharing, enabling waiting rooms, locking down chats, and exploring security options when scheduling a class.

Emory LITS Scholar Blogs.

LITS provides Emory faculty members with pertinent COVID-19 communication and resources and tips to avoid “Zoombombing” in their virtual classrooms.

CreativeMornings, “Hosting Troll-Free/Playful/Interactive Virtual Events with Zoom.” 

A comprehensive guide on how to run Zoom meetings.