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. Over the past few days, 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.

Inclusive Pedagogy Resources

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

  • 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

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