Inclusive Teaching, Tips on Teaching

Keeping Track of Your Course When Sick

by Christopher Grabau, Instructional Developer, Reinert Center

The spread of the Omicron variant offers an important moment to consider how to prepare for when instructors get sick.  Preparing in advance can minimize disruption, relieve stress (for both instructor and student), and offer calm consistency.

Designing for Consistency

Consider designing your course using a simple, efficient, and centralized structure.  One example is the satellite model for course design.  Use Canvas to post course materials and to communicate with students.  Also, plan to deliver course materials on a regular (and manageable) schedule.

Centralize Communication using Canvas Announcements

Consider delivering all course correspondence with consistency.  Use a centralized place to deliver information about your course.  For example, Canvas Announcements are a great way to keep students up to date.  At the start of the semester, consider walking through in-class how Announcements may be used throughout the semester.   

Acknowledge the hard times

Ecological systems theory identifies how the changes and continuities over time impact and influence growth and development.  No doubt our current setting has created an enormous shift in how students relate to learning.  Reflect on some of the conditions that may inhibit student learning right now.  Some students may be recovering from illness, caring for someone ill, or maybe dealing with real-world consequences associated with the pandemic.  Communicating awareness of these challenges and how you intend to adjust can be a great expression of empathy and care that benefits all students.  


Gambill, S., (2020, July 20). A Model for Pandemic Era Course Design [Web blog post]. Retrieved from 

Canvas Community Instructor’s Guide:

Neal, J. W., & Neal, Z. P. (2013). Nested or networked? Future directions for ecological systems theory. Social development, 22(4), 722-737