Covid-19 Teaching Resources

Technology and Teaching Tips

As NYUAD is implementing the Remote Plus model, where nearly all courses are offered online during the full Fall 2020 semester, the Remote Instruction Support website has been developed to direct to relevant teaching and learning resources from across the global network.

An important step towards successful online teaching is to familiarize yourself with the available online tools and their features. NYU’s Global Network uses the learning management system, NYU Brightspace.

NYU Remote Instruction website also covers video tutorials. Most relevant is tutorials on how to effectively use NYU Zoom. For those recording lectures for asynchronous use, NYU Stream is the available software. For testing and quizzing NYU Qualtrics is recommended. Other useful tabs on the website include Remote Assessment Methods and Practices and Secure Your Zoom Meeting.

Compassion and Pedagogy Combined

The anxieties and dislocations brought on by COVID-19 induced changes to how we work and live can negatively impact learning. The added stress can impact students' abilities to self-regulate learning behaviors and focus on their work. It is important to devise strategies for your course design and online engagement to support learning during trauma.

Students have been quarantining in varied environments, and they and their families have been impacted in a wide variety of ways. These challenges are on top of other global challenges and the pressures of collegiate life. Pedagogical compassion is focused on flexibility without sacrificing rigor. Allowing students to use their voices to make choices about their learning is the first step.

The following websites cover trauma-informed teaching and pedagogy in great detail: Yale-NUS College CTL and Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

Faculty members who are regularly interacting with students are in a unique position to notice any signs of distress a student might be experiencing. Students can be referred to the list of resources available to them based on their location in or outside of the UAE. If you have a question about how to handle a mental health situation or have concerns about a particular student, you can contact the NYUAD Health Center at or call (+971) 2 628 8100.

Digital Inclusion and Belonging

Not different from in-person classroom, online instruction requires intentional design and employment of inclusive strategies to support diverse learner needs and abilities. Under this unusual environment in which students and faculty find themselves, it is more important than ever to make sure no learner is left behind. NYU's Inclusive Remote Classroom Practices outline key strategies to create an inclusive and equitable remote learning environment for all students. You can also visit the Diversity and Inclusion section on the Hilary Ballon Center website to learn about terms and definitions related to diversity and inclusion and how these fit within the NYU Global Network.


An area of inclusive pedagogy that requires attention is digital accessibility. NYU offers a number of resources regarding this topic, including Accessibility Best Practices, Digital Accessibility Checklist, and How-to Guides.


The Moses Center for Student Accessibility (CSA) works with students to determine and implement appropriate and reasonable accommodations as well as access available programs and resources to support equal access to a world-class education. You can contact Aisha Al Naqbi, NYUAD liaison for Moses Center and Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Campus Life Initiatives at


Students may experience a range of issues that can interfere with their ability to perform academically or impact their daily functioning, such as: heightened stress; anxiety; difficulty concentrating; sleep disturbance; strained relationships; grief and loss; personal struggles. If you have concerns about student well-being or mental health you have the option of referring them to the list of resources available (login required) to them based on their location in or outside of the UAE.

Students requiring mental health support outside of these hours can call NYU's Wellness Exchange hotline at 02-628-5555, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can also utilize the Wellness Exchange mobile chat feature, details of which they can find on the student portal.

Student Support for Learning Online

Online learning is new to students as much as online teaching is to faculty members. Navigating this unfamiliar environment can be difficult and challenging. There are a number of resources to help students feel more comfortable and confident. NYU Student Success collected tips on Successfully Navigating Remote Learning and Successful Study Habits for Remote Learning (PDF). NYUAD's Center for Academic Technology website has a dedicated section on student instructions for Brightspace.

How to Create Collaborative Classroom Online

The following will guide you through the principles for successful group activities that foster collaboration in online learning. Looking at the list of examples, you might find that you already use many of these activities in your teaching efforts. We recommend choosing one activity that may be new to you and try implementing it as an actionable step forward.

Why do we want to foster collaboration among students?

The literature on the positive effects of collaborative learning on academic success is robust with decades of research (Scager et al., 2016). The review article by Laal and Ghodsi (2012) outlines four overarching categories of benefits fostered by collaborative learning:

  • Social - strengthened support system for learners, improved understanding of diverse viewpoints;
  • Psychological - reduced anxiety and increased self-esteem;
  • Academic - enhanced critical thinking and problem-solving skills, improved academic results, active engagement of students in their learning process;
  • Alternate Assessment - wide variety of assessment techniques.

What are some barriers to collaborative classrooms?

In her article on Involving Students in Online Collaborative Learning, Emtinan Alqurashi articulates the most common challenges instructors face:

  • Lack of student know-how on how to work collaboratively online
  • Lack of student understanding on how to construct knowledge together in an online environment
  • Lack of guidelines on how to grade and assess individuals in an online collaborative work

How to implement a successful collaborative group activity?

* Adapted from 5 Strategies to Deepen Student Collaboration by Mary Burns

Examples of Collaborative Learning or Group Work Activities

  • Synchronous discussions in smaller Zoom breakout rooms
  • Online field trips
  • Group presentations
  • Asynchronous discussions that allow students to respond to a prompt and each other
  • Case problems solved in groups
  • Homework forums
  • Online blogs that allow students to see each other’s reflections
  • Peer-editing of an assignment

You can find more examples on Cornell University Center for Teaching Innovation website.


5 Strategies to Deepen Student Collaboration by Mary Burns

Online Collaborative Learning in Higher Education: A Review of the Literature by Amy Trietiak

Involving Students in Online Collaborative Learning by Emtinan Alqurashi

Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R., & Holubec, E. (2008). Cooperation in the Classroom

Morgan, K., Williams, K. C., Cameron, B. A., & Wade, C. E. (2014). Faculty Perceptions of Online Group Work. Quarterly Review Of Distance Education, 15(4), 37-42.

Scager, K., Boonstra, J., Peeters, T., Vulperhorst, J., & Wiegant, F. (2016). Collaborative Learning in Higher Education: Evoking Positive Interdependence.

Laal, M., & Ghodsi, S. M. (2012). Benefits of collaborative learning. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31, 486–490.