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Back to School Guide

A collection of resources and promising practices to prepare for the start of the quarter.

This article features resources to help you prepare for the start of the quarter. These resources have been gathered from GSE IT Teaching Resources, a site that highlights what instructors are doing in their online and hybrid courses through events, interviews, workshops, and panels.

About GSE Teaching Resources

GSE's Teaching Resources works with the Teaching Commons website to offer resources for instructors that are simple, flexible, and research-based on the topics of learning, education, and pedagogy. GSE IT supports and complements these goals by capturing promising practices that can then be shared and distributed throughout the Stanford community.

GSE Teaching Resources also features:

  • FAQs, guides, and walkthroughs on new tools or programs currently being used
  • research and strategies on how to shift to remote learning or adapt for post-pandemic conditions.

Teaching Resources incorporates student voices, podcast recordings, and articles that cover the overall impacts of COVID-19 on teaching and learning.

How can I set up my course for success?

Create structured classrooms with set expectations and norms at the beginning of the quarter and incorporate multiple modalities to support synchronous and asynchronous learning and promote student engagement throughout the quarter.

Course structures

Here are some useful resources, including templates, strategies for course planning, and information on building your Canvas course during the transition from remote to in-person learning. 


Students learn best when they are engaged, enabling deeper processing and better retention. The following resources offer suggestions for learning activities that actively engage students with course material and a wide range of technology.

How can my course feel more interactive?

These resources offer examples of how to create more interactive classrooms and spaces that will keep students interested, motivated, and focused.


These chat tools are useful for student-to-student conversations or to connect with others inside and outside of the classroom.

Live polling

These tools can be used to collect in-class feedback, for facilitating icebreakers, or to frame student activities.

Collaborative authoring

These tools and activities can support both synchronous and asynchronous learning.


Use different modalities and video media, like Zoom and Panopto, to increase student engagement.

How can I create intentional connections? 

These resources showcase ways instructors can support intentional connections in the classroom, such as providing opportunities for students to connect with their cohort and creating safe spaces within the class for students to voice opinions and share ideas. 

Discussion techniques

Instructors can build community by incorporating varied learning activities and discussion techniques.


Create podcasting and audio recording resources to share with students or your teaching team. By enabling students to create their own media, the instructor can help students share their experiences with the class.

Gather student feedback

Use wellness check-ins and exit tickets to gauge how students are doing in class and collect feedback on individual sessions or on the course overall. 

Foster student connections

Ways to foster student interaction and create a safe space for students to give feedback and get to know each other. 

For the full downloadable version of this page, please check out the Back to School Guide.