Day 20: The First-Time Online Programming Teacher Playbook.

By Yanina Bellini Saibene in Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30

May 25, 2024

Alarm button that said Emergency and a red phone

Foto de Mitchell Luo en Unsplash

Read this if you want to learn what can go wrong during online classes and how you can solve it. (All scenarios and solutions are based on real events lived by me 🤭 )

The problems

Most of the time, they are related to the infrastructure available. For example:

  1. Power outage.

  2. The Internet is down or unstable.

The solutions

Power outages can be scheduled, for which one can:

  • reschedule the event,

  • move to a location that is not affected by the outage (office, libraries, family/friends home) or

  • teach with another person who can take over during the outage.

But other times, it’s unexpected. I’ve had it happen several times during summer storms, including a giant branch from a tree on my sidewalk that snapped off in the wind from the storm and fell on my fence. 😱 

  • cell phone & notebook with full battery.

  • Enable mobile wi-fi or Bluetooth and connect the notebook to the mobile network.

  • use the cellphone data package to connect to the Internet.

Connectivity issues can cause us to miss part of what is happening during class or not fully participate. This happens often in rural areas like the one I live in.

From a teacher’s point of view, the main problem is the teacher leaving the class unexpectedly, so the students don’t know what happened and what to do.

  • Have a fully charged cell phone, computers, and a data package to connect and teach the class.

  • Don’t teach alone. Avoid co-teachers being in the same physical location (ask me how I know?).

  • Clear rules on what to do if the outage occurs (both for teachers and students). For example, warn that we will always return to the same link if we disconnect.

  • Alternative communication channels: mail, Slack, Discord, Telegram, virtual campus forum, and any other platform on which you can let them know what happened, whether you will return to class, etc. You can communicate with your co-teacher and/or your students.

  • Share a recording of a previous class on that topic if you can’t return to the meeting or deliver the class at another time. 

  • From the beginning, let people know if the class is being recorded and how you will share it. Your students will know they will have a chance to watch the lesson. Remember to always ask for permission to record the lesson.

  • Ask your students or co-teacher to let you know if they can’t hear or see you well. Cameras can be turned off to consume less bandwidth.

  • Provide a summary of the class from time to time for people who may have been cut off from the Internet. Shared links to essential documents or material several times during the lesson (and posted it on campus as well) so that those who have been disconnected at some point have access to all the class material.


The general advice is to consider what difficulties we might face and have a plan B for each option.

Posted on:
May 25, 2024
3 minute read, 500 words
Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30
Education Community 100DaysToOffload 30Ship30
See Also:
Proyecto 2 - Las Estrellas del Universo R
Project 2 - The Stars of R-Universe
Project 1 - rOpenSci's Code of Conduct and Code of Conduct Committee