Message to teaching staff at ANU - Remote teaching update

24 March 2020

*This email is intended for anyone who will be delivering or supporting remote teaching across our campus for the rest of this semester.  If this email does not apply to you please feel free to discard.*

Dear colleagues

Thank you so much for your incredible efforts to support our mission for continuity in teaching through this global crisis.  The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact on our University business for the months to come and we must prepare.

This message outlines how we are approaching the continuity of our teaching activities and how we aim to support and progress our students.  The information and advice below are aimed at supporting you through these tumultuous times. The environment is changing rapidly around us, and we will continue to provide advice to adapt to these changes which will be published on the ANU COVID-19 website.

In this email, you will find information about:

  • The Teaching Continuity Working Group
  • Pause in Coursework Teaching
  • Support for Preparing to Teach Remotely
  • Support for Students Learning Remotely
  • Exams and Assessments
  • Useful links

In response to the recent announcements from the Prime Minister, we have notified our residential students that if they want to leave their ANU residence, they should do so as soon as possible. This means that over the next few days, some students will travel home and others will remain on campus.  Moreover, many staff will have challenges around responsibilities such as childcare.  There are many issues for our teaching staff to consider.  To support you think through these issues, please find attached to this email a teaching checklist for course convenors and teaching teams.  

If you have any questions or concerns you wish to raise with the Teaching Continuity Working Group please contact Sandi Towle on

With my sincere gratitude for your response to this global crisis. 

Professor Grady Venville
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

    1. Teaching Continuity Working Group

    We have established a University Teaching Continuity Working Group to support and inform the Critical Incident Management Team. Our role is to provide thoughtful academic and operational advice to the Critical Incident Management Team (CMT) and guide the University in regard to continuity and quality of teaching, program/course offerings, academic administration and related matters in response to current and emerging COVID-19 situations.   We also aim to guide the University to adapt to normal operations when the pandemic abates.  The group membership is drawn from staff across the University.  Meetings will be held at least twice a week to manage issues as they arise.

    Our guiding principles are above.

    We recognise that a huge amount of work has already been done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The intent of this group is to ensure that our University response is coordinated, that we can learn from each other as a community and that resources are made available if needed. 

    Please direct questions or concerns to Sandi Towle on

    2. Pause in Coursework Teaching

    You will already be aware that all teaching will be paused for a week from Monday 23 March. 

    The goal of the pause is to allow the University to focus on four priorities:

    1. Finalising moving our courses to remote delivery so we can continue teaching for the rest of the year;
    2. Focusing on safely bringing home staff and students who are currently overseas;
    3. Setting up work from home arrangements for when they are needed; and
    4. Finalising local level business continuity plans.

    More information about the pause in teaching can be found here:

    Classes will resume on Monday 30 March, with the two-week mid-semester break occurring as planned. Semester one will be extended by one week to allow for this pause, and the timing of the end of semester and exam period will be adjusted to accommodate this as outlined below.  

    Teaching pause

    23 - 27 March

    Week 5

    30 March - 3 April

    Mid-semester break

    6 - 17 April

    Week 6

    20 - 24 April

    Week 7

    27 April - 1 May

    Week 8

    4 - 8 May

    Week 9

    11 - 15 May

    Week 10

    18 - 22 May

    Week 11

    25 - 29 May

    Week 12

    1 - 5 June


    11 June - 27 June

    During the pause, no teaching activities will take place in person or by distance for all coursework courses.  The only exceptions are outlined in our list of exempted courses.  All assessment deadlines will be pushed back so they fall on the same semester week and day.  For example, something that was due on the original Week 7 Tuesday (21 April) is now due on the new Week 7 Tuesday (28 April).  As a course convenor, you may need to make adjustments to the date you were planning to return marked assessments and feedback to students.  Please communicate this to your students as clearly as possible through your usual method of communication.  Our central site contains additional pause information for line managers

    3. Support for Preparing to Teach Remotely

    From Monday 30 March 2020 (new Week 5) we will move to remote teaching for almost all lectures, tutorials and other teaching activities.  Remote teaching will provide a high level of health safety for both you and your students and will reduce the spread of the virus.   Your role is to use the pause in coursework teaching to prepare for remote delivery of your course/s.  To support your preparation for remote teaching, please find attached to this email a teaching checklist for course convenors and teaching teams.  

    There will be some teaching activities that cannot be taught remotely.  For example, there are laboratory and studio activities that are integral to the learning outcomes of some courses and will need to be adapted to the current environment. This may include strict social distancing and enhanced hygiene measures. Adjustments to these activities may include additional class time and resources to allow for social distancing.  Please discuss with your Associate Dean Education or your Associate Director how this should be done.

    The Centre for Learning and Teaching has created a Wattle site designed to help you make a quick transition to remote teaching.  It includes information and options for you on delivery of remote lectures and tutorials, remote assessment, and communication with students. It also provides additional links to local College support and other helpful resources. You can also use the site to book a personal zoom consultation with a learning designer. 

    Please log in to Wattle and use the ‘search courses’ tool to search for Teaching Remotely – Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)

    4. Support for Students Learning Remotely

    The Centre for Learning and Teaching also has provided a Wattle site to orientate students for learning remotely - 2020 Wattle site Orientation for Remote Students 2020.

    This site includes information on Wattle Basics, testing remote learning access and troubleshooting access problems, Student Services, Health and Wellbeing Services, Academic Skills development, ANU Student Associations and Clubs and information on how students can get in touch with their College. 

    Here are links to some of the support services that coursework students can access while they study remotely: 

    Academic Skills is can support students with virtual drop-ins, face to face Zoom meetings or written feedback on draft assignments. They provide English conversation groups via Zoom, online resources and Facebook so students can get all the latest information, tips and ideas for their studies. 

    Access and Inclusion: all appointments will be offered via Zoom.

    ANU Careers: all appointments are being offered by Zoom, Facebook for upcoming events and employer information, careers toolkit online resource, Employability Hub and Career Hub. 

    CBE Careers and Student Employability: All appointments are online and students can register for virtual employer events and workshops. 

    Global Programs: offering virtual drop-ins online via Facebook Live Chat.

    Student Central:  Students are welcome to email Student Central via or visit Student Central homepage and check this page regularly for the latest information on services.  

    5. Exams and Assessments

    Please note that centrally timetabled and invigilated mid-semester exams will not be held.  This also is likely to be the case for end of semester exams.  Where accreditation requires in-person invigilated examination, course convenors should discuss options with their Associate Dean Education. 

    Course convenors will need to use the pause in teaching to adapt to remote assessment. Many existing forms of online assessment tools will work well including quizzes, Turnitin, take-home exams and essays and discussion post ratings.  We are working as quickly as possible to get our remote assessment support and systems in place. Please see the Teaching Remotely Wattle site for more information and we will update this site regularly.   We are working with external partners on methods and technologies for remotely invigilated exams.  We will update you soon.