Virtual Lesson Model

There are basic, mostly common-sense moves we can make to keep accountable online.

Basic Structure

Let's review a typical lesson conducted over remote instruction. Obviously, this will be different for each course and each teacher, but here's one example.

Direct Instruction

It's time to review some new material. Perhaps you prepared a recorded lecture in advance. Instead, maybe you assigned a video for homework and you will be hosting a web conference using Zoom to review and assess student summaries of the video.

Practice Work

Before project work can begin, we should try to get some practice work in and some collective feedback offered. Pear Deck is great for this phase. You could use an assessment from our portal. If it was all multiple choice, the immediate results could be reviewed on-screen.

Assignment Prep

Time for a team huddle to discuss the assignment. How are students submitting work? Shared Google Drive folder? Submitting a file over the LMS? Preparing a presentation for next meeting? Ask students to repeat back the steps. The drop-off from confused students is a much bigger threat in remote contexts. Make sure students know what to do when they're stuck. Check for understanding.


Be available to help as work is underway. Try to share out the work of productive students. Check out tools like Trello if you need help with tracking and grading tasks.

You can grade complex projects and provide feedback in a hurry using rubrics on our portal.


Privacy Policies

Parents should be able to find out exactly what apps are being used at school. This document and others help provide that transparency. We also can make sure that none of our tools have publicly listed policies that conflict with our own requirements. So if you're asking students to sign up for a website or service, make sure you've shared that with your school technology staff.

Use School Emails

Whatever service you use, sign up for it with your school account. All student communications should be tied back to your school email address. That's a big one.

Best Practices

The best teachers assume that all students are easily distracted. That way, your lessons keep students actively engaged in some task. The work resulting from that task should somehow be verified. Students can share their work with the class or a friend. You can collect and grade it. Insist on demonstrable evidence that students not only were focused but also demonstrating mastery.

Short Deadline

Make sure students have incremental goals. Ideally, students should check in periodically during a work session to demonstrate progress. Big projects should be broken down


Accountability online can make undue burden on teachers. It's a major reason why tech in classrooms fail: either the culture is too lax and students abuse their autonomy or there is an excess of graded events and the teacher is overwhelmed. Let's look for ways we can provide in-the-moment feedback to students in classroom and peer presentations.

Collecting work

In an analog lesson, students typically submit worksheets or some sort of product made during their work time. The same must be true for a lesson that includes mobile devices. We'll discuss ways to make their work easier to evaluate. Our goal is to not only enable better oversight but also provide richer, faster feedback that improves its formative value.


The most successful teacher is one that that establishes a sense of presence despite being remote. Responding quickly to chats and emails during "on" hours is a first step. You can also hang out in web conference spaces. Try little things like making sure you have a profile picture on Gmail.

Feeling Useful

Look for opportunities to let students serve as mentors, coaches or tutors. Students working remotely benefit a great deal from being a resource to a peer.

Reduce the load

Let's work smarter rather than harder where possible. Here's what we've got so far, please fill out the survey below to add to this list.

Team Teach

Our virtual model opens the door on new ways for teachers to collaborate. For example, if you build some topics on our portal with helpful links and resources, you can share them among your department.

Designate a TA

Students want to help and have a lot of technical savvy to offer. Make sure every class knows who might be of help.


Traditional summative assessments are now much harder to execute. They require building and their administration is a significant technical challenge in a remote environment. Wherever possible, have students demonstrate mastery in other ways.


Projects are most effective if student work will be seen or better yet, used.

Feedback Loops

Chunk projects into small, gradable steps so you can provide timely feedback.

Rich Feedback

Review student-submitted work while recording your screen. It'll save you the time of writing up feedback and students get a more personal touch.

Class Summaries

Sending out a class-wide update on student progress is important. Normally, teachers do this in passing at the start of class. Students want to know how their class is progressing as a whole.

Read More

Check out Sacred Heart Prep's guide.

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