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Remote Teaching: Small Changes that Make a Big Difference for Students

Read ideas for incorporating flexibility into your remote learning class.

Strategies for increasing flexibility in remote learning classes (suggested by students in survey):

1. Try to post all content for the week by Monday if possible. When videos/readings/weekly assignments are available right away, students can work at their own pace. If there is a major project due in the next few weeks, having the assignment sheet up and the deadline(s) posted on Blackboard can help students plan ahead.

2. Allow students to request extensions on due dates. I’ve recently moved toward offering all students a certain number of “no questions asked” extensions, to save
them the time spent justifying the extension and save me the mental effort of deciding whether their reason is “valid.” They decide when they want to use their extensions.

3. Hold an optional office hour via Blackboard Collaborate, Zoom, Skype, etc. Students mentioned that they sometimes have difficulty formulating questions to ask via email (“I personally have a hard time talking to my instructor(s) about things I’d normally go to office hours for in a timely manner over email”). Knowing they have the option to connect with you in real-time can make a big difference. With childcare responsibilities, I can’t do my regular office hours, so I’ve switched from an “office hour” to two “office half-hours” on different days of the week. If you’re not comfortable with video-conferencing, you could opt for synchronous messaging instead.

Because this suggestion focuses on increasing the number of options, I should note that some students reported confusion regarding whether certain elements of their courses (like Zoom meetings) were required or not. Including that information in your Monday “To-Do” list
email can help students better understand your expectations. I’ve included a sample from my
graduate methods course below.




Sample To Do List:

COMM 704 Learning Tasks for April 13-17
• Read Saldaña chapter 4
• Read Saldaña chapter 5
• Update reading notes with content from both chapters
o Remember to include questions for discussion
• Start coding new transcript (recommended to reduce end of term stress, not required)
• Schedule individual meeting with CAP to discuss coding / learning goals (optional)
• Meet via Zoom from 5 to 6 pm on Thursday, April 16
o What I will ask you to do during class: Apply transitional and second-cycle coding methods to what you have already coded. You can maximize what you’ll get out of class by thinking in advance about how you would do that.




** Tips and suggestions provided by Dr. Carrie Anne Platt, associate director College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

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