Useful Tips for Success

Students in a ARC classroom

The key is to be flexible and compassionate.

  • Be open and personable, reach out to your students, be understanding of their situations, and prioritize the creation of a course community.
  • Predictably there will be glitches: days when you cannot connect to the internet, days when one or more of your students cannot connect to the internet, Blackboard glitches, uploading glitches. Integrate both in your thinking and in your course design the possibility for these eventualities and the need for flexibility.
  • In live synchronous sessions, recorded lectures, or microlectures, do not over-worry about how you look or when short interruptions in your home or workspace happen. You are human, your students are human, and we are all trying our best in inordinate circumstances.
  • Employ user- and resource-friendly video resolution. 480p is sufficient (it is DVD quality) and requires much less bandwidth than higher resolutions.
  • Do not assign additional work (not already clearly posted on your syllabus) on a very quick turnaround. In many cases, your students’ access to private spaces, to a computer (low-income families often have to share home computers amongst multiple remote learners), and to WIFI or shared data bandwidth/hotspots may be limited or compromised by the home/off-campus setting.
  • Many different and simultaneous approaches are possible; allow room in the course schedule to readjust your teaching, communication, and assessment strategies as the semester moves forward.
  • Be creative with assignments. When possible, make your assignments relevant to the present context in which your students find themselves. Incorporate when possible their lived experience and the present social, political, cultural, and environmental moment.
  • In order to foster student engagement and community, include in synchronous class meetings student presentations, group presentations, and/or student video projects.
  • Repeat important course information and deadlines often and in different forms (Blackboard Announcements, in live synchronous sessions, via email, etc.).
  • For International Students taking asynchronous and synchronous courses from ABROAD: Be aware that Zoom, Google Docs, WebEx, and other platforms are not accessible in many foreign countries, including China and Russia.  If you have international students completing your course from abroad, you may have to limit your teaching practices and activities solely to the Blackboard Collaborate platform.