Most classes will be held in person this fall, and it is important that we deliver the format of classes that students signed up for, or at least as closely as possible. If an instructor has special circumstances, you should work with your department or school to determine the best approach. Even as you plan for in-person instruction, you will still likely face situations where you will need to reach students in quarantine or other situations of remote participation. Without a plan and support, this can be a daunting task.

Best Practices

Here are a few quick tips and resources to help you succeed in flexible teaching scenarios. For more detailed guidance on in-person and remote course design and instruction, see the Implementation Guides.

Before Class

  • Test your classroom technology
    • Sound/microphone
    • Ability to share PowerPoint slides locally in the classroom and via Zoom
    • Zoom settings
    • Recording
  • Provide students with participation guidelines and think about how you will encourage and equitably assess participation from both remote and in-person students. Be sure that all students have equal opportunity to engage and that participation grades are appropriate for all situations.
  • Designate a student volunteer or TA in advance to monitor chats, call out online questions, and describe activity occurring outside the scope of vision to remote students.
  • Think about whether some activities will need to be revised for remote students. If there are in-class activities (i.e., small group discussions, demonstrations, presentations) have a plan for how remote students will participate or provide alternate assignments that accomplish the same learning objectives.
  • Consider creating polls to engage both in-person and remote students in lectures.

During Class

  • Start off with an activity that encourages remote students to engage right away, preferably with cameras on.
  • Run Zoom on the classroom computer and share your screen when showing slides so remote students can see your presented content.
  • Turn on live automated transcripts/closed captions for Zoom meetings to help everyone understand the audio.
  • Mute all participants upon entry; ensure you’re not muted. To prevent audio feedback problems, make sure that students in the classroom do not to join the Zoom session.
  • Set reminders for yourself throughout the class session to check in with remote students and give them an opportunity to ask questions or call out technical issues. If you have a TA or student volunteer keeping an eye on Zoom chat, check in with them periodically.
  • Be sure that questions and comments from in-person students can be heard or repeat them back to the class if the student commenting is too far from a microphone.
  • Remind all students in the class to keep an eye on the Zoom participant(s) and encourage them to alert you to any technical issues.
  • Use your course’s Sakai site to share course resources such as hand-outs.
  • Record your class sessions and post the recordings to Sakai.

More Resources for Fall ’21 Planning and Teaching