ASYNC Online

ASYNC Online – One week out tips

Faculty Teaching Online ASYNC — One Week Out Tips

Developed by Kate Temoney, Office for Faculty Advancement

1. Check your schedule and clarify the modality for your students. If you have not done so already, be sure to check your schedule on NEST.  If by chance you are actually teaching in a different modality than you expected, talk to your chair asap to strategize solutions. 

2. Clarify for your students what the ASYNC modality entails, your specific expectations, Explain how it will generally work in your particular course. If you have not already sent out a pre-semester survey, it’s not too late.  Go to Canvas Commons and download and adapt the survey you find there, Fall 2021 Hawk online pre-semeseter survey.

Explain details in the survey as well as  through another communication. 

For example: It might be useful to note that though the course is not in real time, there will be live review sessions or that there will be weekly assignments and/or opportunities for interactions with you and/or with their fellow students whether live (e.g. office/student hours) or asynchronous (e.g. discussion posts).

2. Establish instructor presence and rapport, and make communication pathways clear and available. Consistently and frequently communicate with students through Canvas announcements that preview the material for the week or a module (ideally, on the same day and at the same time) and your preferred method of contact.

For example: Send reminders and deadlines and include general tips on completing assignments or general feedback on completed assignments. 

For example: Rename “Office hours” to “Student Hours.” Tell students what email method you prefer (i.e. through Canvas or directly from their email account), and when you want to receive emails. An advantage of asking students to contact you through Canvas is that the course number and section automatically appear in the subject line. Let them know how long it takes you to respond, and when you’d like them to email again in the event you miss an email.  

Note: Many students are not reading emails between breaks — they might just start paying attention a few days before classes start. Just keep up the communications even if many are not responding.  We learned from the student survey that students want to hear from their professors more — who knew.  They may not read iall the messages, but they might read the last few ones.. You can also try thinking of alternative communication paths

3. Raise expectations about student engagement in the course, and foster community. It’s more difficult to maintain student engagement and community in an asynchronous course. Some ideas:

  • Record a video introduction and ask your students to do the same. 
  • Provide video lectures when able. 
  • Devise a non-graded or extra credit syllabus quiz to prompt students to familiarize themselves with course expectations and components.
  • Provide group activities such as polling (and share the results) and collaborative assignments.
  • Divide students into smaller cohorts for the course or for particular assignments.
  • Monitor student activity by reviewing the activity log on Canvas and assignment submissions; reach out to students who seem disengaged or are struggling. Navigate can assist with this.
  • Send an encouraging message to students who are doing well.
  • Make the challenges of this learning situation a subject of your course on occasion.  Students are learning how to learn in a new way — it is hard.  Share articles, invite students to contribute to a “challenges” and “solutions” brainstorming session to promote engagement and community. Raise the bar, but then help students reach it.

4. Resources most relevant to Online Sync