Student Centered Strategies
Approaches for Online/Remote Learning
Keep students connected
Students can feel disconnected to their university, even when they are in the same space as their classmates and teachers. But that lack of belongingness can be deepened when students must separate from campus. Even in ordinary times, students who choose online courses benefit from the intentional efforts of their professors and those who provide university services -- to keep them connected, digitally.
Internet and computer access is key to continued students learning in a remote/online environment. Typically, students without personal computers and/or wifi at home can find computers and reliable internet connection 24/7 at university computer labs. But if campus is closed or access is limited due to physical distancing requirements, some students will be at an immediate disadvantage. Here are some resources to bridge that gap.
Establishing good lines of communication with students in any learning environment is important, but it takes on greater significance when courses are online or remote. In a face-to-face classroom, your physical presence on a regular basis automatically establishes a way for students to communicate with you. When students are not in the same room with you regularly, it is up to the professor to intentionally develop openings for communication and consistently invite students to discourse.
Accessibility and Accommodations
Creating a course that is accessible to all students builds a better learning environment for EVERY student. That concept is called Universal Design for Learning or UDL. When you design your course thinking about the special needs of students, you create a learning experience that is better for all. For example, students without vision issues may want to listen to an article read via a screenreader while driving home. This can be accomplished with a mobile devise and a screenreader app download to a phone.
Once you learn how to make accommodations on assignments for students with disabilities, you will also know how to give students more time, if they have technical or personal issues you'd like to consider. Making your course more accessible to all does take extra time, but it is the right thing to do. Plus, once you build these features into your course, they can be imported each semester.