NOTE: This article is intended for faculty in Champlain’s traditional campus-based programs who find themselves temporarily teaching remotely. It does not apply to Champlain College Online faculty, who should adhere to CCO practices.

In certain cases, it may be necessary for Champlain faculty to teach remotely (also referred to here as virtual teaching). Situations might include snow days, health isolation, campus closure, and other major issues. Please note that these options are available for un-anticipated situations, but are not elective substitutes for regular in-person meetings of on-campus classes under normal circumstances.

Communicate Clearly with Students

Clear communication is essential in remote teaching. We advise not only consistent direct communication with students (via channels like Canvas announcements and email), but also setting up your course so expectations are obvious.

Direct Communication

The Canvas Announcements tool is the best way to communicate time-sensitive information to your class. Posting an announcement sends a notification to all students enrolled in the course, and the announcement itself is archived on Canvas (meaning students will receive it as an email, but can find it again easily without searching their inboxes).

Canvas Inbox is a great way to communicate with individual students or small groups.

Learn about Announcements and Inbox communication versus email, including how to create an announcement.

Each class at Champlain also has an automatic Google Group that you can use to send email to the class or set up a group chat in Google Chat. Learn more in this video demonstration of using class Google Groups at Champlain.

Course Clarity

You can communicate expectations and instructions clearly to students in the structure of your course, particularly in Canvas and your syllabus. If you set up a robust Canvas course before the semester starts, your students will already have easy access to much of the needed information. Some suggestions (starred items are required by the Academic Continuity Policy or course standards voted on by Faculty Senate):

  • Post your syllabus in Canvas prior to the course start date *
    Ensure your syllabus stays up-to-date if you revise it!
  • Make sure your syllabus contains a clear course schedule
  • Post all assignments with due dates in Canvas *
  • Clearly communicate to students how they can contact you and make appointments *
  • Ensure the Canvas Gradebook is set up correctly *
  • Provide as many course materials as possible via Canvas or Library e-resources
  • Use Modules to present course materials, to-dos, assignments, discussions, and other activities in a week-by-week or meeting-by-meeting format; the CLT provides a template to simplify creating modules

Deliver Quality Content and Interaction

Develop a strategy for presenting, discussing, and practicing course material, and make sure your students understand what it is. Make sure to stree interactive learning activities. You can deliver content and facilitate activities synchronously (live) and/or asynchronously (learn about the difference).

Possible asynchronous strategies include:

Possible synchronous/live strategies include:

  • videoconference class sessions or guest speakers(see below)
  • virtual live activities using videoconference breakout rooms and/or Google collaborative tools

When considering what your content will be and how you’ll deliver it, remember to think about how much work is appropriate for your students. Our article on course workloads and instructional time in remote learning will help you understand the requirements we must meet according to our accreditor, NECHE.

Foster Student Collaboration

Students value interaction with peers and each other, and it can be difficult to sustain those experiences during long-term remote learning. Canvas discussions provide a basic level of interaction, but robust collaboration requires other strategies. Some possibilities include:

  • collaborative note-taking using Google Docs
  • brainstorming and information-organizing activities using Google Jamboard (additional Jamboard tips by Kerry Noonan)
  • small group activities during a live remote class session using virtual breakout rooms
  • group projects — but remember that remote learning introduces logistical complications, and keeping projects low-stakes is helpful

Hold Live Class Remotely

If you’d like to host an online meeting with your students to hold class or have students do online presentations synchronously, you have a few options, including Google Meet and Canvas Conferences/Big Blue Button. Visit our article on preparing for videoconference teaching, including choosing a platform.

Use Google Meet

  1. Add a meeting to your Google Calendar and invite all of your students
  2. In the meeting settings, Choose “Add Google Meet Videoconferencing”
  3. Students will get a link to join the Google Meet, and there is also a phone number that they can call into if they have limited internet access

Here’s a tutorial video on teaching with Google Meet that includes the Jamboard integration. We also provide an article about additional Meet features like breakout groups, polling, and Q&A.

Use the Big Blue Button/Conferences in Canvas

Host a virtual conference within the Canvas interface where you and your students can see each other and present information. Big Blue Button is not as robust as Google Meet, but it has the advantage of being embedded in Canvas.Check out our guidance on using Canvas Conferences.

Regardless of which tool you use, we strongly encourage incorporating interactive elements like polling, leveraging the text-based chat, breakout rooms, and more.

Encourage Community

During Covid-19 flex-hybrid learning, students reported feeling disconnected from peers and faculty. Community development in a remote class requires different strategies than in-person classroom community. Learn more about fostering virtual community.

More Strategies

Explore our many articles on remote/virtual learning, which cover videoconferencing strategies, community development, student experiences, equity and inclusion, and more!

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