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ENGAGEMENT & INTERACTIVITY

Inclusive Online Teaching

This page offers resources and recommendations to help instructors enhance the student experience and support student learning outcomes in online courses.

APPROACHABILITY & FLEXIBILITY

When teaching online, it’s important to remain approachable and adaptive to learner needs and expectations.

Tip:

Plan a few moments at the beginning or end of class for a “huddle” to reflect on how things are going for the group. For example, you may ask “what’s a positive thing that happened or a challenge you faced today?”

COMMUNICATIONS & COMMUNITY BUILDING

Within online learning, many learners expressed a desire to interact with instructors and classmates in both formal and informal environments. Whether hosting online office hours or providing opportunities for peer-peer interaction (e.g. Zoom Breakout Rooms), it’s important to build a sense of open communication and community.

Tip:

In your course site (e.g. Canvas), add the direct link to your online office hours and integrate a scheduling tool to make them easily accessible.

PREDICTABILITY & ORGANIZATION

Try to establish a pattern of predictability and organization in your course, including regular opportunities for communication and consistent lecture postings. Providing your learners with a sense of “what’s coming next” tends to reduce anxiety and improve understanding.

Tip:

Post announcements in your course site (e.g. Canvas) on the same 1-2 days each week, indicating what material was recently covered and what is upcoming.

ACCESS TO COURSE MATERIALS & SOFTWARE

Think of ways to reduce barriers for your learners when accessing course materials and software.

Tip:

Consider making your lectures downloadable so learners can access them without WiFi.

LECTURE QUALITY & RECORDING

Lecture quality can go a long way towards enhancing the learner experience. Make your best effort to achieve audio and visual quality and be sure to use platforms that are supported by the University.

Tip:

For home recording tips, including audio recommendations and best practices for designing and annotating your slides, click here.

ACCESSIBILITY, ACCOMMODATIONS & TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

In your course syllabus, course LMS/website, and opening lecture, establish and communicate CoE minimum technical requirements to your learners. Post clear information about your plan to accommodate time zones and establish a backup procedure for learners to follow in the event of a technical issue (e.g. WiFi crashing during a live lecture or timed exam). For accessibility accommodation requests, contact the Student Accessibility and Accommodation Services (SAAS) (ssdoffice@umich.edu). They are prepared to provide services for both online and on campus learners.

Tip:

Some learners who do not typically need accommodations may need them in an online course. Sharing information right away about SSD can help learners leverage these services and reassure them that you are committed to their success.

Resources for Students

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