Brown DLD Faculty Guides

Remote Accessible Teaching Recommended Practices and Strategies

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What follows are some best practices and strategies for ensuring remote students can have an experience that is meaningful and on par with their in-person classmates. These practices apply to all the remote accessible models.

Plan Group Work Carefully

  • If you have more than five or six remote students, divide them into breakout rooms via Zoom while the in-person students are doing group work. Make sure to visit these rooms to make your presence known to the remote students.
  • If you have only one or two remote students, have them join in-person groups. One student from an in-person group should have Zoom open so the remote student can participate in the discussion. This may necessitate moving to a quiet area so the remote student can hear and be heard.

Use Zoom Strategically

  • With smaller classes (<15 students), have all students enter Zoom.
  • Use Zoom to divide remote students into groups for discussion.

Recording Lectures

  • Record lectures ahead of time and post on Canvas. This allows remote students to more easily listen to them. When recording live lectures, make sure that remote students can 1) see what instructors are writing on the board, 2) view the screen via screen share, and 3) clearly hear the instructor.
  • To ensure that remote students can adequately see and hear the class, instructors should arrange a meeting with Media Services before the start of the semester. This in-room consultation will help determine the best microphone and camera setup for your recording needs. 
  • Some faculty prefer to bring their own wireless microphone. Personal microphones typically work with AV rooms systems, but may need initial configuration.

What Makes for a Remote Accessible Discussion?

Remote students will have difficulty contributing to an in-class discussion. To ameliorate these difficulties, try one of the following approaches:

  • Build in time for remote students to share their thoughts. This may mean pausing the in-person discussion to allow remote students to contribute.
  • Have a digital counterpart. Ed Discussion, Google documents, and Top Hat Community can all be deployed during an in-person class discussion to allow remote students to share their thoughts. Should you opt to use one of these tools, make sure to pause and check the digital chats for contributions and share them with the in-person students.
  • Supplement in-person sessions with asynchronous discussions. Canvas discussions offer an asynchronous space to share thoughts beyond the classroom, allowing both remote students and in-person students to continue the conversation.

Create Remote Accessible Assessments

  • If you give quizzes or exams in class, do so through Canvas.
  • Consider which class activities can be done through collaborative platforms such as Google Jamboard or Documents. Can you reimagine an in-person brainstorming session as an online session?
  • Have students share assignments ahead of the in-person class via Canvas. This way remote students can also review contributions before the in-class discussion takes place.
  • See the faculty guide on Authentic Assessments, Exams, and Quizzes.

Use the Right Technology

  • Bring headphones and a laptop to class to better communicate with the remote students when they are in breakout rooms.
  • Use a digital whiteboard rather than writing on a board, which remote students have difficulty seeing. See our digital whiteboarding guide for details.

Ask for Help

  • Ask TAs to monitor Zoom chats, Google silent discussions, and Jamboards. Pause during lectures to see if remote students have asked questions. TAs are especially helpful for large lecture classes.
  • If you don’t have TAs, then ask students to volunteer to monitor Zoom chats and other digital discussion tools. A new student should volunteer for each class session, or portion of a class session.
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