Strategies for Facilitating Synchronous Classes
The following strategies contribute to the success of facilitating and supporting student learning in scheduled synchronous class meetings.
- Prepare an instructional lesson plan or outline/agenda for each synchronous class session (Kelly, 2020) and upload to Brightspace.
- Arrange a demonstration of the classroom and online video conferencing technology. Determine what you are responsible for in relation to equipment operation, troubleshooting, and how best to facilitate the session. Visit CITL’s website for ‘How to Guides’ for using classroom equipment.
- Establish a general class structure and format — how you want to facilitate your classroom (i.e., asking questions, use of camera, online netiquette, and technical issues).
- Do a ‘practice run’.
- Upload resources used in the session to Brightspace ahead of time. This will save time in class and allow students to prepare for class, including accessing resources when requiring accommodations (CAST, n.d; Marquart, et al., 2018).
- For individual, peer or small group activities, display clear directions (i.e., on slide, whiteboard, Google doc) as to what you want students to do (Bergstrom, 2020).
View Best Practices for Facilitating Synchronous Classes
Best Practices for Facilitating Synchronous Classes
- At the beginning of class, follow up on activities completed online from previous class.
- To maintain flow of session and encourage participation from students, build in more formal breaks for question and answer (Kelly, 2019).
- If teaching remote and in-person students at same time, rotate questions between both groups (Bergstrom, 2020).
- If an online chat is used, pause class periodically for TA or student assigned to share questions and comments in chat (Dexter & Taylor, 2021).
- Use online polling tools, such as Mentimeter, to solicit feedback from all students (Dexter & Taylor, 2021).
- Use Google docs, slides, spreadsheets or fillable PDF documents for students to record notes or collaborate on a document.
- Use online discussion forums in Brightspace to continue discussion after class.
- Summarize key points at the end.
Review additional Best Practices for Video Conferencing on CITL’s website.
View Group Work Strategies
Group Work Strategies
- Provide clear directions on a PowerPoint slide or Google doc.
- Limit group interactions to 10 minutes or less (Lewis & Hesson, 2021).
- For physical distancing measures, reduce class group sizes to two or three (Lewis & Hesson, 2021).
- Have students take the lead to present their group summary.
- Ask a student participating online and an in-person student with a computer to meet in an online breakout room (Lewis & Hesson, 2021).
- Assign a Google slide to any group participating online so you can see the interaction taking place, notes they are capturing, and whether additional or less time is needed (Bergstrom, 2020).
View Web Conferencing Features and Uses
Web Conferencing Features and Uses
|Feature or Tool||Educational Uses for Students and Instructor|
|Text Chat||Share links to resources used (i.e., websites, videos, audio clips, images)
Upload and share a file (i.e., PDF)
Save or copy text chat for review later
|Share Screen/Desktop/Program||Demonstrate an application
View or refer students to resource on Internet
Present a concept or student presentation
|Breakout Rooms||Collaborative work
Small group activity
|Poll||Pre and post assessment
Stimulate discussion and debates
|Whiteboard & Annotation Tools||Display slides
Solve a problem
Share and annotate other documents, images, etc.
|Emoticons/Reactions||Use ‘Raise Hands’ to ask a question
Obtain and give instant feedback (i.e., applause, thumbs up, confused)
|Presenter||Make a participant presenter (i.e., student presentations, debates, manage slides )|
|Share webcam/video||Get to know each other
Demonstrate a procedure
|Copy External Link||Invite a guest speaker|
- Let students know when and where the recording is available in Brightspace.
- Add the summary of class meeting to Brightspace.
- Remind students to complete the follow-up self assessment in Brightspace (Elkhoury & Frake-Mistak, 2021).
- Alternative assessments for remote teaching (n.d.). Toronto, CA: York University. Retrieved from: https://www.yorku.ca/teachingcommons/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2021/06/Alternative-Assessments-for-Remote-Teaching.docx.pdf
- Bergstrom, M. (2020, November 25). Teaching hyFlex: It’s a genre problem. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications. Retrieved from: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/teaching-hyflex-its-a-genre-problem/
- CAST (n.d.). UDL ON CAMPUS: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education. Retrieved from: http://udloncampus.cast.org/page/media_webcast
- Dexter, C., & Taylor, Z. (2021, August 23). The importance of listening to student learning. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications. Retrieved from: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/online-course-delivery-and-instruction/the-importance-of-listening-to-student-learning/
- Elkhoury, E. & Frake-Mistak, M. (2021). HyFlex course design. Toronto, ON: York University. Retrieved from: https://www.yorku.ca/teachingcommons/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2021/07/Hyflex-Course-Design-.pdf
- Kelly, K. (2020, May 7). COVID-19 planning for fall 2020: A closer look at Hybrid-Flexible course design. PhiIonEDTech. Retrieved from: https://philonedtech.com/covid-19-planning-for-fall-2020-a-closer-look-at-hybrid-flexible-course-design/
- Lewis, K. D., & Hesson, N. (2021, April 16). Adapting group activities for COVID to ignite student engagement. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications . Retrieved from: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-classroom-management/adapting-group-activities-for-covid-to-ignite-student-engagement/
- Marquart, M., Englisher, M., Tokieda, K., Samuel, V., Standlee, J., & Telfair-Garcia, A. (2018). Can online students be fully integrated into residential courses via web conferencing? Lessons learned from two pilot courses at Columbia University. Workshop presented at the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate Conference, Orlando, FL. Retrieved from: https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8M91SK7
- Milkova, S. (n.d.). Center for Research on Learning & Teaching. Strategies for effective lesson planning. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan. Retrieved from: https://crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p2_5
- School of Professional Studies (n.d.). HyFlex: Sample lesson. New York: NY: Columbia University. Retrieved from: https://academicaffairs.sps.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/content/Sample%20Class%20Session.pdf