Supporting Temporarily Remote Students
On this Page
- Planning guide
- General approaches
- Options for providing class content
- Options for designing activities to accommodate temporary remote students
- Activities to engage students during live streamed classes
- Additional resources
This resource on the UBC Keep Teaching site provides a general guide for planning and designing course activities to engage a mix of in person and remote students:
General approaches to consider
- Communicate the options for students who cannot attend classes on campus in the beginning of term or who need to miss class due to illness, in your syllabus.
- Send out a welcome email to students with instructions on how to access course materials and to communicate with you if they are not able to attend class.
- If possible, provide supplemental or additional readings for students who may not have access to class textbooks in the beginning of the term.
- Send out a beginning of term survey so students can let you know how many classes they may miss or when they will be able to attend classes in person.
- Offer the option for online office hours to accommodate students who are unable to meet in person.
- Set up a Canvas Q & A Discussion forum where students can ask questions and get help from you or other students if they miss a class or have any course related questions.
- Encourage students to connect with “buddies” or form peer groups with students who are attending class in person and can share lecture notes or provide social support to help them feel connected. Instructors may also consider assigning in person students to take turns sharing lecture notes with their remote peers, by posting them on Canvas discussions or in a shared document.
Options for providing class content to students who cannot attend in person
Reuse existing online materials
During the past year of remote teaching, many instructors developed online materials that could potentially be reused to support temporary remote students. Previously recorded lecture videos and multi-media activities stored in Kaltura or the Collaborative Learning Annotation System (CLAS), as well as discussion topics, practice quizzes and reflection activities can be made available to your students by importing the materials into your current course site. Contact Arts ISIT for assistance with copying course content or learning activities from previous Canvas courses.
Pre-record lecture videos
You may choose to use pre-recorded lectures, instructional videos or audio recordings if recording or streaming live lectures is not a good fit in the context of your course (e.g., lectures with large amounts of discussions and activities). The UBC Keep Teaching site provides information about options for pre-recording lecture videos.
Record or stream live class sessions
UBC has increased the number of classrooms with available equipment to capture or stream live class sessions. The Arts ISIT Lecture Recording for Instructors page outlines the available options and how to request recording or streaming support.
For teaching spaces that are not equipped for recording and streaming lectures, the following equipment/tools can be used or borrowed from Arts ISIT:
- The AV kits are especially useful for smaller classrooms, or ones based on active discussions or student response systems (SRS). Each kit includes a tracking camera and a microphone, to ensure your recorded lectures are clear and focused. The kits are transportable and easy to set up. Information about how to request the kit and set it up can be found here.
- Zoom carts help remote students participate in in-person classes. The portable carts feature a large screen and powerful input/output microphone on which you can host the class Zoom meeting, allowing in-person attendees to view remote participants and engage them in discussions. More information about Zoom cart features and instructions on how to use the cart can be found here.
- Instructors may also consider streaming and recording a session through Zoom on your computers. Visit Record your in-person lecture with Zoom for more instructions.
- The Zoom camcorder is a video recorder that you can connect to your computer to create videos with high quality audio. It can be used alongside a Zoom session or other recording software in order to record clearly audible lectures or seminars. If you plan to reuse your lectures in future classes, Zoom Camcorders will help to ensure your recordings will be useful for future semesters. More information about this device can be found here.
- Laptop recording with Kaltura or Camtasia may work well for many classroom situations.
If you are concerned about students missing in person classes because there are lecture recordings available, there are features in CLAS and OneDrive and workarounds in Canvas that allow you to share the recordings with only specific students. It is also worth considering, however, the many learning benefits of lecture recordings for all learners. Students learning English as an additional language or students with certain learning disabilities may also benefit from being able to rewatch class sessions to review material.
Options for designing activities to accommodate temporarily remote students
Build flexibility into your grading scheme
If students are required to regularly complete in-class activities that are assessed as part of a participation mark, consider having some flexibility in grading so that students can miss some activities and still receive full marks (e.g., students must complete 10 out of 12 weekly activities).
An assessment plan that makes use of multiple quizzes or assignments allows you to have some flexibility to drop the lowest quiz grade or shift the weight of a quiz to the final if a student needs to miss class because they are sick. Providing flexible policies around high stakes assessments also helps avoid situations where students feel compelled to attend class even if they are be experiencing symptoms of illness.
General alternate activity
Another alternative for graded class activities is to create a general alternate activity that can be applied across multiple class sessions for students who need to miss class. This would be completed independently for any missed class sessions and could be something like a short reflection activity or a structured worksheet that students could use to engage with a reading or recorded lecture.
Alternate activity for a specific class sessions
In some cases, you may want to create an alternate activity for students who miss a particular class session where other approaches are not feasible. In these cases, it is helpful to think about the learning goals for a particular activity and about how the existing activity can be modified so that it can be completed remotely, or what type of alternate activity could achieve the same goals.
At the beginning of term it can be beneficial to have a conversation around classroom norms and expectations, that outlines the options for students who need to miss class. Depending on the context of the course, you may consider having a discussion with students to generate ideas for alternate activities they can do in case they miss an in person class.
Ideas for alternate activities that can be done asynchronously
|Activity||How?||Things to consider|
|Asynchronous Canvas discussion forums can be used to continue live class
discussions or engage students who did not attend in person.
|Create a discussion topic for the class session or week where students
can respond to a discussion prompt, ask questions and respond to other
|Asynchronous discussion activities can also be useful to students who
attend class to provide opportunities to reflect on or apply concepts
from the class session.
|Use collaborative annotation tools or activities to allow students to
ask questions or have conversations around course content such as
recorded lectures or readings.
|CLAS can be used for students to annotate, comment on or ask questions
on video files (lecture recordings), image files or pdf documents (course materials).
|Students can annotate media as a whole class or be organized into smaller groups. Instructors can add discussion prompts as annotations or general comment/questions to help encourage discussion.|
|Use collaborative tools to have students create shared notes where they
summarize key points, post questions or make additional comments
from the classroom discussion.
|Tools such as collaborative documents (e.g., Microsoft OneDrive),
Padlet or Google Jamboard can be used to enable students to collaboratively
|Given that students will need to wear masks, these online tools may also help in-class students to engage and participate in conversations.|
|Individual reflection activity (written/oral) on a reading or recorded lecture.||Students who are watching lecture recordings can complete a worksheet or structured independent activity that is similar to what in-class students are doing.||Consider providing prompts to assist students to actively reflect on lecture material, to help them focus on key concepts or learning goals. These activities can be set up in Canvas and made available only to students who will be completing them.|
|Modify a classroom active learning approach so that it can be done both
in-class and asynchronously
|The Online Teaching Program Designing Engaging Learning Activities
Module presents a series of active learning techniques with ideas for how the same type of activity can be adapted for synchronous and
|John Vigna (CRWR) discusses using low stakes writing activities to give students more opportunities to apply foundational concepts through writing and generate material for their major assignments.|
|Participation in a group project or presentation||If a student needs to miss class on the day of their group presentation, the absent student can submit a presentation recording to you individually.||Consider scaffolding larger group projects so there are opportunities to
assess contributions beyond the final presentation. More information on strategies for group activities can be found here.
Activities to engage students during live streamed classes
If you are live streaming a class session, with remote students and in-person students in the same session, it is helpful to plan for ways to actively engage the students participating remotely. The table below provides some ideas for activities that can be used during live streamed sessions.
|Activity||How?||Things to consider|
|Student response questions||Student response systems, such as iClicker Cloud and Top Hat allow
students to view and respond to interactive course material remotely.
|There is often a lag between iClicker question delivery in person and live streamed lectures. For workarounds to avoid this lag, contact Arts ISIT. Alternatively, Top Hat questions appear directly on student devices or can be assigned to students for later completion.|
|Live chat (through Zoom)||Live chat can be used to gather contributions from remote students and help them feel more connected to the course. Assign your TA or a student to monitor and voice questions from the chat.||Build in chat checks into your lesson plan to allow for regular response to questions or comments.|
|Breakout groups with shared documents||Students can work with peers to complete an activity and record their response in a shared document to be submitted or shared with the class for discussion. Allen Sens (POLI) shares some examples of small group activities that can be modified for online or in-person delivery.||If there are many remote students they can be organized into their own Zoom breakout groups to complete the activity. If there are a small number of online students they can participate with on campus students, using headphones with microphones, to reduce noise.|
Technical considerations for live streamed classes
If you are live streaming your class while also trying to engage a large number of students in activities requiring technology, there is the potential for bandwidth issues depending on the applications you are using and number of students. If you have concerns about this, please consult with Arts ISIT about your specific room, class size and type of activities. In certain cases, you may want to consider some low-tech alternatives to engage students in addition to online tools. Include an equipment list in your syllabus asking students to come prepared with personal materials necessary for collaborative or interactive activities. Useful items may include:
- Laptop or mobile device to access Canvas or shared documents
- Headphones to join Zoom breakout groups or discussions
- A set of coloured cue cards for visual polls, as an alternative to online tools
- Paper or post-it notes and a sharpie for brainstorming
Some Arts learning spaces are designed to facilitate group collaboration and integrate remote students into the classroom. The Buchanan B125 Collaboration Learning Space is equipped with 7 “restaurant style” tables, each with its own TV and computer to enable in person with online collaboration. Contact Arts ISIT to inquire about booking this room.
Keep Teaching – Academic Continuity – The Keep Teaching site has been updated to provide links to additional resources for returning to campus, along with the high level principles for remote teaching developed by faculty working groups.
Accessibility and Inclusivity Support Guide – This resource provides helpful suggestions for designing your course in a way that promotes flexibility and accommodates diverse leaner needs.
COVID-19 Safety Plans – UBC has created COVID-19 safety plans for seven types of spaces on campus. Review the one most relevant to the teaching you will be doing.
UBC Skylight Lecture Recording Literature Review Page – This resource provides a short summary of the pre-pandemic literature around lecture recording.
6 Tips for Teaching Online and In Person Simultaneously – This article outlines strategies that instructors can use to engage online students when livestreaming courses.
23 Tips and Tricks for Teaching with Masks – This resource from the University of Michigan LSA Academic Technology Services team provides a series of tips and strategies instructors can use to teach and engage students when everyone is wearing masks.