You can use the Canvas email feature to write to your students now. In that message you might:
- make the human connection about understanding the disruption;
- let them know you want to work with them to make spring courses a valuable experience and a real chance to learn;
- express a sense of value in the class community as one way to be together in a time of uncertainty;
- convey something that feels especially urgent, promising, or moving about the considerations of the course in the context of our present moment;
- let them know how you will next connect.
One UO faculty member writes:
Just brainstorming: I’m thinking it will be helpful for faculty to reach out to their students through their Canvas sites not at the beginning of the term but now—as soon as winter grades are in.
What they can do to help our effort to keep the UO moving forward during this disruption is connect with their classes and give them an idea of what’s exciting and valuable about what they can expect.
Also make the human connection about understanding the disruption and wanting to work with them to make spring courses a valuable experience and a real chance to learn. I’m an old-style teacher, and no one would call me innovative, but even I’ve been imagining how I’d be approaching a spring Intro to Poetry course. I’d be writing to the enrolled students now about what poetry can offer intellectually, socially, emotionally as they live through the pandemic.
I might focus on course content that addresses what they’ll be experiencing, give them writing assignments that tap into that new knowledge, etc. I know not every class has content that can speak to what’s happening, but every teacher can make a human connection, convey what we want to offer our students next term, and give a glimpse of how the class will work (and maybe even work well in new ways). We could convey a sense of adventure and experiment simultaneously communicating compassion and creating connection. All this it to say that the first step might include reaching out to students to give them reasons to stay enrolled.