by TEP’s Natascha Reich, UO Ph.D. student, musicology
This page is intended for Graduate Employees who teach discussion sections, labs, or tutorials, or who working as graders. TEP recommends communicating with your supervisor and co-GEs before introducing new technologies or tools into a course.
Teaching discussions sections:
For real-time discussions in which people can see and hear each other, Zoom and Canvas Conferences both are great tools. Zoom is available through the UO, thus you will not be limited to the 45-minutes free version. Zoom allows for smaller breakout groups, and even has a handy waiting room feature. For non-synchronous discussions, you can use the Canvas Discussion tool. If you enable the media-upload feature in Canvas Discussions, students can upload short videos or audio instead of (or in addition to) typing their response. The Canvas Discussion tool allows for more accessibility than Zoom, however, its drawback is that discussions do not happen in real-time.
Teaching lab sections:
Dartmouth College has a great list of resources available for instructors who have to teach labs remotely. Be sure to scroll down to see the links to physics simulations, virtual microscopes and other fantastic online tools!
Holding office hours:
Zoom or Canvas Conferences are a good way to meet up with students for office hours. If you are holding office hours by appointment, the Canvas Scheduler can help you manage your appointments. It is an easy to use tool for students to sign up for open time slots. If you are holding regular drop-in office hours at a set time every week, make sure to use the Zoom waiting room feature so students don’t accidentally drop in on another student’s conversation with you.
The Assignments tool in Canvas has all you need for creating, collecting and grading assignments. Use the Speedgrader tool for easily moving on from one assignment to the next. You can also enable VeriCite to avoid plagiarism. Blind grading is also possible in Canvas, as well as setting up scoring rubrics and non-scoring (non-numerical) rubrics. You can provide in-text comments or you can comment in the text box on the side margin.
Other things to consider:
Accessibility: In general, try to limit the number of online tools you use. Not all of your students might have a fast internet connection or compatible devices. Try out new technologies before you implement them into the course. Dartmouth College provides a great Checklist for Accessible Remote Teaching.
Fostering social presence and a feeling of belonging: There are a number of strategies to enhance social presence in your course:
- Ask students to post a short personal profile (e.g. preferred name, favorite food, career dream) on Canvas to break the ice.
- Encourage them to upload their photo as a Canvas profile picture.
- Enable the Discussion feature in Canvas, so your students can start a group conversation at any time.
- Use Canvas Announcements to communicate to the entire class, so students can respond to announcements and others can see the response.
Fostering collaboration and interaction among students:
- Use Canvas Announcements and Discussions.
- Encourage your students to use Zoom or Canvas Conferences for forming study groups or working on homework together. You can even design some assignments as groups projects or peer-reviewed assignments.
- Create a course Wiki page or a shared folder on Google Drive, OneNote or the like and make it open for everybody in the course/in your section to contribute to.
- If Canvas and Zoom do not provide the features you are looking for, consider Slack, Microsoft Teams, Band, or Skype (but keep it simple, and discuss it with your supervisor and co-GEs first!).