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Establishing Online Presence

CHSS Online Teaching Initiative

Establishing Online Presence

Because online courses limit face-to-face interactions between faculty and students, faculty should make an extra effort to increase faculty-student interaction. Throughout the semester, communicate with students through announcements, feedback, and conferences. If some form of face-to-face interaction is required (i.e. scheduled conferences or meetings via Zoom, Skype, or phone/chat), make sure that this requirement is carefully outlined in the syllabus.

typing on laptop floating paragraph text and document icons Setting up Regular Office Hours

Highly publicize office hours in the syllabus and Canvas. Due to the busy schedules of many students taking online courses, it is important to offer meetings by appointment as well. Offer one hour per week for each course. If there are certain times of regular availability for meetings beyond office hours, specify such times in the syllabus as well.

Offer a variety of ways to communicate with students and make sure that these possibilities are listed in the syllabus as well as on the course website. Let students know that it is possible to meet in person, on the telephone, or via chat and video conferencing. To ensure student access, provide tutorials—which are accessible through  Canvas—on the course website. To encourage students to use these tools, include an early low-stake assignment that requires the use of key communication technologies.

Using Email

Include in the syllabus a clearly stated policy for responding to student email messages. Responding within 24-48 hours is often standard. Also, specify an email response policy for holidays, weekends, and other dates of limited or total unavailability, if applicable.