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Teaching Synchronously Online

CHSS Online Teaching Initiative

Teaching Synchronously Online

Synchronous online teaching requires that faculty and students be present in a virtual space at the same time. How the course looks can differ significantly. Here are some tips to help your course be more interactive and to facilitate student learning.

Organization tiny student desks on the keyboard of a laptop computer.

  • Create a basic timeline for your virtual session to keep you organized
  • Avoid text heavy slides. Use more images and videos to keep students engaged
    • Graphic design and video assistance can be found at the UHD CTLE
  • Test out your technology beforehand to reduce time in which students are waiting for you are disengaged
  • Give students simple activities to do during your transition time to avoid student disengagement
    • Put a questions in the Chat or ask the students to retrieve a particular document
  • Consider sharing your screen to demonstrate to students how to access materials


  • Start class with an icebreaker activity that requires student participation
    • This gets them engaged and helps them to learn more about each other
  • Use features such as Breakout rooms in Zoom to get students to interact in smaller groups
  • Share documents and resources using the Chat feature.
    • Links from Google Docs work well here
  • Use the whiteboard feature to keep track of important discussion ideas or to annotated documents or images
  • Consider bringing in guest presenters, even for small portions of the class
  • Include engaging activities such as
    • Role plays
    • Fishbowl discussions
    • Student showcase in which students share their screen and present to the class

Resources through UHD

20-Minute Mentor: All UHD faculty have access to 20-Minute Mentor trainings. There are a variety focusing on synchronous online teaching that faculty can access for free. Go to the CTLE website to sign up.

UHD Information Technology offers a variety of trainings that can support faculty. See UHD Information Technology calendar of training opportunities.

LinkedIn Learning also has a variety of videos to assist with teaching online synchronous classes that can be accessed using the faculty member’s UHD username and password.


Online Resources

Faculty Focus: Synchronous Online Classes: 10 Tips for Engaging Students

Learning Technologies: Best Practices for Synchronous Online Teaching and Learning