Remote attendance & participation

There may be students enrolled in one of your courses who are now living in places where live Zoom broadcasts are not available, or in a time zone which would make synchronous (“live”) remote participation infeasible. There are also students whose internet connections or hardware make synchronous participation via Zoom difficult, either intermittently or regularly. Beyond connectivity concerns, students’ personal circumstances, including their DSP status or responsibilities for family and childcare, may also impact their ability to participate in synchronous class sessions. 

We recognize that attendance and participation are, for many faculty, fundamental elements of their classes, but it is also important that students acting reasonably in a time of crisis are not unduly penalized for their circumstances. The following are examples of alternatives to synchronous attendance and participation. You may want to make these options available for all of the students in your courses, or merely those few who cannot regularly participate synchronously. Please also consider the due dates for these alternatives to allow students a reasonable amount of time for completion. 


Asynchronous attendance

Record and post your lectures and/or discussions. Give students an opportunity to confirm having watched the lecture via a short quiz, either on the content, or by including a “passphrase” at some point during the lecture that is the answer to the quiz.

Additionally, students could submit a short, written assignment or record a brief (e.g., 1-minute) video asking them to share a reaction, observation, or question that came up for them during class, or while watching a pre-recorded lecture video. Prompts could include, but are not limited to1,2:

    • How would you explain what today's class session/video was about to a classmate?

    • How did the ideas of today's class/video relate to previous class sessions?

    • What was confusing or something that you are unsure about? 

    • What did you find most interesting or surprising about class today/the video?

Assignment grading can be effort based (e.g., credit/no credit, or meeting a word minimum, time-minimum). If you do urge students to share video with you, we recommend the following best practices for sharing video securely.

If posting lectures is for some reason not an option for you, a student’s summary of or reflection on an assigned reading or activity can stand in as well. 


Asynchronous participation

Record and post your lectures and/or discussions. Form groups for students who cannot participate synchronously using tools such as:

Encourage these groups to participate in asynchronous discussions & activities similar to those you are performing live via Zoom. You and your GSIs can have access to the student Groups in bCourses or the shared Google documents to view and evaluate asynchronous student participation.

It may be easier to have a student, by email to you or a GSI, summarize or reflect on (see above) the activity in a lecture that they have viewed asynchronously. If posting lectures is for some reason not an option for you, a student’s summary of an assigned reading or activity can stand in as well. 

1Tanner, Kimberly D. "Promoting student metacognition." CBE—LSE 11.2 (2012): 113-120.
2Cross, K. Patricia, and Thomas A. Angelo. "Classroom Assessment Techniques. A Handbook for Faculty." (1988).