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Synchronous Strategies for the "New Normal"

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Professional Development for Higher Education





July 13, 2020

Synchronous Strategies for the "New Normal"

By Zahir I. Latheef


Connecting with students is one of the most rewarding aspects of a
professor's job.  Some faculty hesitate to teach online, frequently
offering the rationale: "I want to

****connect**** with my students. There's just not enough interaction
and engagement online!"  Faculty are not alone in yearning for this
connection - students want it too! Frustrated by the lack of real-time
exchanges with students, I incorporated synchronous sessions into my
online classes a few years ago.  I experimented with the latest tools
and made adjustments each semester based on feedback from students.  To
my surprise, students consistently requested more synchronous
engagement.  After doing so, I gained a new appreciation for the
potential of creating meaningful connection virtually. In this article,
I share these insights and provide four strategies for optimizing the
student experience in synchronous sessions.   




How Can Online Instructors Make Themselves More Visible to Students?

The most common complaint students have about online courses is that
they felt their instructor wasn't there. In other words, they felt
their instructor was missing, they felt left on their own with no
content expert, and that they were expected to just figure it all out
for themselves. What students enrolled in online courses really want is
a "visible" instructor-one who is present, engaged, active, and is
consistently facilitating the course. This program relates approximately
ten small, simple strategies instructors can use to make themselves more
visible to students in their online courses, thus creating a virtual
classroom of more engaged, involved, and successful students.

**After viewing this 20-Minute Mentor, you'll be able to:** * Describe
the benefits of incorporating strategies into their teaching to be more
visible to their students

* Identify a variety of strategies they can utilize to be more visible
to their students

* Describe how the idea of being visible to students directly relates
to evidence of engagement of the instructor

* Explain how and why being more visible to students helps with
improved learning

This 20-Minute Mentor will benefit faculty, faculty developers, and
instructional designers.




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