Course Support

  • Provide multiple means of communication between yourself and your students. Explain clearly how best to get in touch with you. Include text-based means. Hold standing office hours. Considering holding virtual office hours as well as physical, which may be easier to attend for those who feel intimidated or have physical accessibility issues. Stay after class (or arrive early), and communicate clearly that this is a good window of time to talk to you.
  • Follow up with students who are / have been absent or have otherwise missed material.
  • Check-in with students who have been slipping or are absent often. Discuss what is affecting them – while being respectful of privacy – and how they can be accommodated. Co-create a tailored plan for their needs, including frequent follow-ups. Focus on developing a  supportive relationship. If appropriate, refer them to counseling.
  • Promote yourself as a resource: Make yourself approachable to students by giving examples of productive uses of your office-hours time, e.g. assignment help, improving learning strategies, clarifying questions, and advising. Some students may otherwise assume that they would not be justified in taking up your time, or not realize how you could be a useful resource to them. Actively seek appointments with students who could benefit from meeting with you.
  • Promote institutional resources that could help students with your course, such as digital accessibility / IT staff, writing help, academic advising, and librarians. Explain specifically how they can be useful to your course.
  • Incorporate learning strategy/skill instruction and support: Do not assume that all students know how best to study for your class or have similar educational backgrounds. Teach study methods and tools, learning strategies, and writing styles alongside your course material. Support writing assignments with in-class workshops, peer proofreading, or other means. Connect with institutional support about specific assignments and ensure their staff are well-prepared to help students with their materials and goals.
  • Encourage networks of support among students: Students can be valuable resources to each other in reducing barriers to accessibility. Ensure there is a means by which students can get in touch with each other. Consider creating a class GroupMe or other chat platform. Encourage students to use collaborative platforms, such as Google Docs, to share resources — for example, by having students co-create study guides or other materials on  a shared document.