Student Tech Support

De facto, you as the person teaching online will be considered the technical support person for your course.  If that scares you, do not be alarmed.  Instead, be proactive … and co-opt your students to help.

Recognize that, particularly if your move online was in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, your usual support personnel – IT or Centers for Teaching – are swamped.  So instead, try this approach:

1. Recognize that this sudden shift online is quite different from a well planned elearning experience.  So be truthful and honest with students, and work with them to find the mediums that work best.  As Jody Greene noted in Keep Calm and Keep Teaching, worry less about grading and more about partnering with your students for learning.

2. Tap in to the expertise some of your students bring to your course, and co-opt them in to helping both their fellow students and you.

3.  Use online polling to determine the lowest common denominator in terms of student bandwidth and software.  Shifting to Microsoft Teams might be your long-term goal, but maybe email and Google Docs is a way to start out.  Some of your students might be using their smartphones as their only means of accessing the internet, so think through what that means to your teaching.

4.  Ask your colleagues what is working for them, and share their insights with your own students.  This includes not on technical items, but the real affective issues both you and your students might be facing.