As faculty and staff make the quick transition to the online environment, there is an increased need to be more available to students. Instructors can foster and maintain an online presence using a variety of Communication Tools to connect with students and build an energized and thoughtful community of learning.
Office hours are a good way to allow students to connect with you and their fellow classmates. Videoconferencing platforms, such as Zoom or Collaborate Ultra, allow students to communicate by phone, webcam, or in the chat room. These platforms also provide an option to record the session for students who are not able to attend.
To accommodate the schedules of as many students as possible, try offering virtual office hours multiple times per week. The Chat tool is useful for hosting real-time office hours and it stores the chat so that students can review the conversation asynchronously after it has ended. Consider keeping the office hours listed in your syllabus then make an Announcement to distribute the information.
A non-graded Discussion can be added to any content in SOLE. Once added, it places a "View Discussion" button beneath the viewable content item. This is a great resource and safe place to allow instructors and students to have a question-and-answer forum directly related to content. Be sure the discussion is monitored to ensure correct information is being shared in a timely manner and to address any unanswered questions.
For more information, faculty and staff can visit HSC Contingency Planning and Preparedness to make sure you are ready for any changes due to Coronavirus (COVID-19).