Insights from UAF’s new online organic chemistry labs

This fall, UAF’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry debuted its asynchronous online organic chemistry series with labs. There’s a reason this has not been done before: It requires an enormous amount of planning. But we’re doing it, and with some of the wisdom shared here, you might think about taking your lab course completely online as well.

Strategies for emotionally connecting with students

Emotionally connecting with students supports engagement and helps ensure high-quality teaching and learning outcomes. Here are some strategies to help students develop connections with the course content, the instructor and their peers.

Reflecting on 30 years of distance and online education

Heidi Olson managed paper-based correspondence courses in the ’80s, supported UAF’s first online offerings in the late ’90s, and has handled thousands of online courses since. She retired last week. Read her reflections on these changes over time and advice on giving students the best possible learning experience.

Is your course organized?

There is no one right way to organize a course, but there are some basic principles that will help students navigate and stay on path.

Address uncertainty in your syllabus

Recommended strategies and language to include in your syllabus to help address the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, try surveying students about their current routines and internet access.

Scheduling for success

Course schedules are tried-and-true tools that provide a bird’s-eye view of your course, and can effectively communicate to students your plan for the semester. A well-crafted course schedule clarifies structure, facilitates planning and explains pacing.

Keeping the door open

Now more than ever, you are an important tether between our students and campus. Here are some tips for keeping the door open to maintain a relationship with your students.

A Gentle Reminder to Take a Pause – Revised

This Teaching Tip has been revised from the original version for off-campus options.   A default answer to ‘How are you?’ is often currently ‘Busy!’. In addition to forces beyond our control, we take on so much right now and sometimes feel overwhelmed as a result.  ...

Use student conferences to develop positive rapport

Research shows that the relationships between students and their instructors in a university-level course is “one of the most important factors’ contributing to student success. Use student conferences to give and receive feedback and build relationships that will improve everyone’s engagement in the course.

Remove distractions from your class

Taking an online course can sometimes be like walking through an airport — distractions everywhere. Here are some simple and not-so-obvious ways to remove distractions from your course content.

Are you ready to be Googled?

It’s probably old news to you that it matters what appears when people Google you. However, the pesky thing about managing your web presence is that it’s a continual practice. Here are tips to help you spruce up your online image.

Practicing project management

As the semester settles into a rhythm, the more daunting but less urgent projects that we’ve put off are beginning to demand attention. But where to start? Make a plan, commit to a practice and voila, the only work you’ll have to do is the work, not the managing of the anxiety about the work.

Find and create media for your course

In the online learning environment, instructional videos can go a long way in enhancing student understanding, building community, and creating lasting learning experiences. There is no shortage of research pointing to the impact of educational media (Hibbert, 2014...

Support students’ basic needs

If we learned anything this summer, it’s that working under conditions of uncertainty and crisis makes it hard to get the work done. This is equally true for students, and it is true at the macro-level of statewide budgeting as well as the micro-level of individual...

What is an instructional designer?

Instructional designers are masters in the science and art of education. When faced with teaching and learning challenges, we know why a particular design choice makes the most sense. We also know that we are not an expert in your discipline. You are.

Creating your own course videos

While instructor-created video can greatly enhance the quality of a course, it can be intimidating to take the leap. Here are some tips from an experienced faculty member and media professional to help you get started.

How course design can help students succeed

You may or may not know about all of the challenges your students are facing. The pedagogical framework of Universal Design for Learning can help accommodate these needs and provide more flexibility while maintaining academic rigor.