Required Synchronous Sessions
Courses that include required synchronous sessions have the meetings built into the course curriculum and design. These sessions need to be scheduled during the first week of class and held during the predetermined weeks within the course. If your course has a required synchronous session, the following note will be included in the instructor information module:
This course includes required synchronous sessions. Session times will be determined, scheduled and announced during the first week of class. Students need to make all feasible attempts to attend the synchronous sessions. In the event that is not possible, they must connect with their faculty member before the session occurs. Alternate activities will be provided, but may ultimately take more time than attending the live session.
Preparing for Required Synchronous Sessions
- For required sessions, post an announcement and poll students using Doodle (directions for Creating a Doodle Poll) at the beginning of week 1 of the course. By the end of week 1, a date and time should be selected and posted in the course announcements so students will have ample time to prepare and make any arrangements for the session. Add the session details -date, time, and Zoom session link – to the course calendar as an agenda item.
- Review the teaching notes and synchronous session content and prepare any prompts, talking points, and/or activities that will take place during the session.
- Most sessions focus on student facilitation; when preparing for the session, consider opportunities to let students lead the session.
Ad-Hoc Synchronous Sessions
Faculty may decide to offer ad-hoc synchronous sessions during a course. These sessions should not be required, need to be recorded for those who cannot attend, and should not directly influence a student’s ability to be successful in a course. Ad-hoc synchronous sessions provide a great opportunity to build community engagement with students, especially when there is confusion around a topic or a relevant current event to discuss. If Ad-Hoc synchronous sessions are included in courses, session times should be determined and announced as soon as possible once the decision is made to hold the session. Students should make all feasible attempts to attend the synchronous sessions, in the event that is not possible, they should connect with their faculty member before the session occurs.
Preparing for Ad-Hoc Synchronous Sessions
- If no synchronous session appears in the course and you want to include one, determine the need for the session first. Why do you want to include this session? Will this session operate as office hours, to assist students in understanding particular concepts, will this session allow students to apply the knowledge and skills they are learning in the content?
- Once you have determined the need for the session, you will need to poll students using Doodle (directions for Creating a Doodle Poll) as soon as possible for the best available date and time and post the date and time in an announcement. You will also need to add the session to the course calendar with all necessary details. You may choose to poll students at the start of the course to determine the best day of the week and time to hold sessions, should the need arise.