Strategies for Concurrent or "Held-With" Teaching

Courses taught concurrently online and in-person

Held-with courses are taught concurrently online and in-person.

The intent of this page is to provide support for teaching courses scheduled as "In-Person – Synchronous HELD WITH Remote – Synchronous" as listed on the Registrar's Scheduling details page (login required).

For resources focusing on other modalities (fully online asynchronous, remote only, blended, etc.) please visit:


In Fall 2021, some courses will be held with students attending class in-person in the classroom and other students attending the same class synchronously via video conferencing (e.g., MS Teams, WebEx, Zoom), referred to as “remote students”. The time and duration of the synchronous class sessions will be the same for all students, regardless of whether they are in-person or remote.

Which tool should I use for synchronous teaching?

Visit the Tool Comparison for synchronous teaching on our Open Repository to evaluate options.

Start Now: Design your course

Think about the following questions and start planning:

  • What is most important to do with your synchronous time?
    • Is your goal to build instructor presence and a feeling of community?
    • Are you aiming to lecture? Clarify concepts?
      • Are you planning tutorial or seminar activities?
    • Do you have procedures to demonstrate?
    • Are you considering using any interactive activities? For some ideas, see the Concurrent Teaching Scenarios page.
  • What can you reuse from your remote teaching to keep some learning online, while ensuring that you aren’t overloading your students, e.g., content materials, instructional strategies, assessments, LEARN resources and tools?
  • How many students will be in-person and how many remote? A large number of remote students may be more challenging logistically (e.g., monitoring online chat, facilitating group work).
  • Determine what is possible with the technology available in your scheduled classroom (check what technology is provided in Registrar managed rooms or by your Faculty or consider what you will bring).
    • Is there a webcam and microphone available to broadcast to the remote students?
    • Is it possible to broadcast the whiteboard or blackboard or document camera to remote students; or will you need to rely on computer or tablet screenshare for presentation?
  • Consider equity. Design your course to ensure that all students, whether in-person or remote, are offered comparable experiences in activities and assessments.
    • If participation is part of the grade, provide students with multiple ways to demonstrate participation (e.g., live poll, online discussion, question submission).
    • Apply Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles as much as possible, for example, provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate their learning.
  • Keep Accessibility in mind for both in-person and remote students when choosing teaching and learning activities and technology.
  • Have one shared LEARN shell for all your students. Consider using this LEARN shell as the hub for your course, encouraging a single community of learners (e.g., course schedule, policies, expectations, announcements, discussion boards, course materials).
  • As much as possible, KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Before the semester starts

  • Visit the classroom before the first class to practice and test all technologies.

  • Technology can fail, whether it is web-based (internet, web-conferencing platform, microphone) or in-class (classroom speakers, microphone, computer, projector, etc.). Have a back-up plan that you share with the students in case the technology fails (e.g., contact tech support, repeat activity, post lecture recording after class, share resources from a remote offering).
  • Develop a plan for engaging the remote students and for monitoring questions for each class session.
    • If possible, have a TA or Online Learning Assistant (OLA)/co-op student help monitor questions. Plan to pause frequently to check for questions, particularly from the remote students.
    • If your comfort level and teaching goals permit, consider using some interactive activities (e.g., polling, collaborative note-taking), which will help to engage all students.
  • Provide notice to students that they may be seen on camera and may be recorded (see The Privacy Office's Privacy and Remote Teaching and Learning page).
  • Be prepared to deliver your course in a fully remote teaching fashion in case the University closes.

During the semester

Limited Wireless Availability

You should use a hard-wired connection, but make your students aware that their wireless access in the classroom is a shared resource. In-person students using video during your class may cause problems for all students using wireless in the room. We suggest that you ask in-person students not to join your online session unless you direct them to; or, have them turn off incoming and outgoing video if they need to join.

  • For wireless issues, please refer to the Wireless Services page or submit your concern to the WiFi help form.
  • Contact your Faculty computing office for advice on Faculty-managed rooms.

During class

  • Let your students know that this course format is new for everyone, and that while there may be bumps along the way, you are all in it together.
  • Keep it simple, recognizing that activities, even lecturing, may take longer than usual. Utilize your LEARN shell (i.e., announcements, discussions) to fill any potential gaps in communication.
  • If you plan to conduct activities during class, give remote and in-person students comparable opportunities to participate. For some ideas, see the Concurrent Teaching Scenarios page.
  • If you have collaborative activities planned, a low-stakes test of the activity early in the term will help you and your students become comfortable with how it works.
  • If there are questions or discussions in the classroom, ensure that the remote students can hear, and be heard, in order to participate. This may require that you repeat or summarize, or that the work is carried out in a shared document.

Between classes

  • Communicate clear and thorough expectations for both in-person and remote students through LEARN prior to each synchronous class meeting.
  • Let your students know when you will be available outside of the scheduled class time (e.g., LEARN discussion, Piazza, virtual office hours, synchronous drop-in sessions) to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to ask questions.