Ensuring an Equivalent Learning Experience for Synchronous Sessions

Not all students are able to attend a scheduled class. Students who are unable to attend a synchronous session (online or on-campus) should not be penalized. Avoid awarding participation bonus marks for attending a synchronous session unless you provide an equivalent opportunity for non-attending students.

When planning to provide an equivalent learning experience, consider the following guiding principles. Email remoteteaching@uwaterloo.ca for further assistance in your specific case. 

SHARE material with your students in advance

  • Post your slides, readings (use Course Reserves where possible), textbook chapters and pages on your course site before your live session.
  • If you use a Socratic questioning method (PDF) in your interactive lecture, post your questions in advance.
  • For tutorial (CTE) sessions, provide the work that will be done during the tutorial in advance.
  • For seminar (CEL Open Resource Repository) sessions, post the discussion questions to be addressed during the seminar in advance.

INVITE participation from students

  • Invite students to read material in preparation for your scheduled session.
  • Find equivalent opportunities for those who can't attend.
    • Prior to the session, create a space for students to ask questions about the material provided. A discussion forum in LEARN, Piazza or a poll can be used. Address these questions during the recorded session.
    • If your lecture is interactive, provide the questions or activities for the students to work on as they go through the materials and recordings.
    • For seminars (CEL Open Resource Repository), invite students to do the readings, to ponder discussion topics, and to provide their initial thoughts. LEARN Discussions and Perusall are ideal for this purpose.
    • For tutorials (CTE), encourage students to attempt the problems/questions in advance and post any questions for you to address in the live session. LEARN Discussions and Perusall can be used for this purpose. Polls can be used to ask which questions they struggled with and want you to review.
    • For office hours, provide an opportunity for students who cannot attend the scheduled times to connect with you in other ways. Some options include an individual session in Bongo, chat, email, or through a Discussion forum restricted to a single student. LEARN’s Video Note can be used in Discussions for visual demonstration as needed.

RESPOND to your students

  • During scheduled sessions, respond to questions posed from any pre-work. You may also respond to questions in Discussions or Piazza.
  • Be sure to provide an avenue for students who were unable to attend the live session to ask questions that may arise as they review the recording.

RECORD the live session

  • Record your scheduled session to capture the emergent and spontaneous nature of the discussion.
  • Advise students that the session will be recorded.
  • Post the Notice of Recording in an appropriate location on your course home site.

UPLOAD your recording

  • Before uploading your recording, or the link to your recording, to LEARN, review the video from a student’s perspective. Does it work? Are there glitches or is anything unclear that requires further explanation or supplementary information posted to LEARN?
  • Consider chunking (CEL Open Resource Repository) the recording into smaller segments. Not only is it easier for students to consume media in shorter segments but limiting file sizes will aid students with potential bandwidth issues. 
  • Consider posting a transcript of the recording if available. Visit the Captioning capabilities of University supported platforms page on the IST Knowledge Base for additional information on captioning and transcripts.