Teaching Tips

We now know that hundreds and hundreds of our courses will need to adopt a hybrid model in order to account for social distancing practices to help to protect everyone in our community. As we prepare for that reality, we all are working to design and facilitate opportunities for quality learning given these constraints. In order to help your thinking on hybrid learning, today’s tips focus on creating a social presence in your hybrid course:

  • “Being There.” Social presence involves the ability for learners to engage and communicate as part of the learning process, a sense of “being there” (Lehman and Conceição 2010). When we place an importance on establishing social presence in any learning environment, we recognize that all learning takes place in a context. In a face-to-face environment, we might experience social presence differently depending on whether students are raising their hands to ask questions or if heads are buried in laptops. For a hybrid course, that learning environment will have hurdles for establishing social presence that we may not have to think about in a face-to-face setting, so we have to think about the tools we have for maintaining that sense of “being there.”
  • Ground rules and “netiquette.” Before class begins, it is important that you establish the specific ground rules for communicating across the many tools at your disposal, which is important in any learning environment. Our students often need help understanding how to appropriately engage in new contexts – professional email etiquette, for example – and these new hybrid contexts are no different. If you are using technology, it may very well be unfamiliar to your students, which means it may be uncomfortable for them to use effectively. As you learn to use these tools yourself, think about how you can simultaneously build a resource to introduce effective and proper use to your students. You want to tell students, and ideally show them as well, how you would like for them to engage with you and their peers.
  • Show how virtual contributions matter. It is one thing to set up discussion boards and streaming video options, but it will take intentional effort to make sure the students see that these new modes of engagement matter for their learning. Try starting class by bringing up posts that students make in the virtual environment when you have a chance to see the students face-to-face, or summarize key issues that emerge from a Canvas Studio quiz that students had to take before showing up to class. Connecting their virtual and in-class learning early and often will set the tone that their presence both physically and virtual continue to matter for their learning in these challenging circumstances.

Today’s tips build on Katie Linder’s work about hybrid learning, The Blended Course Design Workbook. If you are interested in learning more about hybrid instruction, including more tips from Dr. Linder’s work, then keep reading below about our upcoming workshop on The Hybrid Experience, as well as more virtual opportunities for the remainder of the summer and fall.

July 21st: The Hybrid Experience Workshop

Are you planning to convert your face-to-face course into a hybrid experience for your students this coming fall semester? This hybrid session will allow UNCG faculty to experience a modified version of this versatile delivery method firsthand, learn best practices, and connect with fellow UNCG faculty members while you prepare for the upcoming fall semester. Participants will access the latest research about hybrid instruction, see examples of Canvas formats for hybrid courses, and receive feedback about their courses.

This workshop includes three components:

  • Online access to materials starting on July 8th.
  • Synchronous, online meeting on July 21st from 9:30-11 am
  • Online office hours, drop-in session on July 21st from 3-4 pm

Sign up now if you’re interested in joining us for more on the hybrid experience!

Going Digital for Fall 2020 with the Teaching Innovations Office

Our 2020-2021 Events & Programs Calendar is now available (see attached)

For Fall 2020, the Teaching Innovations Office will take all of our programs digital. However, a few programs will have significant changes made possible by going online. Below you can find a few of the programs specifically designed to go digital, and you can check out the rest on the Upcoming Programs page on our website!

Coming in August: 6th Annual Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Institute

Join the UTLC in August for a digital version of the 6th Annual Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Institute, based on the Sustained Dialogue model as a way of fostering inclusive classrooms.

This annual institute provides faculty with opportunities to explore topics related to equity in today’s learning environments, from inclusive language to handling difficult conversations. Faculty will work to develop tools and strategies for discussing topics, creating inclusive conversations, understanding aspects of identity, and “navigating classroom dynamics, advising/mentoring, and conflict” (Sustained Dialogue).

Sign-up now to reserve your spot. The Institute will be available from August 7th to September 25th.

If you are looking for something to do before the Annual EDI Institute, then we also wanted to remind you about the available DiversityEdu modules for Faculty/Staff and Search Committees.

Reminder: DiversityEdu Modules Available Online

DiversityEdu is an online module through Canvas that offers faculty and staff skills-based development in areas of equity and diversity. Using case scenarios and practical application, DiversityEdu is a research-based resource for faculty and staff as UNCG continues to strive for inclusive excellence. Participants have access to two module types: a faculty/staff module or an academic search committee module. Both modules are available for the spring semester. Participants who complete either of the two-hour modules will receive a Certificate of Completion from the Office of the Provost.

Sign-up now to get started with DiversityEdu

Sign-ups Available: Fall Literary Circles via Zoom

Literary Circles unite faculty around a particular topic and reading related to the scholarship on teaching and learning. We provide the books, and you provide the thoughtful conversation!

We have just added a seventh book option to accommodate increased demand for literary circle options for Fall 2020, starting right after Labor Day. Our seventh book is:

(From the author: “A 28-Day Challenge [that] leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.”)

Check out the other options below as well and then sign up here!

Fall 2020

Also, if you’re curious for more readings related to teaching and learning, you can click here to see the list of past literary circle books.

Upcoming Adapt Summer Sessions

The Adapt 2020 conference may have concluded, but there are still more individual Adapt sessions this summer to help you as you prepare for the fall.

Over the summer months, ITS Learning Technology will be hosting a series of workshops and other sessions to help orient faculty and staff to the new tech tools that will help us adapt to these new circumstances. Check out the upcoming events below and use the keyword Adapt in the workshops calendar to find more options.

TOMORROW, 6/26 @ 10 am: Start Here: Digital tools to create an effective course orientation module

The purpose of this course is to help instructors learn how to utilize the digital tools available at UNCG that help students learn the course routine, expectations, and organization. This course will ensure students are familiar with ITS Student Services and all the hardware/software required for the course.

6/30 @ 10 am: Tech Tuesday Drop-in Session

Staff from ITS: Learning Technology will be on hand to assist you with Canvas, Zoom, Panopto, Respondus, or anything that’s on your mind.

No need to register, just drop in at any point within the hour and we will be happy to help. Follow this link for the Zoom session link.

Tech Tuesday sessions will continue through the summer.

7/10 @ 10 am: Rubrics

This session will introduce Canvas rubrics as a tool to make assignment expectations clear to students and to make grading more efficient for faculty. By the end of the session, you will know how to create a rubric in Canvas.

Search for other Adapt 2020 Workshops at workshops.uncg.edu by using the keyword: Adapt

“Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” Free Online Workshop

You are invited to join the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop facilitated by Dr. Racheal Brooks of NCCU. This workshop introduces participants to the Quality Matters Rubric and how to apply its standards to develop high-quality online courses and evaluate them.

This workshop occurs over 2 days virtually in Zoom:

  • Thursday, 08/27/2020, 1PM-5PM and
  • Friday, 08/28/2020, 1PM-5PM.

UNCG Online has organized this workshop for faculty and staff. Quality Matters workbook and handouts will be mailed to participants in advance to the address they provide to sebaker2@uncg.edu. There is no cost to you. This workshop would normally cost $200 per person. This workshop counts towards the continuing professional development requirement for online instructors.

For registration instructions and other helpful details, please visit this link:


Please register by August 1.

To practice using Zoom in advance of the meeting and test your audio and speakers, you can click this test meeting at any time.

If you have questions please contact Susie Boles at sebaker2@uncg.edu.