Supporting Students in a Remote Learning Environment
With Cal Maritime transitioned to remote instruction in response to the COVID-19, faculty teaching in this new environment may have questions about how to recognize students of concern. Depending on the nature of the course, the number of students enrolled, and the extent of contact faculty had with students in their physical classroom, recognizing students of concern may not be markedly different. Here is some information to help guide faculty in determining when students may need extra attention or a referral to campus resources.
CAPS hours are open M-F 8:30-4:45pm. Counseling appointments are available remotely via telephone and webcam. To schedule an appointment, call 707-654-1170
To reach CAPS after-hours and weekends, call 707-654-1170, option 1
How should I expect my students to adjust to remote instruction when coming from the classroom environment?
This will depend on many factors. Some students have had online classes before, so for them, the adjustment to remote learning may not be significant. Still, this environment is different, so we can expect students to be initially overwhelmed with moving all of their instruction online and then having to adjust to different instructional styles. Expect students to struggle initially with logging into class on time, working the technology, and learning how to meet your expectations now that instruction has moved entirely online.
Encourage students to find or create a conducive space to get started. For some it may be their bedrooms and for others, basements or various areas of their home. Ask that they try and reconfigure a sense of structure to their day which might mean allocating their former class time for designated work time for that class. It could also require a review of strategies that were previously effective and finding ways to implement them.
Encouraging students to find outlets to break up their days and simulate the distractions normally found i.e. utilizing various spaces in their home such as kitchen for meals, workspace for work, other areas for research, reading, notes, etc. Know that there will be a vast array of challenges being presented by each student. There are some spacing concerns that cannot be controlled for so looking at timing and creative alternate options is the best support you can offer.
Asynchronous teaching can provide some synchronous opportunities and certain students will fare better with one format over another. Synchronous learning platforms can give students and instructors a sense of human contact. At the same time, faculty should be wary of giving too much leeway in the form of open-ended or less-than-rigorous assignments. It is important to be able to understand students’ different situations and recognize that you as an instructor have some flexibility within the structure, but at the same time, hold students accountable for the required work.
How should I address students’ concerns with assignments, exams, papers, and the challenges of working in an all-online environment?
Be patient with your students, and with yourself. Expect technology glitches and problems, so you aren’t surprised by them. Empathize with students’ frustrations while also providing reassurance that we are all learning together and will get better as time goes on. Be reasonable with your expectations. Also helpful is to encourage students to maintain balance in their lives: computers and devices have been a big part of their recreational life and with on-line learning, technology can take over.
Spending the day staring at a computer screen or notes is typically not the most efficient way of learning or retaining material. Some examples are to keep in touch with family and friends, using technology for connection. Exercising regularly including walking, running, yoga, home equipment, or virtual fitness classes will also help with stress, anxiety and depression. Frame to students that quarantine can be an opportunity to explore activities they never usually have time for such as board games, crafting, writing, drawing, and leisure reading.
What if a student demonstrates more adjustment problems than I might expect?
This is a crucial concern. If, particularly after an initial period of adjustment, a student seems overly frustrated, overwhelmed, or distressed, take note. Students may have been focused on getting up and running virtually and now are dealing with grief over a lost semester and that goes with it, grief related to the death of a loved one from COVID-19, extended quarantine, and anxiety related to all of an uncertain future. Encourage the student to speak with you during online office hours or seek assistance from other campus resources to resolve technology concerns or frustrations with the online environment. If concerns appear to be more personal in nature (i.e., difficulty setting up an appropriate learning environment from home, personal and financial struggles), suggest the student check in with the Student Success Center (firstname.lastname@example.org) or CAPS (707 654-1170).
Are support services are available to students in the remote learning environment?
For those on campus: Services will look similar to previous terms, but with some services or meetings occurring virtually.
For those fully virtual and not on campus: All support services will remain available virtually.
If a student demonstrates inappropriate classroom behavior during an online learning session, what are my options?
Reach out to the student first and invite them to meet with you during online office
Talk with them to try to uncover the issues possibly behind the behaviors so you can have a
better idea of an appropriate referral. Give the student direct feedback about the behavior,
not only how it is disruptive to the class but also how it impacts their own ability to be
successful. If this is not productive and/or the behavior is more egregious, please report to your department chair or Dean.
Also, refer any concerning students through Maxient Incident Reporting
How is recognizing a student of concern different in an online environment?
In many respects, the same behaviors that concern you in a classroom environment continue to be concerning when learning remotely. Be particularly attuned to changes in behavior during this transition. Is a typically highly engaged student now seemingly disengaged? Are assignments late? Maybe the student has stopped showing up for instruction and is not attempting to engage you during office hours. Do they seem overly tired and now not interested in the course material? All of these changes may suggest that concerns are present or may be looming.
What student behaviors are most concerning, and may warrant an immediate referral to CAPS?
Increasingly withdrawn behaviors, expressions of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in previously important activities, drop in academic performance, abrupt changes in mood, indications of increased aggressiveness, and talk (even in a seemingly joking manner) of harming oneself could all be indicators of deeper, more serious concerns. The more behaviors present, the greater the risk to the student. If you have concerns, particularly if the student is unresponsive to outreach attempts from you, complete an referral via Red Folder as the Counseling Center staff will be made aware of the situation.
What if a student is concerned about their health or the health of those they are currently living with?
If a student is possibly infected or have been exposed to COVID-19, follow the steps from the CDC Guidelines to prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home or community.
Contact the Student Health Center at (707) 654-1170 or contact the Solano County COVID-19 Warmline for advice at (707) 784-8988.