Let's talk remote pedagogy! I'll use this thread to share some ideas and resources for professors--especially law professors--teaching online this fall. (It's going to be a long thread, and I'll keep it running all summer.) /1
As I understand it, to get a variance from ABA Standard 306, law schools will have to describe how they will achieve the following in remote classes: faculty/student engagement, student/student engagement, and formative assessments that ensure students meet learning outcomes. /2
So I'll use those same categories to present ideas. First up: fostering faculty/student engagement. In the old reality, professors were lucky enough to be in the same room with our students before or after class, or see them in the hallways, encouraging informal conversations. /3
Those opportunities aren't available this yr, but it's even more important than usual to foster connection with your students. Remember: this year, if they need you, they're going to have to *seek you out* instead of just popping into your office/catching you in the hall. /4
Professors should at least be accessible and welcoming in the online world. In my own teaching, I strive also be warm, authentic, and, when appropriate, vulnerable. This contact starts before the first class. I have two main ideas for before-class contact. /5
First, consider your syllabus. Make sure it's inviting, accessible, and student-friendly. Review both the tone and the physical appearance of your syllabus. One option is the kind of learner-focused, visually appealing document described by @esherowski: http://lawteaching.org/2018/08/08/change-your-syllabus-change-your-life/ /6
You'll see that part of the liquid syllabus is a short intro video from the professor. This video can be really helpful in humanizing the professor for the students and giving her a voice and a presence. And I encourage you to make that presence authentically yours. /8
While I initially bemoaned my lack of video editing skills, I've read a lot this summer abt how informal videos have a better chance of reaching students (my addition: especially apprehensive 1Ls whose trust you want to earn) than slickly produced alterantives. /9
Then, you need to get to know your students. I like to send my students a short questionnaire to be completed before the first clas (you could do this by email or you could collect responses in Google forms, Qualtrics, etc). /10
Ask Qs that will help you get to know your students and signal that you care deeply about them without inadvertently stigmatizing them. And ask questions that will help you teach and counsel them more effectively. (Happy to share ideas on a spin-off thread.) /11
The surveys are only for me, but I also want students to get to know each other. Though the following suggestion also falls into the category of fostering student/student interaction, I also plan to have my students submit a short (under two minute) introduction on Flipgrid. /12
Flipgrid is easy and the videos can be recorded v easilyon a phone. Posting the intros on Flipgrid will let me and all their fellow students watch their introductions and hear how the students pronounce their names. /13
I actually also recommend this as a supplement to any i-person classes that may be going on, because it would let everyone see their classmates without masks (assuming mask requirements will be a part of in-person classes). /14
Fostering student/faculty engagement once class starts: if you can, open the Zoom classroom early and get online to greet students as they come in. This will let you have the kinds of informal conversations you'd normally have while waiting for class to begin. /15
Related: stay "after class" by staying in the Zoom for 10-15 minutes after the end of the session. Students will appreciate the opportunity to ask questions and immediately follow up on course content without having to make an appointment. Remember: you want to make it easy. /16
In class: think *now* about your expectations for student participation in class. How do you want that to look? Asking for/waiting for volunteers in the Zoom setting is sometimes harder, and there are a lot of opinions about cold-calling without warning in a Zoom world. /17
Though I haven't done this during in-person classes, I'm planning to have "on-call" groups in some fashion this year, of course allowing any student to opt out in advance. Of course, I will also accept volunteers. /18
During class, use anonymous polling software (there are many options) to test students' substantive knowledge. And for classes that are small enough, you can use exercises+ breakout rooms and have a chance to pop into many of them to check students' comprehension. /19
Think through *now* how you plan to share info visually as well as orally to engage students. Use screen sharing (+best practices for PPT), a virtual or physical white board (LMK if you want to discuss options), and videos (make sure you know to do that effectively in Zoom). /20
If you plan to lecture for any portion of a synchronous class, think first about whether that material could be delivered more effectively asynchronously via a recorded lecture (so students can watch at their leisure and pause/rewind). That can count for instructional time. /21
If not--which may be the case with some lectures--make sure you keep the lecture short and that you remember to pause--meaningfully--for questions, which are often harder to interject over Zoom. /22
Consider replacing some scheduled class sessions with one-on-one or small group conferences to increase faculty/student engagement. (In my 1L writing class, I have 6 of these in lieu of class per semester. In my upper-level writing class, I have 4.) /23
But those conferences should have an agenda or work to go over. This is a great time to integrate formative assessments! (I have lots of ideas, but we'll talk about those another day; this is getting super long.) /24
Where feasible, have students communicate with you directly throughout the course of the semseter. Could be short emails/Google form submissions posing questions about the material, identifying concepts that surprised them, reflection papers, hypos, practice exams, etc. /25
This semester, it could be especially important to just ask students to check in about how they're doing. They can answer simply -- "I'm fine"-- but those who need it might take it as an invitation to reach our for more support. /26
Other ways to increase prof/student engagement: holding optional virtual happy hours/coffee breaks/brown-bag lunches, being willing to hold evening/weekend office hours for those with caregiving obligations, discussion board platforms (also helps student/student interaction) /27
That's it for now! Because, uh, by tweet 28 we're firmly in "shoulda been a blog post" land. I'll pick back up soon and restart the thread w/strategies for ways to increase student/student engagement in remote classes & then some more abt formative assessments in a remote world.
Let's talk about in-class first, where Zoom breakout rooms will likely be the go-to tool (more on how to use them effectively later). But before we do that, allow me to perhaps broaden your concept of "in-class" time. /29
Many experiential classes use a workshop model: a flipped classroom w/students spending most of class doing exercises, writing, simulations, etc. This often involves small group work. W/advance preparation & clear instructions, you could shift some of this work out of class. /30
Want students to spend 30 minutes on an exercise? Assign groups & provide exercises in advance and ask students to set up a time to meet, complete the exercise, and report their results to you in some fashion (Google form/doc, email, etc.) Then start class 30 minutes later. /31
Alternatively, you could replace a whole class every few weeks with a variety of asynchronous content that involves group work + reporting out, allowing for some additional flexibility in when you hold class. I found many students to appreciate that flexibility. /32
So, breakout rooms! How to use them effectively? First, as we (hopefully) all know, sending students to breakout rooms with a generic directive to "discuss" is . . . not great. /33
At the very least, provide specific discussion Qs, clear expectations about the end result, and a mechanism for reporting. And if you ask for a "scribe," think about setting up a system where it's not the same ppl as always tasked w/taking notes (you can guess who they are) /34
Variations include (1) setting up questions as a think-pair-share w/breakout rooms; or (2) asking students to themselves write challenging questions based on the material and then, in breakout rooms, work together to answer each others' questions.("Stump your partner.") /35
But there are many ways besides small group discussion to use breakout rooms, depending on the material. They're basically a proxy for any group work you could (or should) do in class, with screensharing & collaborative, real-time drafting in Google docs to fill the gaps. /36
Activities include: creating a "concept map" of the doctrine you're covering; completing hypotheticals/problem sets; simulation activities (arguments, negotiations, client pitches); debates with presassigned roles (only appropriate for certain subjects, obviously). . . . /37
Multiple-choice quizzes where they have to justify the right answer; collaborative research, writing, synthesis, editing, or revision exercises; peer feedback on student work; critiquing a sample document or practice exam answer; other problem-solving activities. /38
Here's a great resource from UNC's Center for Faculty Excellence about ways to increase in-classroom collaboration, but many can be translated to Zoom using Google docs or slides, virtual white boards, etc. https://cfe.unc.edu/files/2019/02/FLSI-Active-Learning-One-Pager.pdf /39
For many of these exercises, it's important to give very clear instructions (including potentially time estimates for a multi-part exercise) if you're sending students to breakout rooms, where it's harder (though obviously possible) for students to ask questions. /40
(Relatedly, make sure you give students clear instructions ahead of time about how to use breakout rooms generally. I have some sample language you can copy-and-paste or adapt in the document I shared below.) /41 https://twitter.com/RachelGurvich/status/1275431181140582401?s=20
For peer review, I'm excited to try out Eli Review to facilitate complex and iterative peer reviews in my upper-level writing class this year. More information, including recordings of Zoom demos, is in this post from @rhetoricked: https://www.rhetoricked.com/2020/05/26/eli-review-demo/ /42
Finally, you can foster student/student interaction outside of class though discussion boards on your school's LMS or a Wordpress site, video discussion boards (w VoiceThread or a similar program) and, depending on your class, other group chat options (Slack, GroupMe, Teams) /43
And that's a wrap for tonight! Tomorrow I'll cover ways to incorporate formative assessments and deliver formative feedback in remote courses. Please share additional ideas here! /44
So let’s talk about formative assessments in remote classes! Frequent formative assessment is key to good course design in any context. It helps students learn and professors teach more effectively. /45
And yes, formative assessment can involve professors giving extensive, time-consuming feedback (believe me, I know). But there are many other ways to use formative assessments in ways that are less burdensome for professors, especially in large classes. /46
The key is that completing a formative assessment should itself contribute to your students' learning. It's not just giving an assessment that will evaluate/rank the student. So with that framework, let’s dig in! /47
Many of the techniques for student engagement earlier in this thread are actually also formative assessments. Think/pair share, concept mapping, brainstorming on the board, debates. More descriptions here, though you'll have to adapt them to Zoom: https://cfe.unc.edu/files/2019/02/FLSI-Active-Learning-One-Pager.pdf /48.
And polling software can provide instant, in-class feedback about whether students are grasping a particular topic. Your university may have a license with PollEverywhere, but there’s a free version if not. Other free polling software: Mentimeter, PearDeck, and more. /49
You can give short, low-stakes, online quizzes. You can use your school's LMS (ours is Sakai) or Google forms to create these quizzes, or even use ready-made ones from your casebook's publisher, something like West Academic, or the growing Core Knowledge for Lawyers platform. /50
If you want to embed comprehension or quiz-like questions into asynchronous materials, so that students have to answer a few Qs before moving forward, I've heard good things--but haven't personally used--platforms like EdPuzzle (there's a free version). /51
Other kinds of formative assessments are things like problem sets, hypotheticals, simulations, issue spotters, or other exercises. My classes use at least two exercises per class. (🙃) There are lots of permutations for how and when to complete these (in the next tweet). /52
They can be completed during class or as preparation for class. They can be done individually or in groups. Or individually as homework and then discussed first in breakout rooms and then as a whole class. If you go over the exercises/answers, that counts as giving feedback! /53
Students could send in or answer Qs weekly or before each class. I have ideas about how to do this w/o flooding your inbox. Or students could identify, after each class, 2 concepts they learned, 2 concepts that surprised them, and 2 concepts they're still unclear about. /54
One kind of formative assessment is for students to provide feedback on each other's work (on which you can choose to provide meta-feedback or not), or on a sample document (brief, memo, exam answer, etc). /55
Meaningfully critiquing others' work is a great tool to get students to really apply concepts to unfamiliar documents (in addition to developing the separate skill of effectively communicating feedback). /56
Another options for formative assessments: discussion board posts; response/reflection papers (or video recordings, like on Zoom or VoiceThread). /57
And then of course there are ways to integrate assessments earlier in the course: practice exams on which the prof offers feedback, midterms that are graded but aren't worth as much and on which the prof offers feedback, draft papers on which the professor offers feedback. /58
So now, you're a professor. How can you provide feedback on formative assessments? Again, there are a range of options, some of which are more labor-intensive than others. /58
For some formative assessments, the professor can immediately provide the answer or offer collective feedback in class (e.g., for in-class polls, problems, or exercises). Online quizzes can be set up to offer instant feedback explaining why a particular answer is right/wrong. /59
You can offer an annotated sample response to practice exam questions or hypotheticals. Or you can offer other modes of "collective feedback," which can really minimize the burden on you as a professor. /60
For example, you can read all of the student submissions and then create a document or Zoom recording/presentation highlighting common trouble spots, clarifying areas of confusing, providing examples, etc. /61
For individualized feedback, your options include written feedback, oral/recorded feedback, or live feedback. Re: the oral/recorded feedback, one option is to record yourself on Zoom while you screenshare, scrolling through the document and talking through your comments. /62
Another option is VoiceThread, which again, many schools license and integrate with their LMS. (We have it on our Sakai menu.) This lets you record voice or video comments on submissions. Full disclosure: I haven't used it yet, but it's on my list of 764 things to do In July. /63
Other folks like a service calls Kaizena, which I understand allows you to embed voice comments that correspond to particular lines/sections of the document you're commenting on. That's also on my list to check out. /64
Live feedback works v well on Zoom w/indiv conferences + screensharing. @katrinajunelee gave a great presentation on remote live fdbck at the William & Mary conference on Excellence in Remote Teaching, and there's lots of scholarship by LRW profs re: live feedback generally. /65
And finally: rubrics! Rubrics that are correlated with your course goals/learning outcomes (which you should obviously have) are huge. You can use them in your feedback and you can also have your students self-assess their own work with them before seeing your feedback. /66
Even if you give qualitative feedback, also including a checklist can be hugely helpful: they provide tangible data for students ("Gurvich says I'm not yet consistently executing this skill, so I'll focus on that next time") and are time savers for you, too. /67
(In general, LRW profs are very experienced with giving all types of feedback, so if any of this is new to you, please let me know and I'm happy to tweet more about it, link you to resources, or chat offline.) /68
Finally, a few resources on form. assessments! "COVID-19 and Law Teaching: Guidance on Developing an Asynchronous Online Course for Law Students," by Yvonne Dutton and @profmohapatra (incl. many techniques for engagement & formative assessment at 15-26): https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3604331
Here's Prof. Heather Field's "A Tax Professor's Guide to Formative Assessment" (though it's not specific to remote teaching): https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3388943
And LRW professors have written a wealth of scholarship about various kinds of formative assessments, as have folks outside of the legal academy. If there's anything in particular you're curious about, let me know! /71
That's a wrap for today! Later this week (probably Monday) I'll do one more installment of this thread with additional resources for online teaching and remote pedagogy. And then will keep updating it as I learn new things all summer. Please feel free to add to it and ask Qs! /72
First of all, your university almost has instructional designers and/or something like UNC's Center for Faculty Excellence. They'll have a ton of resources, trainings, and maybe even individual course design consultations. Ours have set up a website: https://keepteaching.unc.edu/resources/  /73
Here's the course page for that @caliorg course, where you can access recordings, course materials, and related links for all sessions, which have included presentations by Twitter faves @ProfLCunningham and @profallentweets! /75: https://onlineteaching.classcaster.net/ 
Here's a great blog post about resilient pedagogy--a strategy for designing courses to be as resistant to disruption as possible--by @billhd: http://www.cal.msu.edu/about/longview/imagining-resilient-pedagogy /76
Here's another good read for courses that are entirely online: “Humanizing Online Teaching Strategies to Equitize Higher Education” by @brocansky and others: https://brocansky.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/HumanizingOnlineTeachingToEquitize-PrePrint.pdf
Here's a fantastic infographic by @brocansky that goes along with that manuscript. I think some aspects may be targeted at fully asynchronous classes, but the principles transfer well. https://create.piktochart.com/output/5383776-how-to-humanize-your-online-cl /79
In general, I think in an online environment it's even more important than usual to be intentionally & radically transparent about your pedagogy. Explain to your students what your objectives are & how each thing you're asking them to do will help them meet those objectives. /80
Our Course Goals document for our first-year writing program, for example, is extensive, sorted, and carefully sequenced. We refine it every single year and give it to students on day 1. When we assess, we tell students which goals we're assessing. /81
Once you've communicated your objectives (or learning outcomes, or whatever you call them) to your students, intentionally and constantly track their progress along each of those objectives--with rubrics, checklists, or other kinds of feedback. This is extra important online. /82
And I'll end with what I think is the most important takeaway: be a human. Be a good human. Make yourself available and accessible in a variety of ways. Offer a range of meeting times. Offer phone calls instead of Zoom for check-ins if it makes students more comfortable. /83
Send individualized email check-ins regularly, at least when you notice a student is falling behind. Know all of the resources at your institution and refer students to them when necessary. If you're comfortable doing so, make yourself vulnerable by sharing your own struggles /84
Be as generous and as flexible as you can. Why would you not be? Literally none of us have ever started a semester of law school in the middle of a global pandemic. We should make students feel safe, supported, and welcome. /85
I know we're all tapped out right now (trust me). But personally, this is where I plan to spend every ounce of energy I have that is not dedicated to keeping my family fed and cared for.

And that's the end of this thread for now! #end
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