How should I take attendance?

Please be flexible with your attendance policy. In synchronous virtual meetings, you can count attendance if students join the meeting. If they are unable to log-on synchronously, be sure to post the recordings so they can watch it and count attendance if they follow-up with a short assignment. In online discussion forums, count attendance if students participate. In asynchronous feedback sessions or critiques, count attendance if students post a response to the feedback or critique prompt.

What are the main considerations for selecting a technology?

You should select a tool that you and your students are already familiar with. Also consider if that tool allows you to conduct your class in a way that will help your students achieve their learning goals.

The technology I used in my class didn’t work for all students. What should I do?

There is no such a thing as oversharing. Try to use three (3) different ways for students to give feedback before, during and after class meetings. Google forms, text, chat, Slack even email help create this useful redundancy.

How can I encourage students to participate more in online discussion?

Send out discussion prompts to students ahead of time. This will allow them to prepare for the conversation.

Is it OK to ask my students for their preference for online engagement?

Consider asking students how they want to have discussions in online chat spaces. Without putting an unreasonable burden on the students to figure out how to meet the course goals, it can be engaging and would activate their creativity.

How can students work on collaborative projects online?

One way to do this is through a process called "layered elaboration". A group or team discusses a problem and one person visualizes what the solution is based on the discussion. Then this is passed to the other group members to add to. Each group member adds in a different color or medium. Consider this as a process document so the instructor can see how students are working together. Then a final document is created from the process document, without all the multiple colors, presented to the whole class.

How do I grade student work in an online classroom?

As much as possible, you should utilize the same grading criteria that you set up in your syllabus. If you had to change the assignments, also be sure to change your grading criteria and communicate it with your students. And as always, remember that feedback for helping students improve their work is MORE important than grades, so try to focus on giving substantial feedback to your students.

What if my students can’t access the internet?

If you or your students cannot access the internet – you can still hold synchronous meetings and discussions via phone conferences. (Google meet, for example, has a “call bridge” that allows people to phone in to the meeting.) Or consider ‘low tech’ or asynchronous teaching suggestions.

What if my students are in a different time zone?

You should survey your students to see what time zones they reside. Then plan your synchronous meetings accordingly. If your students can’t attend a virtual meeting due to differences in time zone, be sure to post a recording for them to view and interact with later (on their own). Because of the differences in time zones, also be flexible with your deadlines.

What should tell my students who might be experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19?

Students who feel ill should contact their medical provider. If they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are exposed to someone who has been diagnosed, they should follow the directions of their medical provider and their local departments of health. After they have taken these steps, Pratt’s Health Services are available remotely to help answer student concerns during business hours at health@pratt.edu or 718.399.4542.


This guide was created by the Academic Affairs Sub-Committee. Contact us with suggestions, feedback, additions or changes.