Flexible, Equitable Access to Course Content During COVID

Flexible, Equitable Access to Course Content During COVID

The University of Oregon’s Academic Council states that, for fall 2021, “Instructors should ensure that absent students have equitable access to course content” and “clear communication and make-up protocols in place for students to follow if students are going to be or have been absent.” What might this mean in practice? 

Each instructor's context is different, but below are examples of different approaches, each that would meet this guidance. Approaches are broken up into before, during, and after class steps.

Related Topics: Inclusion and Equity
Teaching Pillars:

Before Class

Organize your Canvas site in modules, and on overview pages for modules, identify a) goals for each class period, b) pre-work, c) post-work, & d) instructions for in-class activities. Having Canvas organized in this way and with these details already available supports learning for all students (regardless of absences) and saves time for student and instructor when absences are necessary.

Post 1-2 standing assignments students can do for any class missed because of illness or quarantine. Find examples of standing assignments students might do for any missed class on this TEP resource.

During and After Class

Option 1: Record Class

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Suggested Steps

1. Connect your computer to the HDMI output that goes to the projector. Before recording, check whether your classroom has a mic to amplify sound (if so, connect it to your computer for a higher quality recording). Use Zoom or Panopto to record (see this step-by-step tutorial).

2. Upload the recording to Canvas

3. After student watches the recording, they complete the standing assignment

4. Let students know that their assignment counts as making up the missed class.

Classroom Recording Policy

Instructors might consider signaling on the syllabus how they will handle class recording. One example:  

"Capturing what happens during our live meetings is a way to take care of one another in our COVID context and help all students deepen learning. We will make a recording of class content so that students who must miss will have a resource to refer to, and students who attended will have a resource to go back to and strengthen their learning. I will strive to record the parts of our class sessions when I am primarily sharing information, and when we as a class we are applying it, and will post those recordings in weekly Canvas modules. As recording our time together can sometimes change how students feel about participation, I will let you know when we are recording. Federal privacy law (FERPA) restricts the sharing of recordings that identify students outside this class. Please note that recording or sharing the recordings I make without written permission from me is also a violation of the Student Conduct Code."

Find more guidance on how to record and ways to communicate about it with students at the Classroom Recording page.  




Option 2: Class Notes

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Suggested Steps

1. Students rotate note-taking as a collaborative activity and post in Discussions or pre-linked file in Canvas (consider awarding points for these notes as part of participation or low-stakes graded activities).

4. After class, post your slides or a portion of your own notes.

5. Absent students should consult all posted materials and complete the standing assignment.

6. Let students know that their assignment counts as making up the missed class.

Note-Taking Template

Effective note-taking is a learned skill. Students may need support in taking notes that will aid in retrieval and reflection, and notes that will capture important information for their peers.  We've put together a notes template that can be downloaded and customized for your context, and then shared directly with students to fill in. 



Option 3: Stream Class

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Suggested Steps

1. You want to offer isolating & quarantining students the option of remote attendance. In a hyflex classroom, use the instructions to set up. If not in a hyflex classroom, instructors will want to be even more diligent about repeating student questions and comments aloud, as the absence of additional mics will make it harder for students to hear each other. 

2. Set up a virtual meeting link and post the link to Canvas with a list of expectations for how to participate remotely (e.g., ask questions in text chat).

3. For group activities with students absent due to COVID, identify a group who can work with the remote student(s) and share guidance about how to incorporate them in the activity.

HyFlex Good Teaching Practices

Using HyFlex can present some special challenges. Read this post on practices for setting up a HyFlex learning environment so that all students can participate.  



Get Support

For urgent classroom tech support during a live class, please use the regional support number listed in the room.

For support around creating or enacting an approach that works for you, contact us!