Having scheduled office hours provides students with an opportunity and a space to find community. Having a combination of scheduled office hours through Zoom and the opportunity to schedule a meeting with the instructor allows for community building and helps students know there is a space where they can discuss questions or course concepts.
Access checks at the beginning of course can help model the kinds equitable and inclusive community you wish to see in your course and course discussions. Here is a link with more information about Access Checks from the TATP at CTSI
Having a land acknowledgement in your course identifies an awareness of the community where you live and work. Here is a link to the UTM Indigenous Centre
It is important to have channels for student to instructor (teaching assistant) communication and student to student communication. This can be email or this can be other instructional tools that would work best in your course such as discussion boards on Quercus, scheduled course announcements, or chat tool in Zoom.
Modelling Communication Strategies
Some pedagogical strategies that can help model communication and engagement are:
- Creating a communication expectations together with the students as a collaborative document.
- Having a response time to emails on your syllabus
Create Discussion Groups or Have Group Assessments
Group assignments and group work can help engage students and build community. Research has also shown that group and community creation helps supports academic integrity.