Active Teaching Lab Recap: Nine Days after Thanksgiving

Wed October 28, 2020

The October 28, 2020 Active Teaching Lab theme investigated options for meaningful learning after the switch to “remote” to complete the semester!

10 Tips for Remote Instruction

If you taught in Spring when campus moved suddenly to remote instruction you probably have your own list of things that caught you by surprise. You found solutions to some of the challenges, but maybe there are a few you’re still struggling with. (share both types in the table below!). Here are a few challenges remote instruction is forcing us to confront (Paraphrased from How to Overcome Classroom Zoom Fatigue)

  1. Informal meetings: (vs “Office Hours”)  Invite students to meet with you informally in small groups. 
  2. Take/Use notes: In remote instruction, you can have notes about your students (from recent discussion posts, about their interests, etc.) open on a second screen. Use it (carefully, without compromising anything shared confidentially!) to personalize learning and help them connect to course content.
  3. Share more: Be more informal. You’ve invited them into your house.
  4. Ask Students: They’re taking more online classes than you are. They have more experience in what works for them.
  5. Request participation: Given the minimal nonverbal communication in online work, ask your students to talk more than they would in a physical class. They probably will step up and do so!
  6. Center on students: Keep the content and learning practices focused on building their connections to it and to each other. Continue to over-communicate and reach out to them to build trust.
  7. Use breakout rooms regularly: Smaller groups are where they’re more likely to speak up and to connect with each other. Make it a regular part of your class.
  8. Short student presentations: Assign students to introduce and summarize each class’s (or unit’s) content. This gets them more comfortable speaking, and requires class prep.
  9. Solicit feedback regularly: Build a short reflection (e.g. muddiest point) into your assignments and pay attention to the struggles that students are having.
  10. End early if you can: We all suffer from “Zoom fatigue”.

To learn more and discover new resources, visit the session’s activity sheet.


Grounded in inclusive learning, infused with research, and connecting to the Wisconsin Experience, Active Teaching Labs help you learn more about teaching tools and equitable practices, and hear how UW-Madison instructors motivate, engage, and more effectively teach the diverse range of students we encounter.

Find out more about Active Teaching Labs here.