Remote Synchronous Instruction

In the remote synchronous instructional mode, students and faculty meet virtually and simultaneously during scheduled meeting times using communication and collaboration tools.

Place: Room is not assigned. Communication and collaboration tools provided (Zoom).
Time: Days and times are assigned.
LionPATH Code: CR – COVID Remote

Webinars and On-Demand Videos

Webinars and videos designed to provide critical information to faculty and staff about the remote synchronous instructional mode.

On-Demand Videos

Watch Remote Synchronous Teaching Demonstration Videos in KalturaRemote Synchronous Teaching Demonstration

Recommendations for engaging students when teaching in a remote synchronous environment are presented by the Harrisburg Center for Teaching Excellence and the College of IST’s Office of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.

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Why It Works

  • students maintain a sense of community with their classmates and instructor
  • addresses current and future COVID-19 physical distancing concerns
  • allows for real-time interactions and community building
  • faculty and returning students are familiar with this model after the spring 2020 semester
  • synchronous sessions could be recorded to be used for review and to assist with learning/studying for students who are ill
  • in the event of occasional and/or temporary absence, students will follow the attendance policy of the University, with some flexibility

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Policies, Guidelines, and Documents

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Frequently Asked Questions

Review the following frequently asked questions about remote synchronous instruction. For additional information, read all frequently asked questions.

Remote Synchronous Instruction

See University guidance on what to include in course syllabi about the mask requirement (PDF).  

In addition, see Penn State syllabus requirements outlined in Faculty Senate Policy 43-00, including a number of example syllabus statements

Be sure to check with your college or campus regarding locally mandated syllabus policies. 

For this instructional mode, consider adding a brief description of how you will conduct class in this mode and your expectations for students’ participation. You might address questions like, should students be active in Chat, should they unmute their mic to respond to questions, or will they be in break-out rooms for some period of time during most class sessions?

Remote students can collaborate in Zoom or using digital tools such as Canvas groups or Microsoft Teams that provide workspace, communication, and file sharing. Students have many other online applications to collaborate remotely (i.e., Zoom, Google, etc.). 

For remote synchronous courses, consider dedicating some of your synchronous class time for groups of students to work on projects in Zoom break-out rooms.

Instructors should follow Faculty Senate Policy 42-27, Class Attendance, which identifies examples of legitimate, unavoidable reasons for absence, such as illness, injury, military service, family emergency, or religious observance. Instructors should accommodate student absences with flexibility during this pandemic period, especially as we don’t want students who feel ill to think that they should attend class so that their grade is not negatively impacted by an absence. 

Other general resources about attendance requirements as a part of participation in the course:  

While you are not required to take attendance for your remote synchronous course, if you want to take attendance, consider the following options: 

  • Use the Reports function in your Zoom account to collect students’ Penn State access IDs. 
  • Develop a participation survey/quiz for students to complete after each synchronous session. Ask students to either expand on content discussed or ask questions they would like covered in future sessions. 
  • Create a reflection assignment (e.g., one thing I learned, one thing I still have a question about).
  • Have students participate in an online discussion forum at the start or end of each synchronous class session.

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Resources for Enhancing Your Teaching

The following instructional resources have been curated by educational developers and instructional designers and reviewed by faculty throughout the University. They are offered in the spirit of support for instructors who need to learn teaching in new modalities or who want to enhance their teaching effectiveness in familiar modalities.

On-Demand Resources

These resources are for faculty who prefer to learn on their own, with a “give me the information and I’ll apply what works for me” approach.

Collaborative Resources

These resources are for those who prefer to talk with colleagues or someone with expertise in learning or course design.

“Explore Links and the Web” Resources

These resources are for instructors who prefer to do their own web research, exploring links and making conceptual and practical connections.

“Do a Deeper Dive” Resources

These resources are for those who prefer a directed and structured learning experience, either self-guided and/or instructor-led.

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