ACUE’s Back to School Webinar Recap & Toolkit
In September 2021, ACUE (Association of College and University Educators) held the Back-to-School webinar series. In the webinars, panelists shared practical strategies and resources on a range of topics, much of which has now been organized into a set of free resources—including videos and downloadable planning guides—that can be immediately put to use to benefit both faculty and their students.
The webinar series covered practices around three topic areas:
A welcoming learning environment for students is key to a strong start. Helping students feel welcomed to your course before or on the first day sets a positive tone for students, who will then be more likely to seek out help when and if needed. You can welcome students before your course begins—a strategically written email or a welcome video ahead of the course start date can help calm your students’ fears and let them get to know you and your commitment to their continued success. See a sample welcome video here.
Use practices for helping students get to know one another increases their sense of belonging and gives them an opportunity to form a peer network to support and help one another. You can use Community Building Ice-Breakers or set up Peer-to-Peer Relationships.
Meeting Students Where They Are
Even though the times have certainly been challenging, both faculty and students have also gained skills that they may never thought they would have to use. Helping them recognize and leverage these assets can help jump start them into the new year. See resources for recognizing student assets and prompting students to recognize their assets.
Understand that your students come with different levels of preparation, background knowledge, motivation, and aspirations is the first step to knowing what they have already mastered and where they are ready to begin. See resources for identifying students’ current level of understanding and surveying students about the resources they need to learn.
Maximize your instructional time by focusing on the most essential standards. Identifying the essential outcomes for your course will give your instruction direction and ensure your students are prepared for the next level of learning. See resources on the Critical Learning Template.
Getting Better Prepared for Online and Hybrid Learning
Effectively welcome students to your online or hybrid course in ways that support them and let them know that you are committed to their continued success, including the usage of specific methods like video and Q&A and social forums, as well as effective online communication techniques. See resources for organizing course content from a student’s point of view and using discussion dorum rubrics.
Find more resources on the webinar’s website.