Supporting Students Unable to Attend Class During the Public Transit Strike

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A transit strike impacts everyone in the community. It is especially challenging for individuals with multiple responsibilities beyond college (e.g., work, parenting, eldercare, etc.) and for international students who can become very fearful of their ability to succeed when they are unable to get to class the first few weeks. Everything that you can do to alleviate student stress and to help to ensure a successful semester will be impactful. Below are some suggestions for this challenging time.

Communicate Sympathetically

Please be sure to post an announcement in eConestoga or send an email message to your students offering your support if they are experiencing challenges in getting to class due to the Strike. If a student messages you regarding their personal challenges, please be sure to respond with concern and support.

Avoid Pushing for Expensive Arrangements

Some students have expressed that their faculty have told them they “need to figure out a way” to get to class on time. This could lead students to spend their grocery money on an Uber or to leave home in the dark and cold and walk long distances. We need to balance the goal of getting students in class with risking having this vulnerable population put themselves in jeopardy.

Offer Second Chances on Small In-Class Quizzes and Tasks

Students who are not able to participate in class should be provided with an online or future opportunity to earn these marks. Check in with you Chair, program Coordinator or designate if you are not sure whether your idea for accomplishing this is workable.

Noting What Happens in Class: Low Tech Solution

To ensure students stuck at home have some access to the in-class experience, consider:

  1. Recording a video or verbal summary of the class and important reminders. This can be done on a cell phone and loaded up to eConestoga. You can also use the announcement feature but it may be reassuring for students to see you and hear your voice.
  2. Adding additional notes to PowerPoint slides and reminding students to look for those explanations.
  3. Asking if there are note-taking volunteers who could divide up the class and then post notes to a discussion board in eConestoga.
  4. Asking if there are photo-taking volunteers who can share the board work with a bit of an explanation.
  5. Asking for bloggers who are willing to video or write-up their advice for those who missed the class.

Sample Student Discussion Post Blog

If you get volunteers, you can offer to be a reference for students whose work habits and collegiality you get to know as they support their peers during this unexpected situation. Students are often eager to demonstrate their professionalism and to get references for job applications.

Live Streaming a Class: High Tech Solution

Technology allows us to temporarily use a hyflex model. This means students can participate in class while others view live online and still others watch when they are able. Here are some instructions and a few examples from faculty:

Instructions for live streaming a class

Resources for using Zoom Meeting

Remote Streaming using Teams

Remote Streaming using Zoom

Remote Streaming with OneNote and Teams

More Remote Streaming using Zoom

Students as Subject Matter Experts

Narrated Slide Shows

More Success with Zoom

Students Express their Appreciation

Writing Details

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  • Published: January 23, 2020
  • Word Count: 3862
  • Reading time: ~ 9 minutes
  • Rights: This work is ©2020 All Rights Reserved
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Kathryn Brillinger

Kathryn is the Director of Teaching and Learning at Conestoga, bringing more than 30 years of teaching experience in the Ontario college system, specializing in English as a Second Language learning, diversity and intercultural skills. Internationally, she has presented on the impact of nonverbal cues on communication endeavours, and solving teaching and intercultural dilemmas. Kathryn holds an M.Ed., and certificates in TESL and Intercultural Studies. Contact Kathryn to discuss suggestions regarding potential programming for Teaching and Learning.

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