"Profs Teaching Online Need to Focus on Increasing Their Compassion Toward Students" (post) lists ways instructors can show compassion to students -- an important complement to active-learning and engagement strategies for both student retention and student success.
- "To be compassionate, means that we recognize we are all co-suffering, and that it is part of our work to have a sensitivity to and help to minimize some of that suffering."
- "We convey to our students that they are active participants in their education, and – although it may sound trivial – that we care about them."
- "In time, we may even find that compassion is one of the most important and effective engagement strategies – regardless of delivery mode."
1. Compassionate Pedagogical Strategies
- "Increased flexibility on due dates and times"
- "Generous assessment expectations including multiple attempts, more open book opportunities, and increased time compared to face-to-face equivalents"
- "Reviewing and rewriting assignment and test questions to better fit open book and even internet-searchable responses"
- "Replacing stressful online tests with projects or case studies"
- "Recording all synchronous delivery and making it available for asynchronous learning as well"
2. Compassionate Community Strategies
- "Check in with your students, ask them how they are doing."
- "Creat[e] spaces that are as safe as possible."
- "Liste[n] to and anticipating diverse student needs."
- "Believe your students when they say they are struggling."
- "Trust them to be doing their best."
- "Be transparent about some of your own struggles and establish your own boundaries."
3. Necessary Caveats
- "[B]eing kind and having compassion does not excuse students who ignore or fail to meet clearly-defined criteria, nor does it lower learning expectations or undermine your role as the instructor."
- "However, being kind and having compassion does create healthy classrooms, lower anxiety, fear, and shame and also models important behaviour for life outside of and after university."