Like onground courses, online courses require students to engage with each other either synchronously or asynchronously, both in individual and team discussions, and sometimes about sensitive material. Explore best practices in creating safe, respectful and inclusive online teaching environments. Students should be reminded that we do not come to our courses with identical backgrounds and experiences, and that building on what we already know about collaborating, listening, and engaging is critical to successful professional, academic, and scientific engagement with topics.
Sample language may include:
Students are expected to engage with each other in respectful and thoughtful ways.
In group work, this can mean:
- Setting expectations with your groups about communication and response time during the first week of the semester (or as soon as groups are assigned), and contacting the TA or instructor if scheduling problems cannot be overcome.
- Setting clear deadlines and holding yourself and each other accountable.
- Determining the roles group members need to fulfill to successfully complete the project on time.
- Developing a rapport prior to beginning the project (what prior experience are you bringing to the project, what are your strengths as they apply to the project, what do you like to work on?)
In a group discussion, this can mean:
- Respecting the identities and experiences of your classmates.
- Avoiding broad statements and generalizations. Group discussions are another form of academic communication and responses to instructor questions in a group discussion are evaluated. Apply the same rigor to crafting discussion posts as you would for a paper.
- Considering your tone and language, especially when communicating in text format, as the lack of other cues can lead to misinterpretation.
Like other work in the course, all student-to-student communication is covered by the Student Conduct Code.
This guideline borrows heavily from student engagement and responsible language authored by the Office of E-Learning and Academic Technology in the UMN School of Public Health.