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Welcome back. Hope your first week of classes got off to a good start, or as good as it can be. I think most of us are getting a bit more comfortable with remote teaching strategies. Students seem a bit more adapted, and many of my students have expressed ways that they are going to approach the start of this semester differently than last.

We’ve learned a few things by listening to students during their Fall semester. What did we learn? The Keep Teaching team has summarized the data collected by the Office of Undergraduate Education via student surveys. The result is a useful resource that helps distill strategies that students found most successful, and it provides ideas about executing these strategies in your teaching. To accompany this Keep Teaching resource, I will be co-hosting, with Viji Sathy, a 30- minute workshop to share Zoom tips for interacting with students in any size class. We’ll do this for two different date/time options.

College of Arts and Sciences: Zoom Tips and Tricks

(hosted by Kelly Hogan and Viji Sathy)

We’ll model and share ways to bring inclusive activities into a live Zoom class that can also help build community. We hope participants will share their tips too. These sessions will be recorded too.

Jan 29: 12:00-12:30 p.m. (feel free to stick around longer for informal chat)

Feb 2:  4:00-4:30 p.m. (feel free to stick around longer for informal chat)

I wanted to share a few other thoughts as we start the semester.

  1. Show students how to update their Zoom app, customize their profile, and add pronouns and name pronunciations to Sakai. Be sure to prompt your students to update to the most recent version of Zoom, so you can use all the features together. For example, students can’t self-select a breakout room if they have an older version. You can share this resource I made for my students or make something similar. Within that resource, I also show students how to customize both their Zoom and Sakai profiles. I’m excited that students can now add audio to their Sakai files for name pronunciations. As the instructor, you can learn how to access these here.
  2. Learn tips from others. I recently learned a new tip for using Zoom that I plan to use in each class from CFE’s Remote Teaching Field Notes. This is a place where instructors can share very short ideas about their successes in remote teaching. You should add something too! The tip I’m excited to use was a posting about Zoom chat “pen pals.” By using the private message tool, you can assign students to pairs (or to TAs in large classes) to answer questions or have quick discussions. With 250 students, I’m finding this to be an effective and quick way to engage everyone, and it is an alternative to the lengthier breakout room activities I also do.
  3. Making connections with students. As we start this semester, we know many of our students are craving connection. It is nice to see our instructors and departments featured by students for their efforts. For example, last semester, the DTH interviewed Rodriguez Gomez, who said his political science professor sent out a questionnaire to get to know his students. The professor then plays music that a student listed as their favorite. “Every time before class starts, he also tries to get to know every student in the first five minutes of class,” Rodriguez Gomez said. “He calls on a student and just converses with them a little bit to see what their life is like or to sometimes tell them a joke.” And this very recent article highlights the efforts of the music department to ensure students can collaborate effectively and stay connected to their creative outlets.
  4. Congratulations to all the Teaching Award winners! Note that 18 of the 25 winners were excellent faculty and graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  5. Panopto. While I still feel a bit clumsy with the tool, I’ve started recording some videos for my asynchronous sessions using Panopto. One thing I really like about it is that you can edit out middle portions of the video (which can’t be done with Zoom). I’ve found most of what I need to start using this resource through videos and tutorials. You can start at for all questions related to this tool.

Take care of yourself and thank you for all you do to take care of our students. While only the voice of one first-year student I recently met, this student expressed amazement at the care she received remotely at Carolina.



Kelly A Hogan, PhD
Associate Dean of Instructional Innovation
QEP Director,
College of Arts & Sciences

STEM Teaching Professor, Department of Biology, CB#3280
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
preferred pronouns: she/her

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