Strategies to Help Students Get Back on Track Following COVID

COVID-19 has impacted all levels of learning. Achievement gaps have been exacerbated and are more widespread given the disruptions to learning caused by the COVID pandemic. How can we at Mines help students overcome the challenges created by COVID?

First, recognize two things:

  1. Students are not the problem; COVID has impacted and limited opportunities to learn, and we need to deal with those implications.
  2. Instructors are human (with limited time and resources) and can only do the best job that they can do given the situation.

Second, incorporate strategies to identify and address gaps in learning:

Strategy: Examples:
Seek student input
  • Ask students how things are going and what they need
  • Listen (and respond when possible) to the concerns shared by students
  • Incorporate a mid-course feedback survey to collect anonymous feedback
  • Muddiest point: ask students to respond to the question “what was the most unclear or confusing thing from the lecture/homework/exam/etc.”
Gauge students’ background knowledge
  • Quick inventory: provide a list of statements related to course content and ask students to identify if those statements are true or false
  • Background knowledge quiz: at the beginning of a unit, ask students to complete a short quiz (multiple choice, true/false questions) on concepts
  • Concept Map: Ask students to draw a concept map showing main concepts and connections between concepts at the beginning and/or end of a unit
  • Use concept inventories (multiple choice tests that target concepts in a particular domain (e.g., mechanics) and are designed to uncover misconceptions)
Build in frequent “checkpoints”
  • Break larger assignments into smaller, more frequent deliverables
  • Break larger exams into smaller, more frequent quizzes
  • Incorporate activities into class sessions where students can solve problems, work with peers, and receive help from the instructor
Provide resources
  • Provide students with supplemental reading, targeted activities, and/or self-guided modules in your Canvas course
  • Schedule “targeted” office hours (focused on a particular concept/homework assignment/etc.) where you can meet identified needs
Encourage students to seek help Throughout the course, encourage students to:

  • Ask questions (during class/office hours, of instructors, of their peers)
  • Work/study/learn together
  • Use CASA support including tutoring and core review sessions
  • Attend office hours with questions
Offer opportunities to revise and resubmit work
  • Allow students to make corrections and explain errors and corrections on assignments or exams
  • Ask students to self-evaluate their work prior to submitting
  • Incorporate peer evaluations
  • Think-Pair-Revise-Share: propose a problem and ask students to first solve the problem individually, then pair up with a partner to discuss the problem and revise their work, then groups share answers/approaches
Collaborate with colleagues
  • Attend Trefny Events (e.g., WAC and Large Class Brainstorming Sessions) designed to create cross discipline conversations about teaching and learning (more events here)

Download a PDF Handout:

Ways Educators Can Help Students Get Back on Track Following COVID_v3