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Time zones

Global Community Hour: Teaching & Learning Across Time Zones

This panel presentation highlights a range of solutions to the unique challenges of teaching and learning across time zones.

This panel presentation highlights a range of solutions to the unique challenges of teaching and learning across time zones. In this hour-long discussion, current students and faculty share their insights and experiences in developing inclusive online learning spaces. Featuring panelists: Rohan Mehta, Jessica Yuan, Laura Robinson (Sociology) and Allia Griffin (Ethnic Studies). 

Four strategies that I shared during the panel from my experience teaching across time zones are listed below: 

One: Make All Content Available on Camino/Canvas from Day One 

Providing all course content online from the beginning of the course allows students to visualize the amount of work required in a course so that they can plan ahead as well as work at their own pace. One way to divide the material is to set up weekly modules in Camino/Canvas. 

Two: Rename “Student Hours” and Include Appointment Sign-Ups 

This is a small linguistic shift that resulted in a major difference in the amount of students that came. Clearly identifying this time as for the students can also make “office hours” more approachable. Some faculty use scheduling tools such as BookMe, Calendly, and Doodle. Another option is to make all weekly sign-ups available on the Camino page (as a page that students can edit). I indicate that students can sign-up individually if they would like to meet one-on-one or they can also sign-up as a group.  

Three: Create Learning Communities 

I expand on Learning Communities in a separate post (see here). In short, they are small groups that students meet with on a weekly basis (either during break-out sessions in class or they schedule their own time to meet if the course is asynchronous). Learning Communities foster student learning and belonging in the classroom. 

Four: Combine Sections on Camino 

This Fall, I taught three sections of ETHN 5: Introduction to Race & Ethnicity in the US with a total of 90 students. I combined all three sections so that all international students in the same time zone could be in a Learning Community together. 

One additional idea for enhancing student engagement during this time of virtual teaching and learning is to replace written discussion posts with audio or visual posts. Students can record short audio or video clips on Camino and have the opportunity to hear or see their peers. 


About the Contributor 

Allia Ida Griffin is a Lecturer in the Department of Ethnic Studies. Her research and teaching interests include MENA/SWANA Diaspora Studies, African American Literature and Performance, and Carceral Studies. Her writing has appeared in Lateral and contemporary.