Remote Learning: 6 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Students and Instructors Now 

Written by Explorance.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption in the academic space.  The scramble to rapidly adjust to an online learning environment has impacted higher education institutions, faculty, and students. 

Students may have had to relocate from campus physically, and at a minimum are adjusting to a new learning environment.  They may be experiencing feelings of isolation, confusion about what will happen regarding graduation or other important events/milestones that impact their course of study. Not to mention, they’re coping with personal concerns about their health and that of their family and friends.

Faculty and other instructional staff are racing to transform course materials, rethink how lab-based or collaborative group work can happen and learn new tools and technologies for course delivery that they may not be familiar with.   

Meanwhile, institutions are working through the logistics of the transition, broadly rolling out new tools to support online learning, safely shutting down physical facilities, and reallocating budgets to meet current needs. Teaching and learning departments are trying to support instructors who may not be accustomed to this format, and deans are adjusting to running their departments virtually. 

These dramatic changes would be challenging to execute under normal circumstances, let alone during a public health crisis.  We have entered uncharted territory, and the voice of the student and voice of the instructor matter now more than ever. 

Do you know which of your students or instructors is struggling with their new remote teaching and learning environment? How are they coping with the expectations required to be an effective virtual learner or instructor?  How distracted are your students and faculty by the current health crisis?  Institutions who have these answers are better equipped to help their students and faculty achieve the best outcomes during these uncertain times. 

At Explorance, we want to help by sharing a few questions that you can ask your students and faculty to quickly gather their perspectives and adjust communications, resources, and other supports accordingly. 

Questions for students:  

The first five questions are designed to be used with a scale of emoticons, stars, or traditional scale headers from strongly agree to strongly disagree.  The final question is open-ended. 

  1. At this time, I am confident in my personal health and safety. 
  2. I have the tools and resources needed to be a successful learner in a virtual environment. 
  3. I understand what is expected of me as a remote student. 
  4. I feel connected to my fellow students. 
  5. I feel connected to my instructors. 
  6. How can we improve your remote learning experience? 

Questions for faculty/instructors: 

  1. At this time, I am confident in my personal health and safety. 
  2. I have the tools and resources needed to be a successful instructor in a virtual environment. 
  3. I understand what is expected of me as a remote faculty member. 
  4. I feel connected to my fellow colleagues. 
  5. I feel connected to my students.
  6. How can we improve your remote teaching experience? 

Asking these questions shows that your institution cares, and thoughtful action based on the results will build confidence among faculty and students.   

In this time of significant change and uncertainty, there are bound to be challenges.  Institutions who understand the concerns and challenges facing their students and faculty and make rapid adjustments to improve will yield the best outcomes and greatest success for all. 

Feedback such as this must be timely and personal.  Explorance stands ready to assist your institution with innovative feedback solutions, including Bluepulse, a real-time, 2-way engagement tool that allows for instant, confidential feedback, and personalized follow up.  It’s easy to get started, and we are offering special incentives to help institutions gather the feedback they need.  Learn more about Bluepulse here. 


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