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How Faculty Members Can Support Students in Traumatic Times from The Chronicle of Higher Education

Identifying and Supporting Students of Concern in a Remote Learning Environment FAQs

With UH transitioned to remote instruction in response to the COVID-19, faculty teaching in this new environment may have questions about how to recognize students of concern. Depending on the nature of the course, the number of students enrolled, and the extent of contact faculty had with students in their physical classroom, recognizing students of concern may not be markedly different. Here are some FAQs to help guide faculty in determining when students may need extra attention or a referral to campus resources.

In many respects, the same behaviors that concern you in a classroom environment continue to be concerning when learning remotely. Be particularly attuned to changes in behavior during this transition. Is a typically highly engaged student now seemingly disengaged? Are assignments late? Maybe the student has stopped showing up for instruction and is not attempting to engage you during office hours. Do they seem overly tired and now not interested in the course material? All of these changes may suggest that concerns are present or may be looming.
All student support services are providing services to students remotely. The most up-to-date information for essential student mental health services can be found on the www.uh.edu/caps
Depends. Many students have had online classes before, so adjustment to remote learning may not be significant. Still, this environment is different, so we can expect students (and some faculty) to be initially overwhelmed with moving all of their instruction online and adjusting to different instructional styles. Expect students to struggle initially with working the technology, and learning how to meet your expectations now that instruction has moved entirely online.
This is a crucial concern. If, particularly after an initial period of adjustment, a student seems overly frustrated, overwhelmed, or distressed, take note. Encourage the student to speak with you during online office hours, or seek assistance from other campus resources (UH Information Technology, 713-743-1411) to resolve technology concerns or frustrations with the online environment. If concerns appear to be more personal in nature (i.e., difficulty setting up an appropriate learning environment from home, personal and financial struggles), suggest the student check in with CAPS, 713-743-5454.
Reach out to the student first and invite them to meet with you during online office hours. Talk with them to try to uncover the issues possibly behind the behaviors so you can have a better idea of an appropriate referral. Refer classroom disruptions to the Dean of Students ((832) 842-6183 or DOS@uh.edu), emotional of mental health concerns to CAPS (713-743-5454), or need additional academic support to LAUNCH.
Be patient with your students, and with yourself. Expect technology glitches and problems, so you aren’t surprised by them. Empathize with students’ frustrations while also providing reassurance that we are all learning together and will get better as time goes on. Be reasonable with your expectations.