“Compassionate Instruction: Building Support in Online Spaces” (Standard)

Wednesday, June 9, 3pm EDT

Elena Rodriguez (College of Charleston)

Teaching online can often feel impersonal and distant. Combined with the stress and anxiety that comes with ever changing situations, educators and students alike can find themselves overwhelmed and without the support they feel they need in order to be successful. As the “new normal” the Covid-19 pandemic brought to the world continues to endure, there is an increased, worthy call to exhibit patience and compassion with students who are struggling. Despite the challenges 2020 brought to our door, the practice of sincere empathy in our teaching is one that we should maintain. This type of support encourages students to recognize the importance of their own mental health, particularly when – as an instructor – you prioritize it for them by providing a space that demonstrates your desire to understand and that they are not alone.

This session will explore how safe, open communicative spaces were created during an asynchronous, one-credit library research elective course. While these suggestions are made with credit bearing instruction in mind, they can also be applied to one-shot or embedded librarian instruction with obvious modification.

In this session, participants will:

  • Be able to develop ways to create an open line of communication with students through messaging and/or check-in meetings throughout the semester with web tools like Zoom.
  • Recognize the importance of student-created learning environments based on their expressed needs.
  • Be able to assess their own limitations based on their own work-life balance.

This session reflects the experiences of one librarian in online teaching. It is important to note that in certain scenarios, the best action is to direct students to appropriate resources that are better equipped to support their emotional needs.