Asynchronous teaching activities – Tips

Laura Hollinshead, Learning Technologist-Curriculum Development

Here are some tips for delivering asynchronous (access anytime) teaching activities, gathered from academic staff across the University. Some of these ideas are about the type of learning resources or activities you provide whilst others look at how you sequence these to guide students through their remote learning.

A student on a video call

Ideas for learning resources or activities

  • Provide video summaries of you talking through didactic content to keep live sessions focused on interactive elements.
  • Pose focused questions during your recordings which students can reflect on and then bring their answers to a live session or discussion.
  • Create a series of podcasts (using Panopto) to answer student questions.
  • Create online spaces where students can interact and collaborate with each other to help them with peer learning and continue a sense of community while they are learning at a distance. Microsoft Teams, Groups in Blackboard, Padlet and open ended collaborate spaces can be useful for this.
  • Create formative quizzes which students can use to help revise content from sessions and test what they remember. This can also help preparation for an assessment getting them to review the key areas to consider when completing the assessment.
  • Using scenarios or case studies can be a great way to encourage students to express their opinions and share them with each other. As in the classroom, remember to set out the etiquette around these interactions so students know what to expect and feel safe to express their thoughts.

Tips on how to help facilitate student learning when teaching asynchronously

  • Reading and responding to contributions from your students to discussion boards or other collaborative documents helps them to see you value their contribution and are there to help them to extend their thinking beyond their initial ideas. Without this student engagement in these areas can often be low as they do not see the point of sharing their thoughts if no one is going to engage with them.
  • Creating an online collaborative area is only one step in getting students to engage, you need to provide a clear purpose for students to interact in these spaces perhaps initially providing a series of activities which gradually reduce your involvement once activities become more established. Consider creating a number of areas with clear purposes such as an FAQ area where students are encouraged to answer their own questions and staff step in when needed
  • Set weekly tasks and ask students to discuss and work on that task in the collaborative area. Setting up a new thread or conversation for each new task helps to keep the thread together and makes it clear where students need to contribute for that task.
  • Think about how the different activities you are asking students to engage with link learning together. Have you made it clear to students how participating in these contributes to the learning outcomes for the module?
  • Make sure the instructions you set for each learning activity are clear and concise making it easier for students to understand what you are asking them to do, and how you’re asking them to do it.
  • Remember to consider whether the learning opportunities you are providing are inclusive. For instance, have you ensured the videos you have provided have captions? Have you checked the accessibility score of your resources using the Ally tool in Blackboard? Will students home circumstances prevent them from participating in the activities you have provided? What could they do instead?

I am sure you all may have your own tips and hints to share so feel free to let us know at so, we can share these within the university community.