Asynchronous courses are a cornerstone of online learning. At the same time, asynchronous courses present challenges in terms of self-motivation, community-based learning, and combating feelings of isolation. One approach to addressing some of these challenges is to add synchronous elements to your online course. When used correctly, synchronous elements can add a layer of direct interaction and engagement that doesn’t detract from the benefits of the asynchronous format. However, adding synchronous elements isn’t as easy as just setting up regular meeting times. We need to plan with purpose, diligence, and a bit of creativity.

One of the adjustments for our team in working remotely is that we have fewer impromptu conversations about current trends or topics in higher education. As part of a move to reconnect and promote scholarly discourse beyond our day-to-day work, several team members decided to participate in a mini bookclub to read and discuss Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead), edited by Susan D. Blum.