• Distance Learning

3 Ways To Help Remote Students With Homework

Like many teachers, you have demonstrated incredible resilience by adapting to the many changes remote learning has introduced to the traditional learning experience.  You have embraced new ways to teach lessons online, assign homework, and maximize time with your students.  But even with all these changes, one thing remains consistent: for students to achieve success with their homework, they will need extra help and guidance to fully understand the new lessons and concepts taught in class. 

The problem is time. On top of preparing and conducting regularly scheduled live classes, your time to work one-on-one with students in a virtual learning environment is extremely limited. You may already be holding numerous weekly office hours via Zoom, frequently checking your inbox and class discussion boards to assist students who need help.  But this can be inefficient and lead to burnout. 

So how do you best support individual students in a remote learning environment using the limited time you have available?

To avoid burnout, here are three strategies that seasoned online teachers use to give struggling students additional help with assignments and homework.

1. Explain and introduce homework assignments before class

One strategy that gives your students an easy way to digest what is expected from a homework assignment is to record and share a quick video in which you explain the assignment. In your recording, you can be short and brief, or go into greater depth, referencing elements of other learning materials, including recordings from your flipped class lessons, that help to reinforce the concepts students will need to complete their homework assignments.  

In advance, you can share your homework explainer video through Google Classroom or your learning management system. Students can review the video as needed and better familiarize themselves with the assignment. Then come to class (or Zoom office hours) prepared with any questions. 

2. Show, tell and share

Another strategy that works well is to leverage your prior experience in teaching the class.  New classes of students often struggle with the same concepts that prior students did.  By anticipating these impending struggles, you can pre-record a video that touches on the challenging parts of the assignment and provides tips and tricks for working through them. 

You can even take this strategy one step further and address common questions as they arise. As questions about assignments pour into your class discussion board or even your inbox, you can quickly record answers and instantly share them with your students using Google Classroom, YouTube, or your learning management system.  

With a video, you have the flexibility to share it with the entire class or only the students who are struggling. By sharing a recorded video, even if it’s just a recorded PowerPoint presentation, students can get help, when and where they need it.  And because this all happens outside of live Zoom sessions, your live class time can now be used to ensure the entire class stays on track as they move through your course.  

3. Respond to student questions in a new way

Students aren’t always comfortable asking questions in live virtual sessions.  This doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have questions about their homework assignments. Fortunately, students can ask for help using alternative online communication channels, such as discussion boards or reaching out through a course page in the learning management system.

Although these solutions allow students to submit written questions, teachers can often be left wondering the intention or need behind the questions.  By contrast, having your students record and submit their questions using video can minimize the confusion that can often arise through text-based communications. In a video, students can ask their questions in their voices and give context by also recording their screen

Give Recording A Try

Easy-to-record videos offer a flexible, efficient, and effective medium for teaching remote students — without sacrificing valuable time in live class sessions.  And you don’t have to wait to begin putting the strategies we share into action.


Record your screen with Panopto Express, a free online screen recorder.

Share instantly through YouTube, Google Classroom, or anyway you prefer.
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