Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

For Faculty

For Faculty

Dean and Professor Marvin Chun lectures to a hall of undergraduate studentss. Students sit in class at tables in the Poorvu Center.

On this page:
What We Do
Faculty Guide to Time Zone Challenges
What Faculty Can Do to Support Student Learning

What We Do

Students begin Yale College with a wide range of educational experiences that affect how they engage and learn in their courses. The Academic Strategies Program is designed to share knowledge with Yale students about the mindsets, techniques and practices that can best help them find satisfaction in their learning and ownership in their educational choices. To help students learn about our services, invite an Academic Strategies Peer Mentor to offer a 2-minute presentation at the beginning or end of your class. You can request this by contacting the Director of Academic Strategies, Dr. Karin Gosselink, at karin.gosselink@yale.edu.


Each Academic Strategies workshop offers both metacognitive and practical approaches to students’ academic work. Led by junior and senior Yale College students, these workshops address common academic challenges for many Yale students, including managing their time, cultivating faculty mentorship, learning effective strategies for lectures, seminars, and exams, managing a heavy reading load, and creating plans for a senior thesis. You can find information about upcoming workshops here or you can email Dr. Gosselink (karin.gosselink@yale.edu) to find out more.

Peer Mentoring: Both 1-1 and Small Group

Our Academic Strategies Mentors offer individual and small group peer consultations to help students develop approaches to their academic work tailored to their specific strengths, needs, and challenges. Students often use these meetings to plan their work in busy periods of the semester, such as midterms and finals, or to get advice on new approaches to their work for particularly challenging courses. Students can set up mentoring appointments through this online schedule: https://yalectl.mywconline.com/index.php?msgLOG=YES or by emailing us directly to request a mentor at academicstrategies@yale.edu. Back to top

Faculty Guide to Time Zone Challenges

Working online from different time zones can add an extra dimension of challenge and stress for many students; this problem is especially acute for international students. While students in the coming semester will be encouraged to tailor their schedules to manageable class times, you may still have students who are taking your 2:30 pm seminar at 2:30 am their time. Student feedback from spring 2020 suggests that purposeful teacher pedagogy, open dialogue, and faculty flexibility can help maximize learning and reduce difficulties for students. Suggestions for instructors include:

Name the Problem
Invite students to reach out directly to you with logistical concerns and make specific mention of those related to time zone challenges. Given that these classroom communities will be developing largely online, it is particularly important to name the problem and ask for student input. You might survey students early in the class to find out which time zones they are in. Students should feel comfortable raising these concerns with you and will benefit from explicit talk about this issue at the outset of class. 

Share Asynchronous Teaching Material Early
Asynchronous teaching elements can be enormously helpful to students in different time zones and relieve the pressure on student schedules. Try to make flipped lecture content, such as videos and lecture slides, available to students before class meetings. This will enable students in different time zones have time to view it before your synchronous class. Other additional materials to structure their learning experience, such as outlines or discussion questions, can support comprehension as well as improve engagement.

Collaborative Work
Collaborative work can be particularly challenging for international students, especially in smaller classes where there may be fewer students from similar time zones. Classroom surveys may allow students to match with others in their personal time zones more easily. Assignments that allow for asynchronous collaboration or fewer in-person meetings are another possibility, as is a flexible option that allows for independent work. 

Organize Study Groups
Many students find study groups valuable, but they often develop around spontaneous interactions on campus. If possible, explicitly facilitate the development of student study groups by helping interested students in similar time zones find each other.

Flexible Timing
Timed deadlines create unnecessary stress for international students, since a 5 pm deadline can mean a 5 am deadline for some individuals. Identifying a range of time to submit an assessment of complete an exam may be easier for most students. You might need to adjust office hours to accommodate an international student’s more limited schedule. In some cases, alternative assessments (a harder and longer problem set, an essay) may be a better fit for students living far away. Students mentioned that having the option of choice in assignments and assessments allowed them to identify the learning method or assessment that worked best for their situation. Back to top

How Faculty Can Support Students’ Academic Efforts

1) Normalize asking for help

Last year, 51% of Yale College students attended academic support programming. This programming includes course-based peer tutoring, Science & QR tutoring, writing tutoring, and Academic Strategies workshops and mentoring. These services are not remedial; instead, they offer students opportunities to reflect critically on their own academic practices and find information and support as they develop new ways of approaching the challenging work Yale classes require. You can help by advertising these services broadly in your class lectures and discussions, and providing information about these services in your syllabus and on your Canvas site. General information about these services can be found here: https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/Undergraduates

2) As a group, ask your students to tell you about their previous experience with your course’s topic/discipline

Understanding what students know and don’t know about the course topic can help you fill in gaps and make explicit connections that can help all students better understand the content and frameworks in your course.

3) Practice inclusive teaching strategies

Inclusive teaching strategies can benefit all students by creating multiple points of access to the topic and encouraging all students to contribute to the academic conversation fostered in your course. For more information about inclusive teaching practices, visit the Poorvu Center’s Faculty Resources page: https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/FacultyResources/Diversity-Inclusion.

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Other Ways to Contribute

Want to work directly with students participating in Academic Strategies programming and/or the First-Generation/Low-Income (FGLI) Community Initiative (co-sponsored by the Yale College Dean’s Office and the CTL)? Occasionally Academic Strategies and the FGLI Community Initiative host one-off events where faculty participation can help students further develop and practice the strategies they’ve learned through our programming. 

Questions? Contact Karin Gosselink, Ph.D., Director, Academic Strategies Program: karin.gosselink@yale.edu.