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International ESymposium: Remote Teaching for Student Wellness

Join in an online session August 18-19, 2020 to share thoughts and approaches to fostering student wellbeing in online learning. 



Across the world, university faculty and students shifted to remote education with little warning. This shift poses complex and varied learning challenges for students, confounded by the other COVID-19 demands and barriers they face. We know that well-being informs learning and teaching decisions affect wellness. Yet, the literature on online education offers little insight into designing remote courses for student wellness in emergency contexts.

As instructors teaching online this summer and fall, we seek dialogue with educators. We seek collaboration in learning about and addressing students’ immediate pedagogical needs in their emergency remote education. How can we develop pathways for educators to foster student wellbeing through this online medium under COVID-19?   

Read More from the Symposium Organizers...

The idea for this symposium was ignited after we conducted a preliminary survey about student well-being in April 2020 at UBC, with results coming from students in a range of disciplines and year-levels. Students responded to questions about their online transition experience, how connected they felt to their instructor and peers, how much autonomy they had in completing course requirements, and how all of this affected their overall well-being. The preliminary results are summarized in this open-access infographic, and we will release a more detailed report before the Fall semester. The survey results highlight a deeper need for inquiry into the role of students in our pedagogy, cultivating a holistic approach to teaching and learning regardless of medium. 

Please join us in August to reflect on teaching for student wellness under COVID-19. We welcome submissions from educators in all post-secondary institutions and disciplines around the globe. 


Katherine Lyon (

Siobhán McPhee (



Day One - August 18th

Keynote Presentation

“Teaching the Whole Student: Fostering Empathy and Wellbeing in our Classrooms," Dr. Sarah Bunnell, Amherst College

Oral Sessions

The aim of the oral sessions is to enable university faculty and staff to share their experience of adapting courses and supporting student wellbeing during the recent transition to remote teaching. It is also an opportunity for faculty and staff to share lessons learned and anticipated formats and plans in-place for teaching online for September 2020. Each session will include a total of 4-5 presentations  with an opportunity for questions and general discussion at the end. Each presenter should aim to give a 15 minute presentation. The sessions are organized around the themes of:  

  • Course design and student wellness in online contexts.
  • Approaches to distance teaching under COVID-19.
  • Is this the future of education? What lessons can we learn and what should we continue to foster in face to face teaching and learning?

Day Two - August 19th 

Facilitated Roundtable Discussions

Roundtable participants will collaboratively generate guiding principles for educators, students and university leaders. The aim of the roundtables is to be spaces for sharing, reflecting and collaborating on how best to move forward for online teaching and learning in September 2020. The roundtables will involve student voices as well as faculty and staff from universities all over the world. Each roundtable session will be 60 minutes in length and will be moderated. Applicants only need to express an interest in one of the roundtables but no formal submissions are required. 

  1. How to combine synchronous and asynchronous approaches to remote teaching
  2. Longer-term lessons for how to better integrate educational technologies and emerging media into teaching and learning pedagogies
  3. Best practices in online assessment and student well-being
  4. Student wellbeing and student voice in remote education 
  5. English as an Additional Language (EAL) and International Student Wellness 
Call for Abstracts 

If you are interested in presenting during the oral sessions, and participating in the roundtable discussions please complete this brief registration and proposal form by July 31. 


Registration is free, but space is limited.

Register Now. 


Transition to Remote Learning Infographic


See Full Infographic 


This event is hosted by the Departments of Sociology and Geography at the University of British Columbia, with support from the UBC ISoTL Institute and UBC Student Health & Wellbeing Office. Please contact with any questions.

Register Now. 

We all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. By championing wellbeing, we can build stronger and more inclusive communities at UBC and beyond.