Just one more question… – being there for your students

Students have questions. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it less straightforward for some teachers to be approachable for their students.

In this Refresh Teaching event we will hear from several faculty members about how they created spaces for students to get answers to their questions.

Zoom Meeting room: https://ethz.zoom.us/j/577441230

Time: Thursday April 22th 2021 , 12:15-13:15

The pandemic has forced ETH students to adapt to a completely different study routine. In the middle of the Autumn Semester, they had to switch back to online teaching yet again. So how are they coping? In response to concerns about student mental health, an ad hoc survey was conducted in December of last year. The results in a nutshell: students feel they have good support, but the pandemic is still taking a heavy toll on their well- being (more info about the ad hoc-survey here). Among other things, the survey revealed how important it is for students in the time of distance learning that there is space to get answers to their questions. .

Although the survey did not prompt it, some students voluntarily shared examples of instructors with whom they had particularly positive learning experiences in distance learning and who created ways to be approachable for their students. Most of these were not mentioned by name, but some were. Three of them will share their ways to be approachable for threir students despite the lack of personal contact:


  • Jacob Corn (D-BIOL) teaches “Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology”, which is part of the bachelor curricula of Medicine and Health Science and Technology with ~500 students. He wil discuss how he encourages interaction and questions in such a large group in a virtual format.
  • Menny Akka Ginosar (D-MATH) teaches “Linear Algebra” for D-MATH and D-PHYS, one of the main first year courses with ~600 students enrolled. He will discuss how he handles asking and answering questions during and immediately after the lecture, as well as the more informal post-lecture space he’s created, allowing for a more relaxed processing of the lecture material as well as general and/or personal questions.
  • Thomas Gross (D-INFK) teaches “Introduction to Programming”, one of the four core courses for 1st-semester computer science students. There are 600 students enrolled, and about half of them attend the lectures.  He will discuss how he handles student questions during and after the lectures (without asking his teaching assistants to get up for an 8:00 am class).


Full length recording
Input Prof. Jacob Corn
Input Dr. Menny Akka Ginosar
Input Prof. Thomas Gross