Here are five things you should consider when going online.
Considerations for Online Teaching
Communicate with Students
Staying in touch with students is vital during class changes, whether a planned absence or crisis impacts all or part of campus. Tell students about changes in their schedule, assignments, procedures, and course expectations. Early and frequent communication can ease student anxiety and save you from dealing with individual questions.
Keep these principles in mind:
Distribute Course Materials and Readings
You will likely need to provide additional course materials to support your changing plans, from updated schedules to readings. These additions allow you to shift more instruction online. In a pinch, providing some new readings and related assignments may be your best bet to keep the intellectual momentum of the course moving.
Considerations when posting new course materials:
Depending on your course, you may need to deliver some lectures to keep the course moving forward. However, a 45-minute live lecture sprinkled with questions and activities can become grueling when delivered online without intellectual breaks. Here are a few suggestions to improve online lectures:
Foster Collaboration among Students
Fostering communication among students is essential. It allows you to reproduce any collaboration you build into your course and maintains a sense of community, helping keep students motivated to participate and learn. It helps if you already had some student-to-student online activity (e.g., Discussions) since students will be used to both the process and the tool.
Consider these suggestions when planning activities:
Use asynchronous tools when possible. Having students participate in live Zoom conversations can be helpful, but scheduling may be an issue, and only a few students will actively participate. (Just like in a regular classroom.) In such cases, using asynchronous tools, like discussion boards, fosters student interaction when used well. Frame slightly controversial or difficult questions to solicit responses. Some effective strategies are to ask students to post reflections on learning or solicit areas of difficulty.
AI’s Tips for Teaching Synchronously using Zoom section mentions using Zoom’s Breakout Room feature to have students discuss topics among themselves.
Assess Student Learning
It is relatively easy to give small quizzes to hold students accountable or do spot-checks on their learning. These quizzes might be ideal for keeping students on track during class disruptions. Providing high-stakes tests online can be difficult, putting extra stress on students. Test integrity will be challenging to ensure.