There are a few key things to keep in mind when you’re trying to teach effectively online. First, create a dedicated space for learning, for both your self and your students.
This can be a physical space in your home where either you or your students can sit down and focus, or it can be a virtual space where you can keep all of your learning materials organized. Second, set realistic goals for yourself and your students: build in breaks so that both yourself and your students don’t get overwhelmed.
Third, take advantage of the many resources that are available online, such as discussion forums, video lectures, and online quizzes. Take these learnings and use them to implement in your education. Don’t be afraid: the newer generation of students are digitally native. To them, this is par for the course in their every day experiences. Learn to harness these experiences. Even if yourself are not an “internet native”, it doesn’t mean you can’t utilize this digital framework to help educate your students.
Finally, make sure to stay motivated by setting small goals and celebrating your successes along the way. This not only applies to yourself, but to your students. Remember, for your students, this is just the beginning on their pathway to learning. You need to motivate them. Small goals are much more acheivable than larger goals, which can often seem unreachable for a new student.
- Give very clear instructions:
What do the students need to read, watch, and write? How much should they write? How do they set it out? Be clear about what you expect to see in their work. What key knowledge and skills does it need to demonstrate? Set it out as simply and concisely as possible.
- Keep passages of text and videos short:
Concentration declines very quickly online, particularly with the distractions of social media close at hand. Students generally need more ‘chunking’ of information online than they do face to face.
- Feedback keeps students engaged and builds a sense of connection:
Timeliness is difficult but particularly important. Screen-casting can be very effective for formative feedback. Aim to keep it as natural as possible and maintain authentic connections with students. This is more important than producing a perfect screencast. Monash’s Digital Education Research team have published a very informative resource about using technology to deliver student feedback
- Discussion or forum tasks need responses:
This can be from teachers or other classmates – students will generally give up if they feel no one is reading or viewing what they have said.
- Creat and build Checklists:
Checklists help students to organise their thinking and their time. Don’t be afraid to use them, they can be powerful. Remember, these are still students and a structure will still help them to organize their learning and development workflow.
- Avoid getting lost in fancy tools:
Everyone likes shiny new things, but sometimes it’s hard to stay grounded. Keep the emphasis on teaching and learning, not the bells and whistles. There are a lot of amazing resources available and the wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented.
- Provide scaffolded research tasks:
The internet can be overwhelming without guidance. Project-based learning provides strong opportunities for differentiation.
- Build-in self-assessment and reflection activities for students:
Constructive crticism is an essential tool of the education prcess. However you should always let your students assess themselves, and reflect on both their performance and understanding. Looking inwards is a key part of the educational process: make sure your students are adopting this approach.
- Encourage more than online learning and reading:
It can be difficult learning online and it’s ok to admit that. Be available to provide support when needed. Remote doesn’t have to mean alone.
- Encourage presentation of work in a variety of formats:
Learning and the presentation of learning can be shown in more than one way. Don’t assume the outputs of learning need to be done in a particular way. In today’s digital world, there are so many ways to present information. Whether documents, videos, animations or even social posts, there are so many ways to present evidence of learning. Don’t discount any format due to the dogma of previous academic settings.