The global switch to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic may be the new normal for many educational institutions going forward. However, having lectures recorded and uploaded on to a learning management system (LMS) may not be enough to impart a holistic education.
In fact, universities need to consider is classroom interaction with the teacher, peer-to-peer learning and team-based projects, as well. What can institutions, professors and tutors do to change the way they teach online? Here are seven practical tips:
1. Keep it simple
- Organise content on the LMS such that it is easy to find and easy to follow.
- Use widely available technologies (but not too many!) for live classes with share screen facilities & chat features. Zoom and 8×8.vc are good options.
- Provide virtual environments so that students are not required to install subject-area specific software.
- Systematically share external resources such as real-life case studies, practice questions, and podcasts to develop further understanding of the topics.
2. Promote teamwork
- Keep teams small and diverse to both keep the logistics simple and encourage different perspectives. Be aware of team-member time zones and design teams accordingly.
- According to pediatrician and teen health expert, Dr. Anisha Abraham, “Students who are currently doing online course work tell me that they miss the personal element and feel socially isolated. Also, that it can be hard to stay motivated to do their work alone. Creating small groups that meet regularly during the week to discuss projects or assignments can help foster teamwork and more personal interactions especially for those who are more reserved and more cautious about sharing information in larger forums. Incorporating small groups sessions can be an important strategy for keeping students engaged and supported.”
- Build in opportunities to share regular feedback so that team members can discuss what is and what is not working while collaborating online.
3. Be responsive
- Public forums for questions related to course content allow classroom-type interaction between students and with the teacher.
- Individual queries and concerns raised by students to the teacher privately should be addressed as quickly as possible.
- One-to-one/or one-to-many catch up sessions can be facilitated through designated ‘office hours’ for students to who need guidance on specific topics.
4. Prepare for class
- Provide students with short pre-work assignments and/or inform them well in advance about learning materials that will be required for upcoming lectures and activities.
- According to Dr Abraham, “Sending regular update as to what will be covered for the week and when large assignments will be due can be helpful for students who are juggling multiple classes and tasks”
5. Encourage engagement
- Initiate online classes with an activity that encourages active participation. This will set the right tone and motivate students to remain active throughout the class.
- Allow individuals or groups of students to take leadership over certain topics by moderating discussion forums.
- Don’t forget to give students a short 10-minute break during any class longer than 60 minutes. This enables them to refresh and re-engage for the rest of the session. According to Dr Abraham, “Many students are spending long periods of time on their screens. Encourage them to take a non-digital break during the designated class break time by stretching, meditating, or going for a short walk. Also encourage students to make sure they have a few hours off the computer in general during the day to eat, exercise, sleep and to connect with friends or family.”
6. Be aware of logistical issues
- Students may face challenges at home such as sharing the an internet connection with other family members, therefore making it difficult to stream online videos.
- As students have returned to their home countries, lectures at in the middle of their night will be less than productive; and even though they login, the question still remains – do you have a plan to keep them actively engaged? Be aware of the needs of your students by asking about where and when they are logging on to sessions.
Lore support educators by giving them ready access to learning resources. Instead of spending countless hours uploading materials online, teachers can spend this time focusing on the personal situations that students are experiencing and identify effective ways to support them through their learning process.
Here are just a few ways that Lore’s features and functionality can help educators during this unique period.
- Learning Pathways provide students with a multitude of learning resources to keep them engaged on a specific topic
- LoreForTeams allows teachers to assign learning lists based on subject area, track progress and follow up to see where students might need some help
- Lore offers a wide range of learning options; students can ‘compare’ options to choose between different providers to pick up a new skill or enhance their understanding of a topic already covered in class
Get in touch at [email protected] and we can help you make the most of teaching and learning remotely.
- PDF: Four Weeks In: 10 Lessons from Teaching Online at Duke Kushan University