As any teacher will tell you, teaching online is a completely different game from teaching in person. In addition to holding the attention of a screen full of students, all of whom are possibly being distracted by things in their environment that you have no control of, you don’t have the ability to really see what they are doing, so it’s much more difficult to tell if one of your students is struggling.
Online learning is here to stay, and so it’s worth learning a few things to help it to go smoothly.
Empower Students Ability To Work Independently
With online learning, there will naturally be a lot more independent working than there is with classroom learning. It will take some work to get students to a point where they are used to studying independently, but this is a skill that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
Fresno Pacific online teaching courses provide teachers with the skills that they need to empower their students so that they feel confident with independent study. They also offer guidance on teaching the organizational and research skills that will make independent study a success.
Build An Online Teaching Community
One of the biggest challenges with online learning is that students (and teachers) can feel isolated, which makes it more difficult for them to ask for help.
Some ideas that you can use to build a community culture for online learning are:
- Writing prompts. Share a writing prompt on the screen and ask everyone to go away and work on it for a few minutes. Then bring everyone back and move them into breakout rooms to discuss what they have written in small groups. This act of group discussion will help people to connect with one another.
- Play ‘That’s Me!’. The way it works is that a student makes a statement, for example ‘I have a dog.’ Anyone else who also has a dog would chime in and say ‘That’s Me!’ For this to work you’ll need an online communication platform where students can control their microphones and cameras.
It’s also worth ensuring that you have messageboards operational (even if you use a Facebook group) so that students have a place to put their questions as they come up.
Get To Know Your Tech
Technology can sometimes work in unexpected ways, so it’s important that you spend some time getting to know your technology before using it in a real-life teaching situation. This will make things run much more smoothly.
Ask For Feedback
Regularly receiving feedback will help you to understand what is working well, and what isn’t working so well. Ask meaningful questions on both technical and non-technical issues such as:
- Have you been able to find all of the information you need easily?
- Were the fonts easy to read?
- Were all of the links working?
- Do you feel that you’ve understood the topic we’ve discussed today?
- Are there any points you would like clarified?
Think carefully about meaningful questions that you can ask to encourage students to speak up if they are struggling. This will give you the information you need to keep making your course better.