It was a very unusual experience across North American college campuses. Professors who were confident that they would never teach online classes suddenly found themselves lecturing to a video camera. Furthermore, some of them were surprised by how easy the transitioning process has become. Of course, there have been particular glitches and difficulties, but for the most part, the academy can take pride in its response to teaching during the pandemic.
Some professors new to remote learning confess that they liked this experience so much that they would love to teach an online course further. And even those for whom such a way of educating students is against the grain should be ready to gird their loins, since theirs may be among the institutions that have decided to continue remote learning.
In this article, we are going to focus on how professors can look at online education not as at the emergency exception, but as at something normal for them in the coming months and how students can receive information in such educational way.
Recommendations for the Fall
The first thing for professors to realize is that they do not have to recreate online the experience students would have in a live classroom. Instead of striving to do so, consider remote learning as a completely different way of teaching.
One of the most important points to keep in mind is that rapport is more complicated to build. There are good ways to build it, among which breakout discussion groups, virtual office hours, tutorial sessions, etc., but it does not happen as fast as it does live. Besides, not all students react with the same urgency in an online class.
Despite a common opinion, as a recent study shows, remote learning does not work well for everyone. For example, older students often outmatch younger ones. And intellectual capacity is not the only reason for that. They are simply more disciplined and take online courses more seriously.
Here are some of the most effective recommendations for online education.
Establish Hard and Fast Expectations
Consider making a video of requirements and assessing metrics for your online course. Also, lectors should students to sign a statement that they viewed and agreed to the terms.
Professors have various approaches, but we recommend avoiding the following: extensions, retests, reopening threads. If students must participate in classes to get good grades, they have to let them know about it clearly. Establish the position that now means now as for students and lectors.
Please do not allow any leniency in your class. It is a bad practice not only for an online course but for any semester-long course. Once you allow any exceptions, it is almost impossible to stop this practice. Unless a student has a medical excuse or a dean’s directive, lectors should stick to public standards. Professors do not have to do students any favors because of their poor time management skills only because the course is online.
Logistics is often challenging. While synchronous classes sometimes occur, you should not assume it. Oftentimes, online courses gather students who live in different countries and time zones and have various circumstances. Among students, you can often see adults, young parents, and those with tight job schedules. Additionally, some students have to share computers. Simply put, everyone should be ready for asynchronous classes.
In spring 2020, every professor used the same course-support platform, and IT professionals had to make instructional assistance a top priority. The courses that last for a semester also have IT support, but you should not expect priority treatment — responses will not likely be immediate.
If professor considering a prolonged course, make sure to check which software and platforms are used. Besides, if you are not very experienced in online teaching, make sure to have a session with your IT department to get a better understanding of how the platform works and ways to fix common things that may go wrong. Make sure to do this as soon as possible, so you have an opportunity to test-drive the platform in advance.
Reimagine Your Role
Are you thinking of posting 50-minute lectures? Wait! Did you know that the standard for a single video lecture is between 10 and 15 minutes? Lectors can post more often than once per week, but make sure videos are brief, or they will not be viewed. Keep lectures short and add supporting materials separately.
Usually, successful online instructors act as coaches rather than experts in charge. Make sure that your lectures convey only the vital concepts. The huge part of the course has to consist of various experiential tasks, including discussion questions and hands-on exercises directing students to self-discovery. Let your students learn from one another.
You have to be involved in classroom discussions but not overdo it. Pose new questions and assignments and ask students to help each other unravel conundrums. They will often post wrong assumptions, but hold the “reveal” as long as you can.
Set Dates When Comments Will Close
For Lector: Do not leave a thread open longer than two weeks, since later, the bulletin board will become unnavigable. After the cutoff, students still are able to read what has been said earlier, but they cannot add new comments.
To those new to online educating, do not let these pieces of advice dim your enthusiasm. Remote learning can be really exciting and rewarding.