Enrich Your Online Teaching with These Tips
A recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education offers advice on improving your online teaching skills by connecting what you do in the classroom with what you do online. By following the 10 principles listed below, you can enhance the quality of your online classes, making them more effective and engaging:
- Show up to class. Teachers have a lot of up-front work to do to build an online course, but it’s also important to have a strong presence online throughout the course. To maintain an active presence, participate in discussions, post announcements, and communicate with students.
- Be yourself. Online classes may feel structured, but there is room in written and recorded communications to let your personality come through. Students will appreciate these glimpses of humanity. Developing a course introduction video is a great way to connect with your students. For assistance, visit the ODL Media Production Services page.
- Put yourself in students’ shoes. Online students can feel isolated and it may take time for them to get help with a problem. To minimize confusion, design your course for clarity. For example, include a grading rubric, details on citing sources, and instructions on the length of discussion posts.
- Organize course content intuitively. Be sure the sequence of content and learning activities is methodical and purposeful. Students will appreciate having a clear path through the course.
- Add visual appeal. A pleasant work environment can help students maintain interest in the course. Pay attention to the design of your course and incorporate interesting visuals when possible.
- Explain your expectations. Clear instructions and grading procedures will help students feel confident in completing assignments. For example, create a brief video to explain the details of an assignment.
- Scaffold learning activities. Break down complex tasks into several steps. Provide opportunities for students to become comfortable with technologies before they are required to complete an assignment.
- Provide examples. Offer multiple perspectives for course content. Provide assignment examples to clarify expectations. Model the proper writing style during discussions.
- Make class an inviting place to be. Use media and interactive tools to engage your students. Be positive and compassionate.
- Commit to continuous improvement. Develop your online teaching skills through pedagogical best practices, professional development opportunities, and self-learning strategies.