Eileen McGinnis, Saint Edward's University
Make use of synchronous class meetings when possible. For some instructors, this might look like a few evening gatherings during the course of the semester; for others, it might be a weekly or even biweekly practice. But there is nothing like real-time interaction to facilitate collaboration and engagement, even if it can’t replace or replicate the in-person experience.
Don’t get overwhelmed by all of the flashy new ideas and apps for teaching online. I so appreciate all of the work that has gone into distance-learning trainings these past months, but to preserve your sanity and make your workload manageable, I recommend limiting your experimentation with new technologies or approaches to 1-2/semester.
Work on streamlining your assignments and course-management system for user-friendly design. Offer frequent short video announcements to articulate goals and expectations. We already try to be clear with students about why they’re learning x or doing assignment y, and how it all fits into the big picture. But online environments can be especially disorienting, so we need to make even more of an effort to be a guide to the course.
Dr. Mai Kuha, Ballpark State University
Everyone’s life is already hard enough right now, so be kind. In particular, do not assign excessive work. A reasonable amount of work is less than you think. If there are still strict-sounding and punitive late work policies in your syllabus, please ask yourself if that is really necessary. Be mindful that some of your students do not have reliable internet access, so include a low-bandwidth option. Put as much care as you can into organizing your course clearly. Be transparent. Articulate the purpose of every topic and assignment and initiate communication often.
- Center for the Advancement of Teaching at Wake Forest University: Workload Estimator 2.0 https://cat.wfu.edu/resources/tools/estimator2/
Dr. Robin Aspman O'Callaghan, City University of Seattle
Do your homework--what are your course objectives? What are your assignments? How do you merge these so assignments support acquisition of course goals? NOW, how are you creating a week by week guide to obtaining these goals? this now means looking at what can be done online, what needs to be done in class-how do they support each other? You will need instructions your students can follow which will include how to do the work online, interacting with the website. Part of the landscape in online learning.
Keep it snappy-keep it interesting--do not think that writing boring information on a webpage is going to be easily taken in by students whose eyes are already tired. Make sure you have alternative, but well researched videos, websites to help you get across vital information.
Keep it fresh-if something current comes up and relates to what you are doing get it and work it in--students need well-developed courses, but every course has its link to our current lives--use this to your advantage.
Stay on top of participation, attendance, and keep in digital contact-emails weekly-weekly announcements that tell the class 'this is where we are, this is what should be done and in by now, here is what is coming up in the near future and we need to pay attention to--
Examples of work expected for class - have examples, templates, layouts of the assignments, detailed instructions of what you want done, so that students have ample information and guidance to complete the assignments in the class.
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