The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread school closures around the world. Increasing numbers of schools and universities have moved to online-only learning, prompting hundreds of thousands of teachers to transfer their face-to-face lessons online.
If it’s your first time holding classes online, we have compiled six simple but effective practices that you can follow to make online teaching better.
Create a conducive teaching environment
Without the right teaching environment, your online classes can become a nightmare. First, prepare a workspace. This area should focus on teaching only. Keep the area free of distractions like other family members, television, or household chores. Likewise, incorporate natural lighting and use ergonomic furniture to make teaching more comfortable.
Set the expectations
It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching elementary students or middle school students—the online classroom setup can feel a bit free-form. That is why you’ll need to set the expectations of the students before they even commence the course. These expectations should include what they can expect from you as their teacher, as well as what will be required of them. Make sure both parties have a clear understanding of the following:
- Deadlines for assignments
- Each other’s communication frequency
- How much online participation is required from students
- What conduct are they expected to display during classes
Establish a digital home base
It’s essential to establish a digital home base for your class. There are a lot of options to choose from, like Google Classrooms, Canvas, and even Zoom.
You need a single digital platform that’s always accessible to your students for the most recent and up-to-date information.
Let students do the work
Get your students to suggest new ways to learn, as well as involve them in evaluating their performances.
Give them plenty of opportunities to engage with the content and with each other. Exploit what digital can offer. You can ask them to find and discuss resources and hold student discussions in online forums.
Likewise, schedule one-on-one consultations with each student and ask for feedback. These may last only a few minutes, but the input is crucial to the overall improvement of the classes.
Give out longer, student-driven tasks
To manage your time and overall sanity, you’ll want to give out longer, student-driven tasks that let you buy time to keep planning future lectures. Focus on long-term tasks where students can enjoy autonomy while having a clear set of deadlines and checkpoints that need to be met.
Record your lectures
If your students are unwell or are struggling to connect online, chances are, they’ll miss a streamed lecture. What you can do is to record videos and send them to your class so your students can watch them in their own time. Remember that videos longer than 15 minutes can cause learner distraction. If you have a lot to say, record two or three separate short videos.
It’s essential to keep in mind that fostering an engaging distance learning experience is difficult. If you’re new to this kind of set up, you’re probably going to feel like a rookie teacher again. That’s fine! Bring with you an incredible amount of patience, tackle the issues one at a time, and stay positive.