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Are You New to Online Learning? Here Are A Few Suggestions…

March 23, 2020 - 2 minute read

Woman working on a laptop

These are unprecedented times with schools moving online; the goal to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Educators from preschool to university are working diligently to create meaningful remote-learning instruction. Based on personal experience from teaching online for many years, I offer these recommendations.

Synchronous sessions are designed for everyone to be online at the same time. Asynchronous sessions are intended for students to view and learn at their own pace.

Synchronous sessions should be engaging
Regardless of what platform used (google classroom, adobe connect, zoom, collaborate, etc.) strive to keep building relationships with students. Take time as students are gathering to ask how they are doing and give them time to share their successes and challenges.

Ask students to keep their video on so the instructor can see them during the entire session. Ask them to mute their microphones unless they are the speaker. This keeps background noise at bay. Encourage students to close other tabs that might be open on their computer to keep the internet connections strong.

A recommended visual for presentation is PowerPoint or Prezi as they are easy to add engaging comics, embedded videos and photographs to support student attention. Just as in a face to face course, build in discussion time. Ask questions about the content. Have students share various websites and avenues they are using to research and conduct course lessons. Listen intently and repeat back what they say. This supports student processing of information and is an affirmation to the speaker that the content was heard.

Encourage students to create a video project or music presentation. Assign community or group projects that students can share online with the entire class to summarize their learnings. Add items that help the students remain attentive. For example, add photos of students or samples of student work to presentations. End synchronous sessions with a choice opportunity where students can select a variety of websites to view the upcoming content and they are instructed to watch these and report back on the asynchronous discussion board.

Create a Digitally Rich Learning Environment
An asynchronous discussion board can allow students to post their learnings about a specific question or topic and others can respond and dialog. Often the students who are very quiet in face-to-face classes post extremely thoughtful comments online. This encourages stronger online dialog.

Post podcasts and videos (using google scholar as the search engine) to create a digitally rich learning environment for asynchronous time. Just like face-to-face classroom, the course content is organized and visually appealing so students can follow along and understand quickly what is expected. Send daily or weekly messages to the class as a whole to keep everyone connected and understanding expectations. These can be posted on the announcements section of the online forum so at any time students can go back and review.

Every class is a new experience

Every class is a new experience, and some are better than others. Online learning is an effective tool for instruction. Enjoy using the online venues. If you have questions or want to share more about online learning, contact me at [email protected].

Dr. Belinda Karge is a Professor in the School of Education at Concordia University Irvine where she works primarily with doctoral candidates. In her career, she has taught at five different universities and prior to that was an elementary and secondary teacher. Her primary area of expertise is instructional strategies. She has taught online for over 10 years.

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