Online learning offers an exciting new way of teaching and learning, yet can present unique challenges for both novice and seasoned instructors alike. Here are a few best practices designed to make online learning an enriching experience for both learners and instructors.
Focus on Your Pedagogy, Not the Medium: When it comes to effective online teaching, many of the same principles of effective classroom teaching also apply in online environments. Content, pedagogy and assessment remain key considerations. Make sure students engage with material dynamically across multiple learning styles with an array of synchronous and asynchronous delivery of course materials with special care paid towards how each component complements one another.
Be visible in the online classroom: One of the keys to successful online teaching is being visible and available to your students, whether via video chat, email, message boards or in class discussions. Your students need to feel they can reach you with any inquiries or issues they have; instructors should post contact information prominently throughout their courses (such as announcement forums and the syllabus ) in order to facilitate this interaction and arrange regular office hours online as part of a student support strategy.
Be clear in your expectations and responsibilities as an instructor:
Online classrooms present students with the potential for easily losing sight of the big picture due to technology issues or specific assignments, making it hard for them to focus on what really matters: course expectations, deadlines for assignments, what constitutes participation and how grading works. To prevent this, instructors must ensure their expectations for their course, deadlines for assignments deadlines participation expectations as well as how grading works are clear to students. It may also help if virtual meetings with your students set at regular times in order to provide some sense of stability and support from teachers.
Encourage Active Discussion: Students often respond better when engaging with their peers rather than with the teacher in discussions, yet this can be challenging in an online setting. To foster this engagement, instructors should utilize tools like Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom that facilitate small group discussions and allow for sharing of slideshows, video clips or screenshots between classmates. In addition, instructors should pose thought-provoking open-ended questions during synchronous sessions in order to foster active responses rather than asking yes/no questions that do not stimulate real discussion among their synchronous sessions participants rather than asking yes/no questions without encouraging student response instead.
As online learners typically work alone, social isolation may become a significant issue. Therefore, it’s essential that online course curriculum include time for students to connect with one another via small group video discussions or study groups for older students. Furthermore, weekly virtual check-ins or short phone calls with your students may help reduce social isolation and foster an inclusive online classroom environment.