No matter how proficient you are in teaching in a traditional classroom, you can never be prepared enough for teaching online. For most, it can be a daunting task. Online classes can feel very different in various aspects from an in-person class.
The main concern of teachers is not being able to do all the same things online that they did face-to-face. But that does not mean you can’t create the same type of inclusive, quality learning environment for your students.
With the right tools, some creativity and a supreme amount of patience, you can master the online platform for teaching. To help you make the transition as seamless as possible, we asked current online instructors from RGBS for their invaluable advice. So, here are six practical tips for teaching online for teachers to get you started on the journey:
1. Be Specific – Very Specific
Communicating online can be taxing. Words are not clear of not enunciated. If you want to save yourself a lot of time and headache from students constantly asking to repeat yourself, make sure you clearly define everything that you say.
That means more than simply posting a syllabus or a presentation. Instead try sharing real life examples and case studies to explain more clearly what to do and what not to do in such situations.
2. Clarify Tone and Communication Styles
Not being face to face with your students may seem a tad uncomfortable in the beginning. You might think your words are not going through to them. But, in the age of social media, communication has become vastly easy. Encourage sharing thoughts with each other during a class with some set guidelines.
This way, their thoughts and opinions reach you better and with more clarity.
3. Learn from other instructors
In a traditional classroom setting, you might have very little reason to compare teaching methodology with other teachers. But in these times of uncertainty, this has taken the front seat. Hold meetings with your fellow professors and teachers and discuss ways in which you can tackle the shift of everything going online.
Make use of your department’s mailing list to ask questions and learn from one another. If you’ve taught online before, offer yourself as a resource to faculty in your department who haven’t.
4. Think of it as an adventure
Take the challenge as something you need to overcome. Though teaching online might not seem as an overly helpful method, it has its numerous advantages. Especially in these times, when no other option is left to us, you have to make the most of it.
Remember, we are all in this together. No one expects your online course to be perfect. Consider it an adventure that you and your students are in on this together. They’ll forgive your mistakes and make a few of their own. That’s the beauty of learning something new.
Make mistakes and learn from them. Connecting with one another, even online with a few hiccups, will go a long way to ensuring that students still feel connected, considered, and are well cared for.
5. Don’t Forget the Value of Group Assignments
Online doesn’t mean going solo. Group assignments hold the power to give your students some respite and tackle on a project together. This enhances their social skills and well as renders it possible for learning something from the others.
In group assignments, they get to engage in assignments together which helps bring out their different strengths and interests. To keep online group, work manageable, try breaking projects up into multiple steps with smaller assignments.
6. Practice Empathy and Compassion
Online teaching can be marred with hiccups and bumps along the way. There will be technical issues, miscommunications and activities that don’t go as planned. Try to understand each student’s issues and try to assume they have the best intentions at heart.
It’s good to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is the first time in this endeavour for all of us. Remember that we are dealing with this in the times of a global pandemic and that looking past technical issues is the first step towards working together in harmony.