12 Key Ideas for Moving Online

Decorative: Several students learning from laptops with many nodes and icons of learning  above their heads.

Image above links to "What Online Teachers Have Learned from Teaching Online."

"Move to Online Learning: 12 Key Ideas" (post) lists core concepts "[n]ot [for] 'emergency teaching' but actual lessons about people moving to teaching with the internet."

  • More information on each point is available in the text.

1. "Moving to teaching on the internet is not a technology problem (unless you make it one)."

  • "The technology is something you will figure out through repeated use."
  • "[S]et aside enough time over successive days to use the tech repeatedly and it will come to you."
  • "Concentrate on how the internet is different" -- for teaching, for learning, for resource and activity possibilities, etc.

2. "Moving to the internet is about understanding information abundance."

a. "[Y]our students already have access to all of the precious information you were planning to give them in class."

  • "If you’ve asked a yes or no question, or you have asked a ‘complicated’ question that has a fairly recognized answer, your students are going to google the answer to it."

b. "Those of us with access to the internet (through literacy, technological, and financial means) can reach out for any piece of information we need by simply searching for it."

  • "Our learning experiences need to reflect that."

3. "Complicated vs. complex concepts on the internet"

  • "A complicated concept is one that responds to a step by step answer... it’s an answer you could copy and paste."
  • "If you’re looking to evaluate a student’s work online, add some complexity."
    • "Something that personalizes the issue to the student." 
    • Something that brings their perspective to bear." 
  • "[T]each basic concepts that learners need to remember, just make them part of other things that include complexity if you want to do an assessment."

4. "Learning to evaluate good/bad information on the internet is a core skill in any field."

a. "[S]tudents [might not] know what is good information and what is bad information."

  • "[L]earning how to find, evaluate and combine information in any field is a critical skill right now."
  • "They need to learn how to deal with it."

b. "Our students ... need to be innovators, problem solvers, and strategic thinkers." 

5. "Pedagogies of care (for students and teachers)."

a. "[C]onsciously think about how we are to ‘care’ for our students."

  • "How are you going to incorporate that caring in your messages? In your videos? In how you design assignments?"
  • "Imagine what you do the first five minutes of class ... and think about ways to do that online."

b. "How can we balance the care that we are giving to our students and the care we are giving to ourselves?"

6. "Think of 'content' as 'teacher presence.'"

a. "[E]verything a teacher does [is] teacher presence."

  • "There is usually a direct relationship between your perceived presence and student engagement ... you need to let students know you’re there."
  • "You need to ‘be present’ the same way you need to ‘pay attention’. It’s an action."
  • "[S]imply reading their comments in a discussion forum and not saying anything doesn’t let students know that you’re present."

b. "[W]rite one post responding to all the posts on a given subject, highlighting themes and correcting misconceptions."

  • "Less duplication for you, and it still shows students that you’re involved."

7. "Keep it simple."

  • "[S]top ‘covering the content’ ... going over too many concepts ... that students [aren't] getting."
  • "[F]ocu[s] on far fewer concepts and di[g] much deeper."
  • "Focus on the stuff that’s important."

8. "Keep it equitable and accessible."

"This is part access, part care, and all about thinking about your context."

  • "Using UDL approaches in your learning and working with student support staff is critical."
  • "Online learning increases the impact of economic disparity on the classroom."
    • Students without "a dedicated computer ... struggle to participate in a synchronous activity."
    • They will "struggle multitasking on a phone or tablet."
    • They may not have '"have access to consistent wifi." 
  • "Think about different ways you can design your assignments to allow for students to complete them in multiple ways."
    • See "The UDL Guidelines": Scroll down for an interactive/clickable chart that will give you many specific alternate teaching options, activities, modes of assessment, etc.

9. "Keep it engaging."

a. "[C]reate the scaffolding they need to understand HOW to be ready to do the work."

  • "Scaffolding doesn’t mean you oversimplify the material: it means you structure the workload, particularly at first, and then maybe reduce that scaffolding as learners get comfortable."
  • "[A]pply this scaffolding to let them know what success looks like."
  • For example, "[i]f you’re assigning readings before a class, give them a 200-word reflection to hand in the day before."

b. "You need to be interesting ... Imagine yourself as a student."

  • "If you’ve recorded a super long video to send to students, force yourself to watch it first."
  • "When you get bored and want to turn it off… cut your video and send that."
  • "Really work through what the student experience is going to be."

10. "Design activities for what the web can do for you."

a. "[T]hink of ... projects as an iterative process."

  • "[H]ave them submit something halfway through the term."
  • "[C]reate ... spaces where learners can check in and post their progress."
  • "The web is very good at keeping track of student work for you ... [and] mak[ing] it very easy for students to share with each other."

b. "For this to work, you can’t think of grading EVERYTHING."

  • "Setting up discussion for students and having them submit ‘their five favourite posts’ can be a great way to keep discussion open and also introduce curation."

11. "Gather resources together… together."

a. "Don’t try to create [or find] all your resources alone." 

  • "Don’t try and learn alone."
  • "Make a team. At your school or with others." 

b. Some Resources from the Post

12. "If you’re helping someone else ..."

  • "People don’t need to understand the technical language of design."
  • "They just need to understand why they need to do what you’re talking to them about."
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