"Coronavirus: 14 Simple Tips for Better Online Teaching" (post) provides "a simpl[e] formula ... 14 quick tips to make online teaching better, from an expert in online learning."
1. "Record your lectures – don’t stream them."
- "If students are unwell or are struggling with internet access, they will miss a live streamed lecture" [unless you record the session -- an option in both Zoom and Virtual Classroom].
- Recorded videos let students "watch in their own time."
2. "Show your face."
- "[L]ecture videos that show instructors’ faces are more effective than simple narrated slideshows."
- "Intersperse your slides with video of yourself."
3. "Keep videos short."
- "Videos longer than 15 minutes can cause issues of slow downloading and learner distraction."
- "If you have more to say, record two or three short videos."
4. "Test out slides."
- "Many students may be using smartphones to access online learning."
- "Make sure you test slides on a smartphone before shooting your lectures so all text is readable on small screens."
- Check "[f]ont sizes, colours, template designs and screen ratios."
5. "Use existing resources …"
- "It is unrealistic to expect that you, on your own, will produce a semester’s worth of high quality videos."
- "You can use pre-developed resources available online and provide students with clickable links.:
6. "… and make sure they’re open access."
- "Using open resources helps prevent access problems for students."
- "If any of your suggested resources are not accessible, you will receive an inbox full of student emails and eventually waste all your time troubleshooting."
- "Spending a few extra minutes carefully searching for fully open access materials will save you a headache later."
7. "Give specific instructions."
a. "When you suggest online media which runs for longer than 15 minutes, students will be put off watching."
- "Instead, suggest the exact parts they need (e.g. 13:35 to 16:28)" [or use EdPuzzle or another tool to clip it].
b. "When you provide more than two resources, label them in the order you want students to approach them."
- "Simple numbering, based on the level of difficulty or importance of each resource item, can be of great help for your students."
8. "Provide interactive activities."
- D2L/mycourselink "include[s] a range of functions to create interactive learning activities such as quizzes," discussions, etc. [See mycourselink for instructions.].
- Easy-to-set-up study/review games can be embedded in your course site. See "7 Tools to Create Online Learning Games."
- Tools like Perusall can make reading texts into social annotation activites. See "Strategies to Get Students Reading."
- See "Easy Ways to Integrate Technology in Class" for links/ideas to how to use the following in a course:
- Digital Storytelling
- Social annotation (Hypothes.is, Perusall)
- Social bookmarking, Social citations, Social libraries
- Storyboarding/Comics/Graphic Texts
- Digital labs and simulations
- Multimedia assignments
- Grading paperlessly (use the D2L grading app)
- Collaborative/peer editing
- Group critiques
- See also the many ideas and tools listed through "DiRT: DIgital Research Tools."
9. "Set reasonable expectations."
- For quizzes, "make sure all questions can be answered by referring to the given learning resources."
- For written "summar[ies] of lecture videos, [articles, chapters, etc.], ... make it clear that this is not a serious report."
- Using "mandatory assignment[s] but a[s] low-stakes task[s] will produce the best outcomes and responses from students."
- For example, "[a] set of 15 quiz questions or a 300-word limit will be sufficient to engage students for 30 minutes."
10. "Use auto-checking to measure attendance."
- "If you tell students that their attendance will be measured by their participation in a quiz, it will increase compliance."
- "However, you won’t have time to check them all, so use the automatic checking and grading features on the learning management systems."
11. "Use group communication carefully."
- "Group communication shouldn’t be used for direct teaching."
- "Instead, set up virtual office hours on a video conferencing tool like Zoom."
- "Simply log in at the appointed time and wait for students."
- "[P]rovid[e] social support and chec[k] if any issues need to be addressed immediately."
- "This can be a great way to collect student feedback on your online teaching as well."
- "Make meetings optional and be relaxed."
12. "Let students take control"
a. "[S]et up online group spaces for small groups of students and ask them to support and consult with one another before sending emails to you directly."
- The Discussions tool in D2L/mycourselink is also an option.
b. "[P]ost a couple of questions to help students break the ice and start conversation."
- "Some groups will click well and some will not, but this little tip can make students feel socially supported and reduce your inbox traffic."
13. "Don’t hide your feelings."
- "[E]motional openness is a great instructional strategy."
- "Tell your students that it is your first time teaching online and you are learning while teaching."
- "Explicitly ask them to help you, reassuring them that you will do your very best to support their learning as well."
- "They will be sympathetic since they share the same emotions, and you will be set up for success."
- "Online students do not like frequent changes in their learning style."
- "They are happy to repeat the same structure and activities."
- "Once you find a teaching style working for you, feel free to repeat it each week."