10 Essential Principles and Practices how to Be a Better Online Teacher because of COVID-19?

These are unprecedented times, and we’re fortunate enough to have unprecedented technology to answer the challenge.

As America’s students and educators begin to transition to a virtual classroom we will give some tips how to Be a Better Online Teacher

Learning management system. Otherwise known as an LMS. Online classes typically take place via your institution’s chosen learning-management system — a platform that include communication, content delivery, and assessment tools to facilitate the teaching-and-learning process. The specific features of an LMS can vary from school to school, but usually you will find the following common elements and functions:

  • A grade book to record student progress.
  • Web pages or sites that allow you to present text, videos, or links to other sources.
  • Assessment tools so students can submit their assignments, or take a quiz or an exam.
  • Discussion forums that enable students to engage in conversations about class content with you and with one another.
  1. Show Up to Class
  • Respond to questions posted in an online question-and-answer discussion forum or sent to you by email.
  • Hold online office hours according to a schedule, by appointment, or both.
  • Post a quick video to clarify misconceptions about a class topic or assignment.
  • Grade and return students’ work in a timely fashion.
  • Talk with students in online discussions.
  1. Be Yourself
  • Infuse your writing with warmth. Convey your support.
  • Be human. Sometimes the inherent distance between professor and student in an online class infects your written communication. But you needn’t write in a detached tone. Instead, practice immediacy.
  1. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
  • Your online students aren’t physically near you or other students when they’re “in class.”
  • They can’t turn to a neighbor for help or raise a hand to ask a question.
  • That leads to a strong sense of isolation and creates a need for support — different from the kind you offer when you teach in person.
  • In a physical classroom, you can pick up on nonverbal cues.
  • You can’t observe when you’ve lost their attention or when your instructions aren’t clear.
  • Yet you want to support them just as you would in a classroom.
  • Imagine that you are the student, on your own, trying to make sense of what is in front of you on the screen.
  • Get outside your own head — where your online class makes sense and everything is clear. Instead, try to envision how your students are experiencing the class.
  1. Organize teaching Content Intuitively
  • Navigate your teaching as if you were new to online learning in general.
  • Is it clear where things are found? Note times when it’s not immediately evident what a student should do. The need to click to get to more information might not be clear to them.
  • Remember, online students can’t generally ask a quick question in real time.
  • Think about how the use of menus, modules, folders, and other organizing structures helps or hinders students’ progress through this type of teaching.
  • Students should be able to access content, assessments, and learning activities without constantly clicking more and more links.
  • An online teaching should not be one giant website of endless scrolling.
  1. Visual appearance
  • Need to give serious thought to the way your online teaching look.
  • When thinking about the visuals of an online class, look to your favorite websites.
  • Study the layouts of books and magazines that you enjoy. Why not apply this philosophy to an online class?
  • You don’t have to be a graphic designer to enhance course appearance. A little attention to presentation goes a long way.
  • Break up long chunks of text with subheads and space between paragraphs.
  • Embed relevant images. Include thumbnail videos that you’ve either created or sourced from YouTube, news sites, or library resources.
  1. Explain Your Expectations
  • Write down the directions as if you were having a conversation with a student, so they don’t read like a textbook.
  • Create an informal two-minute explainer video to flesh out some details of an assignment.
  • Provide a rubric.
  • Share an example of student work that earned top marks. Maybe even share an example of mediocre work so students can compare the two.

7.Scaffold Learning Activities

  • Let’s say you want students to record a video presentation of their research topics. It’s hard enough to give a good presentation without the video-recording element. So help your online students gain practice with the technology before they have to use it for a high-stakes project.
  • As part of an orientation module, ask students to send you a message using the LMS messaging/email system so they know how to do this later in the class if they have a question for you. Ask them to answer a question about the syllabus or to list two goals for their learning in the course. Reply with a short personal greeting so they know you received the message and are available to help.
  • During few days, ask students to upload a PDF file of their handwritten work solving the first step of a problem. This exercise will help them learn how to turn a photo on their mobile device into a PDF file, and how to submit it as an assignment in the LMS. It’s a good way correct any missteps early on.
  • At the beginning of the first module, ask students use one of the many free mind-mapping tools available on the web to create a concept map of what they already know about the course topic. Then, at the end of each module, assign students to create a summary concept map to help them make sense of each topic.
  1. Provide Examples
  • Source existing videos that put another spin on a particular topic.
  • Record a short guest-lecture video to let students hear from another teacher.
  • Structure ways for students to explain new information to one another — as novice learners, they may come up with examples and illustrations that make more sense to their peers than your explanations do.
  1. Make Class an Inviting, Pleasant Place to Be
  • Use plenty of visuals, media, interactive tools, and learning activities.
  • Streamline lecture organization and navigation. Organize the furniture in the room, so to speak, to create maximum flow. (The proprietary nature of most online lecture makes it difficult for me offer open examples of what I mean, but the “Modern Mythology and Geek Culture” course I’ve already mentioned illustrates many of these design strategies.)
  • Convey positivity and optimism that students can succeed.
  • Demonstrate compassion and caring for your busy online learners.
  • Respect their time and engagement by being present and engaged yourself.
  1. Commit to Continuous Improvement
  • Participate in workshops offered by your school teaching-and-learning center.
  • Join book-discussion groups with your colleagues to delve into books about effective online-teaching strategies.
  • Subscribe to teaching-related newsletters. Sometimes they feature articles specifically related to online teaching; other times, reading about a new approach in the physical classroom leads to an idea for your online teaching.
  • Explore best practices presented in the Teaching Online.

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