How to Shift to Online Teaching
With the 2020 pandemic still in our midst, institutions are expected to undergo even further changes in teaching dynamics. As social distancing restrictions prevailed in social settings, schools had to adhere to distancing measures of their own. This has meant Zoom and other similar platforms have had to take the lead in providing sound teaching platforms for students. Suffice to say, teachers were not prepared. Students are tech-savvy and ready to embrace any and all new technologies, especially if these revolve around an easier learning environment. However, lecturers continue to encounter unprecedented challenges as they enter this highly demanding world of online learning.
The Shift to Online Education Basics
The move to online learning didn't happen overnight, although teachers found it seemingly so. With huge numbers of students to attend to, and vast teaching materials to disseminate, online teaching is no walk in the park. This shift from classroom learning to online instructions centers on some cool dynamics, which allow for seamless learning.
Students meet at set times online. All participants, including lecturers are present at said time for the full session. This is somewhat similar to traditional classroom settings, although students have access to tutors, friends and parents while attending the sessions. Synchronous learning presents its challenges in terms of timing, whereby some students may not be available during scheduled times. Enter asynchronous learning.
This is the opposite of the above mentioned. Whereas students would be set to meet at a certain time, remotely, this type of learning gives students liberty to learn at their convenience. It gives people the liberty to view prerecorded videos, take time analyzing concepts at their own pace, and send feedback when done. There is no allotted time for learning, therefore students are free not to learn anything until otherwise forced to, or deadlines are in place.
This overwhelming though welcomed shift to online education has forced lecturers to review their teaching methods, and come up with strategic teaching plans.
Teachers Guide to Online Learning
From the outset, teachers new to online learning should be aware of the following benefits of online teaching. It encourages active learning, provides adequate time for assignments, gives leeway in terms of learning and teaching techniques and develops talents. On that note, here’s some insight on how teachers can go about improving their online teaching performances.
Shift Online: Simply put, gather your teaching materials including tutorials and past papers on google drive, or any other cloud storage. This will help tremendously to download information for teaching purposes, and also pave way for seamless dissemination of the same, to students. It is online teaching after all.
Shift to Digital: This refers to a move from paper copies to a digital form of the same. Take photos, scan material or switch formats to upload teaching material to online platforms. This is the only way to get your students the literature they need, online. Tread carefully as you select formats to use. Some students may attend sessions, or view this material on different, non-compatible software.
Group Inclusions: Emphasis on groups. Online learning presents the perfect setting for students to meet, and work with one another as groups. As you compile study materials, it is important to factor in creative ways that will force students to work as groups. This encourages slackers from riding on the backs of others while building humanized interactions.
Create Assessment Techniques: As you take up online teaching, assessment techniques may be left out until it's too late. Remember that students now have more leeway in terms of time. This requires you, the lecturer, to find new techniques to review their all-round performance, be it results oriented or participatory. Such techniques like CATS have to be incorporated seamlessly online, otherwise there will be plenty of free-loaders among your students.
Best Way to Switch to Online Teaching
One of the ways online teaching stands out from traditional teaching methods is its use of videos for educational purposes. This application of visuals covers remarkably more than textual presentations ever did. Videos can be used in a number of ways for optimal results.
Introduction Videos: These are the coolest, informal yet professional ways to introduce students to a course at the beginning of a term, or semester. They don't need to be fancy in structure. On the contrary, introductory videos should make students comfortable taking your course, introducing the human aspect of the class away from physical interactions.
Course Guide Videos: These clips introduce the syllabus while providing a guide for students on how to submit assignments, find tutorials online, read teaching materials and engage lecturers. The videos need to be short and comprehensive. Also, a lecturer can place bonus points to be earned from watching, or answering questions on the same video.
Topic Videos: As new weeks are bound to bring in new topics, lecturers should create videos presenting what will be covered for the upcoming week. This can also factor in any question and answer sections related to the past week. Seeing as it may be more asynchronous than synchronous learning, these videos facilitate scheduling for students. They can have an overview of the scope of work to be covered, and plan accordingly.
Presentations and Feedback: Presentations will be swift using screen recording software. These can be incorporate with everything from PowerPoint to stock library photos and clips. Feedback is easier using short videos that can cover group projects as a whole, or individual performances. These feedback videos should be created to highlight legends used in marking as well as rubrics or marking schemes.
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The shift to online teaching could not have come at a better time technologically, which is probably why it happened anyway, because technology allowed it. Software galore, the education sector can facilitate learning to remote areas seemingly better than classroom settings do. With the right software and internet capabilities, the embracing of online teaching may spell doom for traditional classroom teaching. We watch this space.