As more schools close during the coronavirus pandemic for reasons of social distancing, a growing number of educational institutions are looking at how to teach online. Technology provides a way to keep students and teachers connected to continue the learning journey.
To make your move to web-based teaching easier, here are top tips:
Before Deciding to Teach Online
Firstly, before making the decision to take your classroom instruction online, do the research. The last thing you want to do is open a class session and not have your students be able to hear or see you. That situation would be frustrating for everyone.
If you work for a college, then ask the person in charge of online learning how to best prepare for the web environment. Are there tools they advise using, for example? While this person might be your department chair, in other cases, it could be the head of the continuing education division.
What Tech is Needed?
Next, find out what the options available are for online instruction. ZOOM is a video-conference tool that could be beneficial; take a test run of it to see if it works for you.
If the entire faculty is moving online, then consider contacting an IT consulting firm for more details on what’s available for your college’s needs. Moving to the web brings with it new security concerns and more responsibilities, so it’s important to get proper setup and support from a professional.
Once you have the tech in place and are comfortable with using it, it’s time to move ahead with the course! When you are ready, send out an email or post online where appropriate about the upcoming class to notify anyone who might want to sign up. Include a short bio about yourself to add credibility and trust to the course.
Then, once signup is over, provide registered pupils with a schedule for when the class is happening online, as well an outline and a list of recommended reading materials. Obviously, try to schedule the class for the same time each week for everyone’s convenience.
As you start, ensure you record lectures and save them to a secure place in the cloud or on a college platform where registered students can access them. That way, they can re-watch the lectures whenever they want and as often as they want to, as well.
Check in with other instructors along the way with any questions you have, and perhaps you can help them too. It’s a team effort to move online during this difficult time.
Final Words on Teaching Online during COVID-19
Remember that you, the students, and other teachers will all need time to adjust to the move from an in-person to a virtual learning environment. Be patient with everyone, keeping in mind the high level of fear and anxiety that many people feel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Do your best to be a reliable instructor who helps provide stability to learners during a time when there is so much uncertainty.