For most teachers and students, online learning presents a lot of unknowns and might even seem disadvantageous. While there is room for debate, we believe online learning could be better than the traditional methods we’ve known our whole lives.
Today, we present to you the ten best practices in teaching online. Hopefully, they’ll prime you to become an effective teacher and inspire success in your students. We’ve also listed some crucial tools like Audext that help you transcribe lectures to text and diversify your resource library. Continue reading for more on that.
1. Be available
Students who feel detached and abandoned are destined for failure.
Being available or present is one of the best practices in teaching online classes. One might even argue it’s fundamental.
We understand availability is easier in face-to-face sessions. You get to attend classes and have more direct interactions with students. It’s almost natural.
Fortunately, you can replicate the same experience in online classes. Despite your physical absence, there is still so much you can do to improve your availability.
Before the course begins, you need to establish different communication methods that will help you frequently check up on your students. Discussion boards, announcements, forums, and email exchanges are some methods you should consider. Make sure you use high-quality email templates for your campaigns to meet industry standards.
Next, determine how frequently you’ll be available to your students. That said, don’t be too available. It might hinder your students’ personal growth. We recommend an hour or two in two days a week. During this time, your students will reach out to you with any questions or issues they might have.
2. Set expectations
Most students aren’t accustomed to remote learning. Even for some experienced teachers, the whole thing might be confusing.
As the teacher, it’s your responsibility to create a roadmap that will ease the process.
In the first session, meet your students and lay out your expectations. Likewise, also listen to what they expect from you. This is the time you get to agree on due dates for assignments and assessments, communication frequency, and general conduct.
Once both parties agree on their expectations, it clears the cloud of uncertainty.
3. Let the students do the work
Successful learning happens when students engage with content as much as possible, and it should happen beyond regular sessions even when you, the teacher, aren’t around. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen automatically. You have to create a system that will keep your students busy even when they’re not in class.
Scientifically speaking, experts have established that a student needs to spend around 6 hours of productive time a week engaging with a subject to understand it. Most students need 10 hours to achieve 6 hours of productive engagement.
To help your students with this, send them on quests to find and discuss specific resources on the subject matter. On top of that, asking them to grade their assignments and hold student-led discussions in online forums will help them contemplate what they’ve learned in class.
4. Nurture a supportive online community
An online teaching system without a community is flawed.
Remember, the online space is your students’ classroom. Studies show that effective human learning happens in social environments where people interact and exchange ideas.
To establish an effective online community, you’ll have to use these three main dialogue formats equally:
- Learner-to-Resource (Books).
The Teacher-to-Learner dialogue format significantly ties with the previous point on availability. Your students need to feel that you’re with them throughout the course. You can check this box by setting aside several hours a week to attend to your students (Separate from “normal” sessions).
Learner-to-Learner interactions are the heart of online teaching communities. Your students should have a means of comfortably interacting with one another. Do it right, and you’ll have an unstoppable learning system that can function even when emergencies hold you up.
You can establish the Learner-to-Resource dialogue format by availing all the necessary resources to your students. You can do this by neatly uploading all fundamental materials to an easily accessible system like your institution’s learning portal or even in a Google Drive folder.
5. Ask for feedback
Unlike face-to-face learning, things are more likely to “slip away” in remote learning. You can easily get caught up in a routine that doesn’t work.
Asking for feedback is not only among the best practices in teaching, but it’s also a way to show your students that you care. Furthermore, you’ll get data to brainstorm ideas to better your teaching methods.
We suggest you informally reach out earlier during the semester (During the second or third week). You can do this by posting questions on the discussions board. Ask them if they’re content with your teaching methods, what hasn’t been working, and any suggestions they might have to help you better their experience.
6. Use Audio and Visual Multimedia
Since you’ve set up your course as online teaching sessions, your students will expect materials in digital format.
We understand e-books are the most popular media. Nonetheless, they can get tiresome fast. In this age of YouTube, most people prefer audio and visual multimedia that engage them for longer.
Besides videos, audio lectures are also becoming the norm with the advent of Spotify and podcasts. Students want to listen to lectures as they go about their businesses.
Step 1. With a few mouse clicks, you can set up a library of resources for students.
Step 2. Start by recording your lectures as videos. Upload the videos to your library.
Step 3. Convert the videos to mp3 format and, again, upload them to your library.
Even though text media can be tiresome, many people still prefer it. Run the mp3 files through software like Audext. It can transcribe lectures to text. Once again, upload the transcripts to your online teaching library.
Isn’t that easy? Just like that, you have a rich library that provides your students with materials in all media.
7. Be fun
Unlike in face-to-face sessions, students can easily get distracted in online sessions. Therefore, you have to teach in a fun and engaging way.
No. You don’t have to make jokes. Instead, it’s about being comfortable with your students. That is why it’s crucial to interact and build connections with them.
Also, be confident and passionate in what you teach. Not only will you come across as charming, but you might also spark the love for the subject in your students.
Online learning has come with unlimited possibilities. If you apply it with these best practices in teaching online, it will make you a better and more effective teacher. On top of that, we even have tools that can transcribe audio to text, thus diversifying your online teaching resources.