15 Effective Tips For Online Classes For Teachers
In the past few days, the current pandemic has changed the mode of communication with the outside world and online education is on the rise. More and more people are taking the online mode to take school, college classes, and general education classes.
Students are provided with the required number of class hours but without face-to-face contact with teachers. If it is carefully implemented then online e-learning can surely be more accessible, affordable, and interactive, and more student-centered. However, at times the way it is being presented as a simple, effective, and practical solution which is capable of replacing face-to-face session teaching for a significant period is purely misleading.
Online education is really complex and therefore it is important to set realistic understanding and expectations of how it can support students.
Some academic institutions prefer to record their lectures using a webcam while some choose to do live teaching using telecommunication tools delivering the same class online at normal class hours.
To know more, check out this article on Online teaching
How to Teach Online Classes?
Tutoring online has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and at times though it may sound like the most efficient way of learning, teachers are the most affected by this mode of teaching.
Teachers have to completely unlearn their old ways of teaching and adopt new ways which they have been accustomed to for many years.
Below mentioned are a few tips for online classes for teachers which will help them to effectively take a virtual class.
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Tips for Online Classes For Teachers
1. Record Your Lectures – Don’t Stream Them
The elephant in the room while conducting online sessions is the internet. Even if one is thoroughly prepared with the best of the content and presentation, sometimes the internet issues can create major havoc, both sides from the tutor and the students.
If the students are struggling with internet issues, they will miss a live-streamed lecture. The recording is the best possible way to address the mammoth issue, hence recording videos and sending them to your students will go a long way so that they can watch in their own time. Recording lecture is one of the best tips for online classes for teachers.
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Plan Your Classes
Online presence is different from having a physical presence since your students will never be physically in front of you, hence to convey your message, it’s important to be thoroughly prepared much more than earlier. Since the needs and requirements of virtual class students are different, therefore, ensure to have your syllabus and materials laid out before class starts.
Prepare and Master Technology
There is a combination of factors responsible for the online session to go on smoothly hence it is necessary to invest in the right hardware and software, having a reliable computer with the best possible internet connection will go a long way in delivering the most effective online session.
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Set Up an Adequate Working Environment
Working at home itself is a task but with the right self-discipline and planning, one can avoid it into turning it into a nightmare. One should dedicate a space in the home exclusively for work. This space has to be friendly and inviting and should encourage productive work behavior. It’s essential to keep the work environment free of distractions like television, family members, or household chores. Some of the ways to set up an ideal work environment are by keeping natural lighting and an ergonomically friendly chair.
Go Beyond Speaking Presence
With the sudden shift to online learning, it’s difficult to establish strong connections with students which were relatively easy to do with the earlier model of teaching.
In the physical classroom, teachers can rely on nonverbal methods of communication such as facial expressions and tone of voice which indefinitely helps a lot in student learning.
It’s not your real-time presence those matter in online learning and hence in an online mode of learning one must focus on asynchronous learning wherein one can learn on their own schedule within a certain period and can access course material at any given time according to their own flexibility.
Asynchronous learning is one of the best tips for online classes for teachers.
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Show Your Face
Research in an 8-week observational study has shown that online learners who saw the lecturers face reported having better lecture experience than simple narrated slideshows. Present the slides with a video of yourself.
Provide Interactive Activities
There are most of the learning management systems such as Moodle, Edmodo, and Blackboard, menti.com, google forms, etc. constitute a gamut of functions to create interactive learning activities such as quizzes. Taking a quiz or a test after learning something is a great way to retain it for the long term and is one of the best tips for online classes for teachers.
Use Auto-Checking to Measure Attendance
Chances of student’s compliance increases when you tell them that their attendance will be measured by their participation in a quiz. However, you can make use of certain features such as automatic checking and grading features on the learning management systems to make the task easier.
Communication Tools for Online Teaching
Teachers need to have excellent communication skills since it is important both for teachers and students. Teacher’s communication skills play an important role in developing and enhancing student’s ability to understand. With the help of the right communication tools, you will be able to then attain the needs of your students and the use of apt communication tools can be the best tips for online classes for teachers
Zoom Cloud Meetings
Zoom is one of the best and fastest growing communication apps available. This app is very user-friendly and can be used on a desktop as well as on a mobile device. The Zoom app is free for the first 40 minutes and after 40 minutes paid plans are available too with tools such as audio, video and chat, and screen share options available. Some additional features include raise/lower hand which can be extremely useful for students to clear their queries or any doubts and even add a virtual background (on desktop users).
Skype is one of the top communications tools and is one of the most reliable tools trusted by thousands of large companies which is accessible via a phone or PC. The only thing that is mandatory to have is a Skype account which is free of charge. Sharing your screen is also possible on Skype which is an added advantage.
Google Hangouts is an app that can be used for video conferencing, calls, and chats. Creating an invitation link is easiest and the people who want to join should have access to Google Hangouts.
Google Classroom is an amazing communication tool for online teaching. Anyone with a Google account can create or join a class on Google Classroom.
With Google Classroom you have some add-on features like you can send announcements, start class discussions.
If there are multiple students then they have an option of sharing resources and answer questions on the stream.
Google Classroom is free of charge and exclusively designed for non-profit organizations.
Google Docs is a free online word document that can be used to write important notes, articles, essays, books, and lesson plans. Students have an edge using this tool in that they can create documents with this tool. Teachers can add comments on their write-up, highlight important notes and suggest revisions.
Google docs work on a web browser and mobile devices and are free of charge and since it is an online word document, a spreadsheet and slideshow are also available. Screen share is not available with Google docs.
Send Invites and Clear Instructions
Once you have set up the classroom event, then you will need to send invites to your students. This can be done via a video conferencing tool. Your invite must include agenda, instructions on how to join, and a list of things that the students need to bring with them.
If they are expected to keep their camera on or use audio during their classroom session, then the students will be aware of this beforehand which will give them an opportunity to prepare accordingly.
Finally, remind them 15 minutes before the classroom is scheduled.
Additional Resources for Online Teachers
Below mentioned are few virtual teaching resources which can be best tips for online classes for teachers: –
Getting Online Quickly: This guide can help educators quickly began online classes in the most effective way.
How to Make Online Learning To Engage For Students: This infographic shares the best practices to make online learning appealing and appropriate for the students.
Managing Online Classrooms: Out school offers 45-minute free webinars for teachers with tips for online classes for teachers using tools such as virtual whiteboard etc.
Apps And Platforms For Sharing Student Content: Adobe has shared a list of applications and platforms to share content and create discussions during distance learning.
Free Education Subscriptions: This list of companies offers free subscriptions to teachers and students and is updated on a daily basis.
Get Student Feedback and Respond to It:
According to 2019 study researchers found that successful online instructors frequently collected student feedback and after collecting evaluation data they reflected on how to improve the course and also made improvements.
From the literature here are some of the most effective questions you can ask your students:
- On a scale from 1 to 5, how comfortable are you using technology?
- Do you encounter any technical issues such as not able to hear me or not being able to connect to the internet?
- Is the module well-organized and clear?
- What can be done to enhance the virtual classes’ experience?
Innovate and Stimulate Discussions:
Online classrooms run in a different way than regular classrooms. These classrooms can get very monotonous for the students if they get dominated by one side by the teacher. Hence, it very important to encourage participation from discussions to posting lectures, to assigning reading material to monitoring progress.
Numerous studies suggest that it becomes extremely difficult with distance students since there are chances of higher drop-outs online as compared to traditional courses.
Motivate Your Students:
Motivating the student is the most important tip for online classes for teachers. Some students are self-motivated others may not be. One of the ways to motivate your students is by giving them extra points for online discussions or optional assignments. Deadlines can be pushed forward for some of the unmotivated students.
Individual Touchpoints Are Game-Changers
In virtual classrooms, students may miss out the human connection cultivated in the real classroom. The little interactions between the classes are irreplaceable. One always focuses on the content in the online sessions and instructional videos what matters most is also the personalized touchpoint that you are able to create with students.
Creating touchpoints through any medium like emails, video messages, phone calls, messages through a learning management system will go a long way in creating that emotional connection with the students and is an important tip for online classes for teachers
Online teaching is the most convenient way of conducting an online class, but one must consider the following tips for online classes for teachers along with Do’s and Don’ts of conducting online teaching
- Accumulate email ids and contact number of all the students to create a group in the LMS through which you can conduct online classes
- Online classes require extensive preparation hence it’s important to be thoroughly prepared before the actual online class and write down notes to avoid missing any important points.
- It’s important to have a quick check on the type of equipment such as laptops, internet connections, and laptop camera, audio, etc.
- Be punctual, log in on time
- Ensure your space (from where you take class) is quiet and uninterrupted.
- It is mandatory to give proper breaks so that students can read about the topic and frame their questions and ask doubts pertaining to the topic
- Post the assignments after the session and announce the details in your session
- Avoid giving short deadlines to students for homework
- Don’t use the same approach. Avoid repetitive worksheets and homework.
- Don’t use extremely new hi-tech tools without checking for proper internet connection like menti.com which can lead to tech difficulties unless and until you are very comfortable using them.
- Avoid mixing up too many online tools
- Avoid unstructured lessons
- Avoid the tendency to present a lesson without any interaction by email or chat
- Don’t postpone or cancel any class without any strong reason.
Challenges of Online Learning
There are many challenges in their way for both teachers and students since a teacher needs to have access to a very good and reliable internet connection at all times, sometimes frequent disconnection can hamper the concentration of the students, and at the same time students who don’t have reliable internet connection or technology find it hard to participate in online learning.
Overall Online education is a very good opportunity and gives flexibility to both the students and the teachers. It’s a growing market for educators and can offer a very exciting career opportunity. If you want to take up this as a career opportunity then do your research, plan the methods and then take a leap.
Online teaching is also relatively new and hence there isn’t one really set way to go about it but one can consider the tips for online classes for teachers along with doing’s and don’ts of online teaching and make online teaching effective and successful. With a bit of research and by following tips for online classes for teachers one can be easily at the forefront of the online education movement.