As classes move online and you become more familiar with technology, discuss new ways to keep your courses engaging for you and your students. More students than ever before are turning to online learning for more advanced education. In fact, studies show that about a third of all students take at least one online course. Given the benefits of online learning, such as increased flexibility, broadened horizons, and improved collaboration, it’s understandable. Why so many students are attracted to virtual classes – whether they’ve been affected by school closures. Due to the COVID-19 epidemic or are simply looking for a change and are new to online learning. For students who are new to online learning, the transition may take some getting used to.
Knowing how to manage time effectively is also crucial when transitioning to a full-time online program or when combining study and work. Whether you decide to study online or are pushed to do so, getting the most out of an online education requires important skills, such as time management.
Top tips for making online learning easy and fun
1. Virtual office hour
Virtual office hours (mental health check). With learning rapidly moving online, it’s important to take care of the mental health of you and your students. One way to stay connected and check in on what’s going on is to set up virtual office hours where students can come in and ask questions or talk about what’s going on. The more we all support each other during this difficult time, the better it will be in the long run – using Zoom. Other web conferencing platforms to keep in touch with your students on a weekly basis. Please see the Humanising Online Teaching blog post from the University of Oregon campus for valuable information on how to add the human experience online.
2. Increase your online presence
This is not the beginning of the semester, but the beginning of a whole new learning adventure for you and your students. Take this opportunity to continue to focus on connections between students. Here are some ideas for creative discussion topics
– One Word: Ask students to give one word that describes themselves or their lives and explain why they chose that word in the paragraph.
– Continue with the activity. Ask students to write a brief schedule of how they spend their time at home. Ask them to share tips on how to stay positive during this time, such as recommendations for books, online training, family crafts, activities, etc.
– Two truths and one lie: Ask students to post three fun facts about themselves (two true, one false) and have classmates guess which one is true.
– Think differently about grades. Flexibility is important in online education, and traditional grading may not always be the best way to engage students. Consider other creative ways to assess student work, such as using multimedia tools (like VoiceThread), group research projects, or recording audio recordings instead of text assignments. These activities allow students to be creative as well as improve critical thinking skills, which is good for everyone involved.
3. Think differently about assessment
Flexibility is important in online education, and traditional assessment may not always be the best way to engage students. Consider other creative ways to assess student work, such as using multimedia tools (like VoiceThread), group research projects, or recording audio recordings instead of text assignments. These activities allow students to be creative as well as improve critical thinking skills, which is good for everyone involved.
4. Try new tools
Now is the time to open yourself up and be open to using new tools. Google digital educational tools, ask your peers or seek support from your curriculum team. There are many exciting and interesting educational technology tools online that you can use quickly and easily.