With newspapers going almost complete online, classrooms are not falling behind either. Although slightly different in nature, online teaching is becoming more and more popular. With it, many people are getting access to courses that they do not get in their school, or even country.
If you are a teacher and want to explore your options then you may consider the online teaching one. You can earn while you are in the comfort of your own home through online teaching. However, all hell will break loose if you are not good at it.
Online teaching comes with its many pros but the cons are scary as well. Not only do you have to be a good teacher but you will also have to learn how to teach online in the best way. You will have to learn how to make content that is acceptable for online platforms.
The lockdown for the Corona Virus Pandemic has taught us that it is best to use the resources we have at hand or at least learn how to use it when need be. Therefore, this online teaching guide is here to teach you- how you can be a better teacher online.
Things to keep in mind for online teaching
1. Choose the right platform
Yes, the platform is the online world but you have to choose which particular site or tool you are going to use to teach your students. In other words, which Learning Management System (LMS) are you planning to use?
You may think that all the platforms are the same but they actually are not. Some will offer you extra features for your particular subjects while others will just provide you with the basics. Apparently, there are platforms that are meant for beginners as they are easier to use. Again, if someone has great digital knowledge and wants full control over the content they publish and how the students receive it then he can consider more advanced platforms.
For example, Google Classroom and Coursera are very easy to use. On the other hand, there are other platforms like Schoology and more that are not equally easy but have more features for more interaction. We have a detailed post about the best eLearning platforms here.
2. Create an Outline
Neither do you want to be lost and nor do you want your students to be lost? This is why it is of the utmost importance that you organize the contents of your course in a good way. You can provide a course outline at the very beginning of the course. Before that, you can give a short introduction of yourself.
Likewise, you can put every step of the course, easy to difficult or shallow to in-depth lessons, in your course outline. As a result, the students will know what to expect from the course.
This will play an important role when a student is looking for a course online. It just might be your selling point as it works a lot like a first impression.
3. Create Content Beforehand
You should have your content ready for the whole course even before you start the course. This will prevent the shallow, haphazard lessons that usually cramp the course in the end. Students should get a clear understanding of each of the topics you are teaching.
This is possible only if you are diligent and ready with your content beforehand. You should include the most important topics and such things in it that matter most and can be applied.
So, even if a student wants to complete the course at his own pace, you won’t have to rush to provide the student with whatever he needs.
4. Use different forms of content
Now, the advantage that online teaching provides is that you do not have to speak all the type. You can create videos of your speaking and explain. However, you can back it up with texts, documents, articles, but most importantly, slides and graphics.
You can even give the student links to other websites like YouTube to discuss a video that makes the concept even clearer. In this aspect, online teaching does not limit you in case of resources. You get endless resources so you better use it.
In order to create content that is compatible with the eLearning platforms, you should use the eLearning authoring tools that help you create content not just easy but really fast. See the details of the best authoring tools here.
Furthermore, the colorful and various types of content will be able to grow interested among the students and they will not be bored.
5. Be Interactive
You may be thinking that this is where online teaching falls short. While you can speak to your student at the pass of a second in a traditional classroom, you cannot do so in the online classroom.
Yes, the interaction may not be as fast but it can surely be obligatory and better thought-out. You can put in topic-related questions during a lecture video and make the student answer the question to proceed.
This will ensure that the student is not misusing his freedom in the online classroom- that he is paying attention, is awake, and aware.
Likewise, you can make discussion forums for each topic. Then, you can assign the students assignments and make them review their peer’s work. In fact, you should know it better than anyone else out there, teaching or checking what you learn makes the lesson last longer in your brain.
6. Always be there
You may think that since the lessons are online, you can slack off as well. While the questions and comments will always be there in record, you should be responsive and present for your students during the working hours of each day, more often if possible. You do not want the online class to be a one-way street.
The student should feel that his questions and concerns are being addressed. Therefore, reply to comments and questions that your students may have. You can set up your own routine for checking such notifications. As there will be no one to supervise you, it is best if you let your own routine do that for you.
7. Conduct Assessment
One of the most common inquiries people have when teaching online is how do you know if the students are actually learning? The answer is in the same way traditional classroom teachers do- by taking exams.
You can create quizzes for your students online and lucky for you, online quizzes are even easier to create. Most eLearning tools have quiz and question templates that you can use to create quizzes for your students and get responses. These templates will calculate the score of the students themselves so you do not even have to put in so much effort. Unless, of course, you are asking for an assignment or an answer to a broad question.
8. Keep a record
This is another thing that eLearning makes easier for you. You should keep a full record of your student’s performance and your own content. Apparently, this will allow you and your students to judge you and their work and progress. If someone ever wants to come back and revise what he or she learned then this will make it easier for the student.
It is not a hard thing to do online so just make sure that you have the right settings to do it.
9. An End Task
While quizzes and exams are good tools for assessment, you also want to know what the student learned from the entire course. Therefore, you can set an end task for them that concerns the learnings of the entire course. It does not have to be anything hard but something that represents the teachings of the whole course.
You can even choose to be quite flexible. In this aspect, let your student choose a topic for himself and work on it. In this way, the student gets to share his view, whether right or wrong with you. You get to learn something and by implementing, the student also applies his own knowledge and makes it long-lasting.
10. Give Group Tasks
One of the main attractions of the traditional classroom is a buzzing classroom with groups of students working on a problem. In groups with their peers, students can discuss problems and their ideas freely. While some show excellent skills in one field of the study, others show it in another way. So, let your students work in various parts of the task with others.
This will help to develop interactive skills as well. Also, the mistakes the student makes can be corrected by his peers. Discussion forums do a great job in such activities.
You will be allowing your student to develop many necessary skills while he tries to apply the lessons he learned from your course.
11. Add a Certificate
Everyone likes to see the result of their hard work. As a result, you should add something like a certificate for your student. He and you should both feel that you have attained closure and completed the course.
Other than that, many students feel incomplete without a course certificate. The certificate tells him that he has done something productive. So, reward your student with a certificate that admits that he has learned what he says he knows about.
12. Take Feedback
Even if you are doing something wrong, you would not know what you are doing wrong unless you try to find out. A student will not randomly let you know what he or she likes about your course or does not. Most online students will leave the course midway if they get bored or do not like it. Therefore, you should make the best use of those who stay throughout and ask them what you are doing wrong.
This response can be taken in the form of a survey. You can ask them to leave comments on what they want you to change and what they like. Likewise, you can work on what people do not like and make what they like even better.
Nobody is perfect and by constantly working on ourselves do we get better results from what we are doing. So, make the feedback option mandatory for your students.
13. Keep the Focus
Remember the twenty-minute rule. Usually, humans are able to focus on something deeply for twenty minutes and need a break after it.
So, when a student sees that your video is longer than 20 minutes, he might lose interest.
You can divide one video into multiple videos to make each video seem short. This will encourage the student to watch more.
14. Make your course look attractive
This is the last one because it is the least important. However, it is still important. You do not want to present your content in a way a first-grader would.
Therefore, make sure the templates, the colors, and pictures you use to make your course look appealing. One way to appeal is to make things look easy. Simplify the lesson with simple pictures with not many words in it. Other than that, there are certain colors that human beings are easily attracted to like Red and yellow.
This will increase the focus of your student when he or she is taking your course. Furthermore,
While online teaching may initially seem daunting, it’s actually easier than the traditional method. You can take your time to post and respond. Furthermore, it gives you access to a lot of resources. You cannot always show a video in a classroom, can you?
With online teaching, you can refer a video to your students for them to get a clearer idea about the topic. Furthermore, with their response and constant engage so that they can proceed- you know that they are actually paying attention and learning.
You will get the most out of eLearning platforms if you believe that you can and use the tools and resources it provides you with. This Online teaching Guideline shall help you create a solid course and hold on to students throughout. However, you won’t get students right away even when you have a great course uploaded. The best comes to the patient and who constantly tries!