COVID-19 ushered in a sudden, dramatic change in the education system. Globally, all educational institutions were compelled to consider virtual alternatives to traditional, classroom learning. Adjusting to the change was not easy, and the process hasn’t been completed. Many educators are struggling to unravel the mysteries of a technologically oriented classroom environment, changes in the interpersonal dynamics, modes of assessment, and lack of human feel to the experience.
Teaching online is not easy; ask me about it. You dress up only for sitting in front of your computer systems and addressing a virtual audience you have no idea to engage as actively as you might ordinarily do. Barriers to online education are many, and personally speaking, they are quite challenging to address. However, today, our focus is on something else. I wish to discuss ways in which teachers can alleviate pressure off their shoulders and teach better online.
I have compiled 7 things which could be of some help.
- Distribute source materials
Online classes mean that students may not have a physical copy of the source of your lectures. The distribution of source materials is important to ensure that students are well-directed and informed. Scan your source materials or find digital copies of the same and distribute them well in advance so that they have an idea about the theme of the lecture. Keep your students informed of the agenda of the coming lectures.
- Work on technical skills
It may be challenging for you to master technology, but you have no option. We do not know how long we are expected to continue with online lectures. Unsurprisingly, many teachers report that their lectures are interrupted due to their lack of skills over the online classroom software. Many students, sadly, often take advantage of the lack of expertise at the teacher’s end. Before starting your lectures online, seek assistance from anyone who knows the software in and out. Learn all the basics, from scheduling meetings to receiving assignments.
- Continuous engagement throughout project works
You will be amazed by the wondrous features available on multiple e-learning platforms. Whether you use MS Teams or Google Classrooms, you will find an ample number of features that can actively engage students. All these platforms provide options to create assignments. In order to keep the interests of students alive, generate assignments on a routine basis. Create deadlines and mark students accordingly.
- Involve them in discussions
It is hard teaching before a screen but you gotta do what you gotta do. Also, the experience is tiring not only for you but also for students. Many students report that they couldn’t concentrate because the interaction is missing; professors continue delivering lectures in a go. If you want students to pay attention in your class, give them reasons to do so. Involve them. Ask questions in between the lecture so that they are able to contribute to the discussion.
- Use Visual Aids
One grand feature of online classrooms is that you can easily share visual aids without much inconvenience. All you need to do is share your screen and students can watch whatever is running on your system. You might want to create slides and deliver lectures based on them. This way, students would be able to keep up with your pace and understand better where the lecture is headed to. Since a whiteboard is missing, visual aids in the form of videos, images and slides could be quite resourceful.
- Stay in touch with your students
Online classes may make you unmindful about interpersonal relationships with students. You should be in constant touch with them after classes. Address their problems regularly and enquire whether they have been able to comprehend lectures properly. Students may shy away from telling you problems online so you should motivate them all the time. Make yourself approachable so that students stay connected with you as much as they would have had in ordinary circumstances.
- Do not slack
The comfort of home can impact your dedication as a teacher. You might feel increasingly uninterested in taking up classes seriously which will surely be reflected in your communication skills. Whether or not you are a master of communication, lack of interest is palpable nevertheless. Let not the homely comfort distract you from your responsibilities.
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