From the GA Desk: Online Teaching Tips

by Konnor Brennan, Graduate Assistant, Reinert Center

Taking a summer to convert a face-to-face course to an online course can leave an instructor feeling crunched for time. Doing it in a week, while managing many other tasks, is a stressful experience with many challenges. Below are a few tips to promote success for instructors and students during this transition

1. Consider creating a “Basics of online learning assignment” for your students. This assignment can explain the expectations of the course to the student and can also include some assessments to allow the instructor to gauge if the students understand what is expected of them. For example, one question on this assignment could ask the students to list the weekly assignments they are required to complete, how they can access these assignments and how the assignments will be submitted.

2. Consider having students create a schedule of how and when they will work on the course material. One of the challenges of online learning is the self-structured nature. Some of our students may have never taken an online course and don’t realize the benefit to a strict schedule. As instructors, we can help our student succeed by emphasizing the need to schedule our time and/or assigning a scheduling task where our students create a schedule of their workweek.

3. Check in with the students frequently. Ask how the students are managing this new format. Ask if there is anything that the instructor can do to help facilitate their learning, and just as important, ask if there is anything that is hindering their learning.

4. Consider holding virtual office hours. Just as an instructor would hold normal office, consider offering office hours via Zoom or other virtual meeting software to students. Plan on them having many questions, not just about the course content but about the new expectations and technological issues

While this time may be a stressful time, it can also be an opportunity to expand our instructional toolkit and broaden the scope of our courses.