Teaching Online for the First Time: 7 Tips for Successful Classes

Schools and universities are pushed into remote learning due to COVID-19. Teachers and professors need to move their courses and classes online – some of them for the first time and in short notice. We gathered tips on how to effectively prepare for a remote class. We also asked Digital Leader Dr. Zeenath Reza Khan for her take on a good online class.

As many educational institutions move to a remote learning environment, a lot of educators around the world are experiencing online teaching for the first time in short notice. Setting up a virtual class usually takes time as you need to think of the resources and ways to have your students engage in this new learning environment. We know that this concept comes with a lot of challenges, which is why we gathered a few tips that you can follow to effectively prepare for a remote class. Planning ahead and organizing the course step by step is a good way to start preparing your online classroom.

Prepare a suitable technology 

The first thing you need to consider when moving to online classes is the right hardware and software to use. A good computer with a reliable internet connection is one of the basics to think through as you want to minimize the possibility of interruptions while you are teaching online. Also, be prepared to have a backup internet solution in case of an unexpected issue from your internet provider. 

Another thing to consider is the Learning management System (LMS) that you are going to use. It is important to get to know your LMS prior to the course so you can become comfortable and know how to navigate the LMS process.

Plan your online classes

As online classes differ from traditional classrooms, they need a different approach. Since your students are not physically present, their needs are different and you need to support them by putting yourself in their shoes. Giving clear instructions and clarifying how the course will be structured will help you create and maintain a good teaching environment. So, make sure you share your Syllabus and course material with your students prior to your course. The Chronicle of Higher Education provides a detailed guide on how to create a syllabus.

Engage the passive students

As mentioned previously, planning your classes helps you create structured ways of teaching. Yet, planning ahead the different ways that students can interact, can be also efficient in engaging everyone in the class. There are a few strategies to follow for engaging all students: Have in mind that not all students are self-motivated so engaging a range of students and not letting the same voices dominate the class is essential for making students understand that engagement is important and required.

Polls and quizzes can be an effective tool to start a discussion and gather students’ ideas. This way you involve students with the study material and make the class more interactive. You can find some examples of quiz templates here: https://elearningindustry.com/elearning-quiz-templates-usage

Keep your students active. A common challenge in online learning environments is that students can be distracted more easily. So, try to interact with them at least every fifteen minutes. 

You can find more about how to engage your students here.

Keep a consistent communication with your students

Try to communicate with your students regularly, as a common challenge in online learning environments is that students can be distracted more easily. So, try to interact with them at least every fifteen minutes and be actively involved. Additionally, make sure to have a specific amount of time every week that you will be available and let your students know the times that they can contact you. 

Feedback from students 

Student feedback may turn out to be a valuable means of designing a course that will benefit students and deliver an effective online learning experience. Therefore, ask your students for feedback on how satisfied they are with the course design. Do they feel supported during the courses? Another topic to talk about is the course content. Do your students have clear expectations from you? Do they have all the information they need to know where to look for help, in case they face technical difficulties when uploading assignments? Remember that student course evaluation can give you constructive feedback on what to improve or alter in your course. 

Online teaching can definitely offer some opportunities for student engagement and participation. Once you start setting up your online class, you will be laying the groundwork for an effective online teaching and solid communication with your students. 

About Julia Esch

Julia is a Content Creator at PlagScan. Being both experienced in the fields of design and communications, she is bringing together the best of both worlds. All of that with a nerdy heart and a creative mind, and an eye for the details. As a 'Jack of all trades' she is working on projects where all of our departments meet - both the commercial and the technical side.

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