Try Something New in 2016

Try Something New in 2016

We begin a new term in January of 2016 and what better time to try to improve your online teaching? How long has it been since you refreshed your teaching style or added a new tech trick to your delivery? Let’s talk about a few resolutions you could implement this year to help your students learn better and be more successful.

1. Be present. Yes, your presence, the sense of being there with the students in the online course, can make a difference to students. Students can get to know you even if they never meet you. Did you know that your lack of presence can affect a student’s satisfaction and success in the course? If they think that you don’t care, then why should they?

  • Create an engaging introduction that lets the students not only view your professional credentials but your personal aspects as well. Let them see that you are a real person teaching and guiding them through the course.
  • Be active in the discussions. Read what the students have to say and make a comment, ask a question, or add a “from the field” experience. This will let students know that you are “present” in the conversation and it will give you a means to share your expertise with students.
  • Communicate on a regular basis. Use the Announcements tool to start off the week, or to wrap up the week. Let them know what you are thinking, and how the class did on the previous assignments. Tell them what you learned from them. You can make this a two-way street by leaving the announcement open for questions, just be sure that you check back in answer those questions.

2. Enhance your feedback. Put some time into the feedback that you provide for students.wordle

  • Make comments on their papers, encourage them when they seem to be struggling, and make meaningful remarks so that they can learn more about the topic from you, the expert. Just writing “Good job!” on a paper does not help the student learn. Add meaningful comments that will enhance their learning.
  • Use the tools of the LMS such as commenting inline as well as on the sideline. You can mark up their papers within the system with highlights, strikeouts, and insertions.
  • Create audio or video comments for feedback so you can read through their paper and “talk” to the student about the content they have submitted. Let them hear your voice and your passion for their success.

3. Try a new piece of technology. Certainly, there are limits to the use of technology in an online course but try to incorporate a new tool to see how much it engages students.

  • Use video in your announcements. It doesn’t have to be high quality or lengthy. Use the tools of the system to record yourself providing comments or updated to the students.
  • Add links to webpages or YouTube videos to enhance the content of your course.
  • Use the available tools such as Course Analytics or DropOut Detective to monitor student engagement in the course so you can actively increase the chances of retention.

Implementing just a few of these ideas could make a world of difference with your student’s success in your online course. Pick one or two of these suggestions to refresh your online teaching and engage more actively with your students.