4 Essential Transitional Strategies for Teaching Online During COVID-19

Tips for online teaching
How educational technology will help your online teaching initiatives in the midst of COVID-19.

How educational technology will help your online teaching initiatives in the midst of COVID-19.

In-class lectures can be transformed into online learning segments, using various online tools. Before deciding on the particular online tool which best suits your teaching style as an online teacher and course material, we will cover important questions to consider, and strategies to implement to help students and educators improve the learning experience.

Strategies to Implement:

1. Re-evaluate Teaching Strategies

Transitioning from a traditional classroom to an online learning environment can affect the teaching experience with only limited time and resources available can feel very overwhelming. To mediate this stress, and help you teach online more efficiently we recommend that all professors prioritize their learning goals, being the subject matter expert, it's your job to help students with their new-found digital learning.

‍With learning goals aligned, the decision will become clear on the necessary tools needed to achieve a successful virtual classroom experience and improve online instruction in an asynchronous (not real-time) and synchronous (real-time), learning environment. With only a portion of the term left, take a moment to consider what learning outcomes and what type of online education will help students to prepare for their next year of studies, or graduation into the real world and their overall professional development. Use this to understand what the priorities for learning are and be sure to communicate them clearly to the students.

‍Next, review the material still left to cover for the course. Not all students have easy access to the appropriate resources to participate in an environment of online learning, not all online students will want to appear on zoom for example. It is essential to see if the rest of the course can rely on assignments, readings and discussions for student progress and evaluation. Will students consider researching information or completing assignments on this topic reasonably straightforward? Will students need more direction and/or feedback? Are there readily available on-line instructions or relevant resources? Examples may include weekly written assignments, quizzes, or assigned readings. If so, assess what online tool can accommodate your needs. Checklist:

  • Does this tool integrate with my Learning Management System (LMS), such as Canvas?
  • Will it allow powerpoint integration or slides?
  • Will my students adapt to this tool quickly?
  • Can it accommodate large file submissions?
  • Can I accomplish the majority of my learning objectives through this tool?
  • Can I integrate other learning tools with this?
  • Will it help with students' learning?

Virtual education doesn't have to be a one-person job

Professors are often expected participate in rigorous training and/or certification processes in order to master how to engage their students in online platforms. This doesn't have to happen with Kritik since our intuitive platform can be easily integrated with any kind of course, regardless of the subject or the professors prior experience with virtual classrooms and offer a high-quality distance learning experience. Additionally, our comprehensive peer evaluation platform offers students the unique opportunity to dive deep into course content by collaborating with each other in small groups. ‍ Kritik has experienced instructional designers who are ready and eager to help professors determine how to make the transition to online courses as seamless and effective as possible, so that your online classes are beneficial for student engagement.

2. Creative Solutions For an Online Classroom

Not all online courses and course content can be conducted online. Courses that need certain equipment, work-spaces or hands-on work will be difficult to integrate online. To prevent learning and student engagement from reaching a complete standstill, professors will need to be creative and resourceful when implementing their teaching material into an online environment, this is good teaching practice. First, consider how you use the majority of your class time under normal circumstances. Are there portions of your class that absolutely need to be delivered through a lecture or a live demonstration, or can it be done asynchronous? Next, ask yourself if any of those teaching practices can be made available for students via podcast, zoom, video recording or live chat. Can these recordings be made interactive to keep the students actively involved? This can include online video discussions, breakout rooms, or providing cues in video recordings to refer to assignment notes or other course materials.

3. Keep Remote Teaching Clear & Effective

With recent announcements of in-person classes and examinations suspended, it is crucial to keep students in the loop.  With recent campus closures and social distancing increasing, students are looking to professors and online instructors for high-quality guidance. Begin by asking your students to keep an open communication channel with you whether it be through your LMS or direct email, have specific 'office hours' to help students with questions about their assignments etc. Start off by setting out expectations for aspects of the course such as participation, technology, or other tools to be used, and any limitations posed from the current learning environment. This way students can become aware of the challenges and workarounds needed to keep themselves engaged in the course, from a distance. Keep students up to date on any new schedule changes, assignment deadlines or changes to the course syllabus or grading process so students feel more engaged and comfortable.

Creating Social Connections:

We understand that classrooms or lecture rooms provide a social component for students to excel while learning. With social distancing in place, students are isolated and left with extra responsibilities to tend to (most importantly the health and well-being of themselves and their family), and not all of them having access to a proper work-space. Kritik provides a gamified experience that can be a flexible tool to use in classrooms. Students have the ability to communicate and collaborate with their peers even from a place of isolation, by reviewing other submissions and providing feedback to assist one another to grow their learning in the course. With consistent notifications and reminders, students will be up to date with activity progress and deadlines.

4. How to Manage your Time

Current class schedules are inadmissible now. With students juggling multiple courses and responsibilities, it is important to establish a daily schedule with your students so they are fully aware of when to be 'online.' Be sure to include regular breaks as this will benefit both you and your students to maintain a healthy and well- balanced lifestyle. Roadblocks and adversity during this time is inevitable, so it is important that messages are relayed through multiple channels whether it be email, LMS or other tools. With administrative tasks and work piling up in addition to the pain and uncertainty of the past weeks, there is no doubt that professors will feel stressed. To alleviate some of this strain, Kritik can help by providing an automated grading process for consistent written feedback. Instead of having professors facilitate remote collaboration, Kritik can accomplish this as a standalone platform, as it incorporates evaluation and feedback-on-feedback assessment for every assignment. Students will have the opportunity to learn from one another and become stronger peer evaluators. Additionally, to help assist with any technical issues we have extended hours of customers support, with our customer service agents readily available on live chat, email and phone.

Supporting Higher Education in a time of need:

Amid the pain and uncertainty of the past weeks, everyone at Kritik understands: what is truly important is that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. After this, our priority is to help blunt the impact of this public health crisis on everyday life and higher education. We believe that Kritik is in a unique position to help. For the rest of the current term and any courses beginning within the next month, we’re making our peer-evaluation platform free of charge in order to try and do our part in making the transition to virtual classrooms as smooth as possible. If this can assist you or your colleagues in any way as you scramble to deliver your courses remotely, please don’t hesitate to reach out by requesting a demo.

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Navinaa Sanmugavadivel
Education enthusiast