Teaching & Learning
How Do You Teach In-Person?
If you have taught the course in-person before, begin with reviewing what you have done that was successful. Many in-person techniques can be translated to the online medium. Some techniques may take some thought to convert and there may be new ones to try out. If you are creating an online, blended or enhanced course, you need to determine which will work best.
Traditional lectures are often based on the instructor's personal charisma and delivery style. Following are some ways to translate that style online:
- split your lecture into written segments for students to read
- split your lecture into audio segments for sudents to listen to
- create a short video introduction to each lecture segment
- videotape your in-person lecture
- use a technology classroom to create video of your presentations
- use Powerpoint slides and add audio annotations
Online discussion might provide opportunity for student questions and feedback after each lecture.
Many instructors perfer to have students discuss topics. There are several online tools available to create online discussions.
- use asynchronous discussion rooms, messageboards, blogs or forums
- post a question and have students respond with their opinions or experiences
- have students respond to another's post
- use live chat
- students can connect real-time and discuss topics and conversation can be logged
- invite experts to chat real-time with students.
- use a whiteboard
- provide visual aid or illustration during a live chat
- use a wiki
- students can contribute information to knowledge bases
Consider how you might encourage lively discussion which is not in-person. Many instructors have found online communications to be more stimulating than those held in-person. Students have more time to consider their posts, appear to be less self-conscious and experience less peer pressure.
Groups, team, project-based or research-based work
Some instructors require that students demonstrate their skill or compentency in a particular area while working in groups or teams. Using groups or teams requires planning and detailed direction to ensure success. Team or group projects will require use of online communication tools to coordinate. Specify your expectations and ground rules for student performance as team or group members and the acceptable formats for submission of their products.
- use your LMS to create teams, assigning a project to a team
- use discussion tools to have groups or teams collaborate
- team members can perform specific roles such as scribe, reviewer, leader, etc.
- use chat tools to have groups or teams coordinate their information
- have students perform interviews and compile their results
- have students produce Powerpoint or video presentations for others to review
- have teams research a topic for presentation to their classmates
- have students produce written materials or presentations using online communication tools
Audio or visual
You can use audio or visual elements to enhance the teaching of your concepts and provide engagement for your topics such as:
- video segments to introduce lessons
- audio to add comments from experts
- audio to introduce lectures
- an illustration to clarify a point
- a chart to compare information visually
- annotated Powerpoint slides to deliver content
- graphics to add interest and further illustrate a point
- animations to engage students and clarify concepts
- color to cue students visually
Interactive and simulation tools
Interactive tools and simulations have the ability to provide new ways to approach the teaching process. They provide opportunities for student engagement.
- create exercises where the student must perform a task (the exercise can provide positive or negative feedback)
- create a simulation of a process students could not do in the real-world, e.g., a laboratory experiment
- create interactive decision making scenarios
You may have materials that allow students to move through at their own pace and not interact much with other students.
- create assessments that must be passed using a certain standard
- allow students to complete segments of your material in any order, using specific assessments to determine compentency
- determine what project or research each student will perform to meet course requirements
The right mix of online and in-person
Blended courses are intended to blend the best aspects of in-person instruction with online teaching techniques. But how can instructors determine the right mix? Below are some strategies for thinking about your course that will aid in making determinations for how different activities and objectives can be accomplished. To begin, look at your syllabus or outline for the course and ask yourself the following questions:
- What am I hoping to accomplish by using these proposed instructional methods?
- Do the instructional methods need to be changed and why might they need to be changed?
- What will be gained and lost if they are adjusted?
- What media am I currently using and what are the alternatives?
- Is there a way to combine media within a unit to produce a more desirable effect?
- What will it take to produce and deliver the proposed media?
- How will content changes affect the production or delivery of the media?
- Who can I recruit to test my chosen methods and solicit feedback from before the class goes live?
These may be the answers to your questions:
- make best use of strong points of your model
- make in-person time more efficient
- allow external preparation and best use of in-person time
- group work/discussion may benefit from in-person interaction
- some people prefer the personal touch