Are you new to online teaching? Do you think it is much more difficult than traditional teaching? If you don’t know where to start, then you have clicked on the right article. Although the best online teaching methods we include here are not really new, they needed to be said. So, you’ll know what traditional ways you can and can’t bring into the realm of digital learning.
Online Teaching Methods: Be Present Online
A good teacher is always present in class. How will you be able to teach if you don’t attend your class? However, making yourself present in class is not the same when online. Most of the time, students see the lesson material rather than the teacher. They are usually left to their own devices. But that shouldn’t be the case.
As a teacher, you need to be present online for your students. You don’t necessarily have to allot your whole day for them. It is enough to just add a few extra hours for communicating with your students. If you always engage with your students, they will also be engaged in their online classes.
Here are some tips that you can do to show online presence
- Every week, provide a lesson summary from the previous week to include in your announcement.
- Also, include an overview of the next lesson for the coming week in the announcement.
- Always respond to your students’ questions.
- Conduct online office hours. Let your students know the schedule and how they can set an appointment with you.
- If misconception arises in the lesson, post a video to clarify it.
- If you give them assignments, check and grade them. Then, send it back to them with feedback.
- If you have an online discussion (forum or board), join in the conversation.
Online Teaching Methods: Be Real
Throughout the class, your student, for the most part, will face blocks and blocks of text. We all know how dry, boring, and demotivating they can get. Prevent this from happening by making the text sound human.
How can you make the text sound human? Add your unique voice to it. We all have our own way of talking that we can channel in writing. Employing emotions in your words can drop the monotonous side. It will be helpful to add humor and concern in your words. That will not only put a smile on your students. But it will also make them feel supported.
Empathize With Your Students
As a new online teacher, remember that you are not the only one adjusting to this. Your students are new to this too. In an online setting, you don’t see often how your students are doing in class. You can’t see if they are still following through or they are already stuck in the course.
There are two ways to fix this. The first one is to create a support system for your students. Provide a discussion board or a forum where your students can interact. Tell them that they are free to ask questions to their fellow students about the lesson. You can also use this as an opportunity to clarify any misconceptions.
The second one is a prevention solution. Check your course materials. Is there a part that can get the students confused? For better observation, have your materials be evaluated by a trusted colleague. This colleague will pinpoint some parts that you have missed. He/she can even advise you on how you can improve that section.
Thus, when designing your course, put yourself in the shoes of your students. Eliminate any possible roadblock in their studies. Make it simple but beneficial.
Online Teaching Methods: Plan Your Course Content
Since we talked about removing roadblocks in learning, now let’s move to planning the course. The basic rule is never to make things hard for your students. Make everything accessible to them. It is irritating for them if they have to find the materials somewhere else. Then by the time they find the material, they are already mentally exhausted.
However, this doesn’t mean that all materials should be in one document. Create a balance between scrolling and clicking through the course content. If they need to click something, hyperlinking isn’t enough. You need to put instructions like “Click here to watch the video” and “Learn more by clicking here”.
When organizing your course content, make it direct, coherent, and natural. Make the learning experience easy and enjoyable for the students. Not only it will keep their attention in the course. But they will also learn a lot.
Online Teaching Methods: Include Visuals
Most people have the impression that online courses are dull and unappealing. These are very demotivational. Humans are more drawn to content that is pleasing to the eyes. So, to make your online class more lively, include pleasing visuals.
A graphic designer is not needed to make your course look better. Just putting a little effort into the presentation makes a better difference. Embedding images and videos is one of the simplest things you can do. If you have a skill in creating infographics, then why not include those too. You can even include some memes as long as it’s appropriate.
However, make sure that all visuals are accessible to all students. You should use formatting tools to enable screen readers. Another tip is to edit the alternative text in case, your photo doesn’t load on your student’s side. Your content appearance shouldn’t prevent your students from viewing your content.
Communicate Your Expectations
When giving assignments, you don’t just hand-out a written instruction. You don’t just leave your students to their own devices. Repeatedly, you tend to explain it to them. You also describe what you like to see in the assignment. You even give suggestions on how they can accomplish the task.
In a digital learning setup, most teachers just send written instructions thinking it is enough. Writing clear instructions is not enough. Communicating your expectations to your students is what you should do.
Here are some suggestions on how to communicate your expectations:
- Conversationally write your directions so it won’t sound like a textbook.
- Record a short video that explains the details of the assignment.
- Provide a rubric so the students know how they will be graded. And also, what their assignment should include.
- Share a sample finished assignment. You can show two samples: a very good one and a not-so-good one, for comparison.
- Give as much support as you can so your students will go start with it and not second guess.
Break Down Learning Activities
As a teacher, you tend to do a lot of modeling, even if you don’t realize it. When you show your student how to solve an equation, you project your thinking process. You tell them the step by step process. This is so that they can learn and solve the equation successfully on their own. This is the same as the other learning activities in your course.
Your students will need to accomplish some tasks they don’t usually do in a traditional classroom. As their teacher, you have to find ways to break down complicated tasks for your students. This is so your students can make progress and have time to adjust their methods.
Examples of what you can do are these. If you plan to have your students make a video presentation, you can have them send a short video wherein they introduce themselves. Also, do a test run on the learning platform. Send sample messages to each other. So if they want to send a message later on, they know how to do it. Do this in the other features of your online learning platform
Online Teaching Methods: Give Examples
In a traditional classroom, when a student doesn’t understand a concept, you find other ways to explain it. You think of examples. Giving different examples helps students learn in a way that is understandable for them. This is even more vital in digital learning.
Online students also learn from many examples and explanations of the topic. Here are some methods you can use to give examples or other explanations online.
- Find existing videos online that explain the same topic differently.
- Ask another expert on the topic to record a video of him/her explaining the same topic.
- Pair your students and let them talk to each other about the topic. You can even have them make a summary report on what they had learned.
However, you shouldn’t go overboard with this. Some students are fast learners. Requiring them to read or watch these extra examples can be too much. Pick only the students that need extra help.
Create A Pleasant Learning Environment
Do you like attending your online class as much as you attend the usual one? If you don’t find online classes enjoyable, what more your students. In a personal setting, you do a lot of things to make the class welcoming. You smile at the students. Make eye contact with them. You provide support for them. You would even redecorate the classroom just to make it more pleasant and encouraging.
You can still do that in online learning. Here are some ways to create a pleasant learning environment online.
- Make use of images, interactive tools, and media on the course and forums
- Provide learning activities
- Simplify course navigation and arrangement
- Bring positivity and optimism in class
- Be compassionate and caring for your students
- Take into consideration their time and engagement by returning the gestures
If you make your online class a pleasant learning environment, your students will surely show up.
Online Teaching Methods: Find Ways for Improvement
Every teacher knows that improvement is better than perfection. Thus, as a new online educator, find ways to improve. Develop yourself so you can become better. Start with small efforts. Eventually, they’ll bring you a bigger impact.
Here are some ideas on how you can improve your online teaching skills:
- Attend online teaching workshops especially if they are offered by your institution.
- Participate in book discussions with your fellow teachers about effective online teacher training tips
- Subscribe to newsletters on online teaching
- Research on best online teaching practices
- Show commitment to developing yourself
Now, that’s our 10 better online teaching methods. Simple, aren’t they? Needless to say, learning online teaching is not difficult. As long as you have the will to learn, you can become an experienced online educator.