Once you have all your course materials organized neatly into 12 modules and your assessments and syllabus are ready and waiting you might wonder, what’s next? Never fear, there’s plenty more for you to do as you near the start of term.
Put your course to the test
If you’re wanting to see how your course measures up you can run it through the paces with the following evaluation checklists for effectiveness. There is one checklist for each of the current LMS’ at USask and an adapted one from the Online Learning Consortium which we use at DEU for Course Quality Reviews and Recommendations when evaluating online courses.
Teaching Remotely vs. Teaching Face-to-Face
Developing a complete remote course is a lot of work and if you’ve gotten to this point you know that to be true. When we’re so focused on developing the materials and activities for an online course it’s easy to forget about the role of the instructor as the term begins and the course goes live. Let’s look at some things you can do to be prepared for teaching in a remote environment.
Be sure that you are familiar with all aspects of your online learning environment.
- Be familiar with the navigation so you can guide lost students
- Proficiency with the technologies you use should be a given so practice with WebEx, Discussions, Panopto, and any other technology you’re using in the class before it starts. Students will ask you first, so you should have some ability to facilitate their technology questions. IT Support is always there for students’ questions that go beyond your basic proficiency.
- Know how you plan to communicate with students.
- How to send announcements
- How to facilitate discussions
- Email students individually
- Offer virtual office hours in WebEx at regular times
- Proficient use of Grading and feedback features
Here is a checklist for Planned Remote Teaching that might be helpful
Communicating with your students is the number one way to keep them on track and engaged in the topics of your course. But when the physical classroom is not an option how do we keep the lines of communication open between the instructor, the students, and their peers?
Remember that your number one role as a teacher is to be present.
- Plan time into your schedule each day for checking in on your course activities like discussions. Read and reply to a handful of these each day to avoid the discussions becoming overwhelming. You don’t need to read or reply to everything, but remember that you’re there to guide discussions and encourage new ideas.
- Send announcements regularly even if it’s just an encouraging note about class activities or a reminder about submission deadlines or workflows.
- Provide feedback through video or audio tools to enhance your presence in the course.
Here’s some more ideas for connecting with students throughout the term and staying present as their instructor.
Your Online Teaching Journey
Learning to teach remotely and online requires some new skills for most people. You’ll find strategies along the way that work well for you and you’ll gain skills that make them happen. Think of your learning as a journey. Every step you take will get you closer to being the online instructor you want to be. Don’t forget to communicate with positive colleagues about what’s working for them in their remote courses.
More ways to improve your Online Teaching
For now you may want to look at some recommended competencies of effective online instructors to get some ideas of where you can begin the next leg of your learning journey.
If you want to dive right in to a guided workshop you might consider registering for Intro to Teaching Online with GMCTL.
In the end it’s all about helping your students succeed in their studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Here’s a link to some tips for helping students succeed in your remotely delivered course.
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