In the current day and age, we have grown expectant of hearing the word “online” in relation with most activities, from friends having a movie night online to virtual professional meetings and conferences. Needless to say, classrooms made the same shift and become a huge part of the new normal. With the change from offline to online methods of schooling, here are some tips to help you adjust better to the shift from offline to online classroom learning environment:
When it comes to choosing a platform for your classes, there are various options which offer a variety of benefits and plans to make your classroom experience much better and unique even without face-to-face interaction. The platform you decide on can influence your teaching process, certain platforms like Google Slides work well for making and sharing presentations whereas some apps like Zoom are better for adding a large number of participants in a video conference. Some great choices of apps related to online learning and video conferencing include Google Meet, Google Classroom, e-learning platforms, Google Suite.
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Online classes ae extremely different from offline classes and come with its own set of challenges, setting rules/regulations to be followed in class can help in dealing with the shortcomings of online platforms. It can also help you to discuss some regulations with your students to give them the feeling of having a say in the rules they need to follow so that they agree much easily and might arrive at a compromise as well. It is very easy for online learning to become extremely chaotic and hard to manage and with the implementation of certain rules, it becomes much easier to handle.
One of online learning’s greatest problems is the drastic change in the amount of student participation there is when compared to offline classes. It can be quite monotonous and difficult for the students to focus during a class when all they can do is stare at their device screens for hours on end, to counter this, you can try initiating different class activities which can help the students to interact more. Having engaging class discussions regarding the topics which have been covered in class can be an effective tool in helping the students engage more in class and also revise the subject matter. Another way of encouraging students to interact in class would be to hold “stress-free” quizzes on the subject which don’t count as grades but in turn let the students revise in a fun manner and can work even better if there are some rewards or advantages offered to the top scorers.
Teaching in an online classroom is very challenging and can make relaying a topic to your students much harder than when done offline. Many students may not be able to grasp the study material online as effectively and this can lead to the students becoming dissatisfied with the class. Making a separate space, usually in a shared document, for feedback and suggestions from your students will benefit the class and improve the teaching experience. By getting feedback directly from your students, you can pinpoint the issues they are facing and work towards solving them. It also helps the students in relaying their concerns and problems without having to personally seek a teacher out which can be stressful for some students.
In an online classroom, there are a limited amount of people who can speak at a time and for most of the time, everyone has to stay muted in the meeting to avoid chaos. This can be very hard for the teacher to understand if there is anyone who has a question or something to add to the discussion. A sign/signal which has been decided prior to the beginning of the class, can help in managing the flow of the classroom much more effectively. The signs can be very simple ones, like raising one hand can mean the student has a question or a thumbs up meaning the student has a point to add to the discussion. The signs can be creative, and you can discuss it with the students and come up with the signs accordingly.
As the classes will be online and most students will be attending the classes from their homes and/or dormitories, their attire will be unavoidably comprising of comfortable pajamas or sleep wear, which are not normally considered as proper classroom attire, but a compromise is needed from both parties. Regular uniform can become the dress code for students below K12 and for college students it can comprise of T-shirts or hoodies or other comfortable clothing which aren’t sleep wear.
Use these tips and tricks in your online classroom and notice the difference yourself.