You’re an expert in your field of Communication, Media, or Information and in your face-to-face classroom. However, with these unprecedented times requiring us to teach online, you may be feeling like a bit of pedagogical and technological support as you transition your teaching to online can help ensure your students stay engaged, connected and immersed in your course.
We have been impressed with the tenacity our faculty showed in taking on the rapid change to remote teaching. Many of you are learning as we go, and concerns you may have as an instructor are likely shared by your students. Acknowledging that this is new for many of us and that some may be experiencing anxieties in this challenging moment can help you and your students transition to this new format successfully. You can not only teach them your content, but also show them that we care about their well-being and learning. Compassion and a growth mindset in the design of our courses offer some strategies for meeting these goals.
As we move beyond remote teaching to planning for an online Summer 2020 session, re-designing your course to be online-friendly can seem overwhelming. It is important to start by identifying areas that will need some small tweaks as well as areas where you will need to apply new strategies. To get you started we have identified basic strategies that can help you prepare to deliver your classes remotely.
Am I Ready?
If you are not sure whether or not you are ready to teach online, or if you are still new to the format, SCI IDTS has the tool for you. We have created a self-assessment tool to guide you in reviewing your comfort level in five key areas for teaching an online course: administrative, design, facilitation, evaluation, and technical skills. At the end of the self-assessment, results are sent to you with links to resources that can help you develop an action plan for areas you want to strengthen your skills.
Online Teaching Expectations
There are three factors that contribute to student retention and satisfaction with online courses:
- Engaged Learning: Facilitate active learning with your students. It encourages student agency and ownership in the learning process. This can be done by providing a variety of opportunities and activities to apply knowledge and demonstrate their mastery of the content.
- Personal Connections: Similar to face-to-face environments, it is important to cultivate and foster an inclusive course culture. Familiar activities such as ice breakers and discussions are good ways to overcome distance.
- Assessment: Prompt and specific feedback lets students know where they stand and gives them an opportunity to modify their thinking, study habits, and/or effort. A lack of teacher presence is shown to decrease student participation and satisfaction.
For online courses to be successful, ideally, they will be completed before the course is launched. Generally, we recommend setting aside a minimum of 20-30 hours for preparing and designing an online course. This should be done over the course of several weeks (4-8 weeks in advance of the course launch) to allow for changes and unplanned interruptions.
Regardless of whether the course is 6-weeks or 15-weeks, there are six basic components of an online course:
- Course Overview and Information
- Course Technology and Tools
- Design and Layout in the LMS
- Content and Activities
- Student to Content
- Student to Student
- Student to Instructor
- Assessment and Feedback
Online course design can follow a set model for chunking your content, converting courses to an online format, or shorten/lengthening a course. Or, the course design can be free-form depending on your needs. SCI IDTS can offer guidance on the method that will work best for you and your course.
Instructional Technology Learning Plan
The SCI ITS group maintains a catalog of instructional technology that is supported by Rutgers and SCI. Use this catalog to identify instructional technologies that you need to learn more about in order to manage your online course. SCI IDTS can work with you to identify Rutgers workshops and trainings, as well as provide 1:1 guidance where appropriate, to ensure that you have the necessary skills to facilitate your online course with confidence.
Ask for Help
SCI IDTS is available to work with instructors on everything from advice for creating engagement online to suggestions to keep your course running as smoothly as possible.