9 Next Steps to Make Online Education More Attractive – Campus Tech


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9 next steps to make online education more engaging

Video conferencing may have worked as a stopgap measure in the emergency shift to online learning, but it’s just not enough in the long run. Here are nine ways to take distance learning to the next level.

For professors who thought higher education was best delivered in a classroom, the coronavirus pandemic has required a profound paradigm shift. But, in reality, for most faculty members, classes are still delivered as lectures. It is only the modality that has changed. Instead of giving talks in fancy lecture halls, they do it over the internet. It’s not sustainable.

At first, the students were delighted that the professors were able to create academic continuity online, so as not to lose a semester of lessons. Nonetheless, as students begin to transition to the end of their semesters or consider continuing their summer studies through distance learning, they are becoming restless. Give lessons through Zoom is not enough. Students want more from their online courses. And that brings me to a key point: the Internet is where today’s students “live”. They engage with their peers online through social media. They share stories and photos of their lives – their triumphs and their failures – online. They follow the news online. Yet, as teachers, we regularly fail to engage them on their terms in the environment where they feel most comfortable.

The traditional lecture delivered by the “sage on stage” differs from the facilitated learning style expected in a dynamic, asynchronous online course where the instructor acts as the “guide on the side”. As faculty members become more familiar with distance learning, many are also keen to do more in their online courses so they can create a richer educational experience for their students.

Here are some suggestions for taking distance learning courses to the next level. They include tools, strategies, and materials that can be used to make online courses more dynamic and engaging. Find your own tools or ask your students to help you. Many students are probably a little bored at home and would appreciate using their internet and social media skills to enrich your lessons. Moreover, when students participate in the educational process, they learn more.

Here are some additions for your course toolkit:

1) Publish your syllabus. Before you do anything else, post your syllabus to your learning management system (LMS) if you haven’t done so at the start of the semester. that you use Blackboard, Cloth or another LMS, posting your syllabus, assignments, and even announcements is easy to do and a great way to engage with students. You can post text or video ads. Video ads are a great way for students to “see” you. Videos can be recorded directly through your LMS or to your phone and then published. You can get help with this from your school’s instructional design team or help desk.

2) Stop lecturing. You want your students to actively participate in the educational process. Even if your lectures were fantastic, they usually don’t translate well to an online modality. Few online students would be able to concentrate for the 50-75 minutes of a normal classroom lesson. Take breaks every 15 minutes. Ask students questions. Or ask them a question and solicit student feedback. Find other tools to divide class time. You can try presenting short animated videos (less than five minutes) from YouTube or textbook publishers to summarize your key points. You can also provide a one-page summary of key points from your conference, which you can post to your LMS. If you use the board a lot in your regular classroom, students will find these summaries particularly useful. You can also save and publish your course for future student reference (but check your school’s privacy settings to save Zoom courses).


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