Below are some important things to remember for any class that are especially important to remember when teaching online (inspired by Bailey & Card, 2009):
Communicate with your students (Perhaps even more than you normally would)
- Send regular updates via announcements or emails, and show them your personality through these announcements
- Express empathy for them, and ask the same of them for you--we are in this together! This will foster relationships with them and increase their engagement in the course
- RECOMMENDATION: Post a short introductory video with your face in it (record it on your laptop or phone) welcoming students to the course
Respond to students in a timely manner
- We’re all guilty of not doing this at some point… but in online education it is incredibly important to keep track of all communications to ease student worries and clarify your expectations
- RECOMMENDATION: Schedule time each day to respond to emails
- Make sure to have explicit instructions and guidelines regarding assignments, taking exams, etc.
- Also include HOW assignments will be submitted in the course schedule.
- RECOMMENDATION: Make sure your course syllabus is as clear as possible, and includes a calendar with due dates for assignments.
- Be kind to students and try to remember that not all students may have the technology required for successful online education at home (e.g., laptop, smartphone, etc.).
- Also remember that internet connections can drop, causing headaches and more emails for you if you set strict deadlines for students.
- RECOMMENDATION: Create flexible due dates. Let students take quizzes within a certain window of time. Let students submit assignments on a rolling basis as they figure out the new system.
- Communicate to your students that your expectations for their success have not changed simply because the method of instruction is different. They need to know that they are still receiving the education of a UC.
- RECOMMENDATION: In your introductory video (and in your syllabus), reiterate that this is not a “watered-down” version of your class, and that you hold them to the same expectations of success as any other class, though you will be forgiving in some ways due to the circumstances (see flexibility & communication, above)