Strategies for teaching online


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  • Be visible and present. Schedule times to meaningfully engage with students at least a few times a week by posting announcements, answering questions, providing tips on assignments, giving grades and feedback and hosting office hours. This is especially important if your class is mainly asynchronous (i.e., does not have a real-time session).
  • Provide clear expectations for students. Students may not know what is expected of them in an online course. From the start, let students know how you expect them to participate. During the course, provide guidance through weekly announcements, office hours, rubrics, etc. If using technology, such as lab simulations, for experiential learning, provide clear instructions and guidelines for students on how to interact with the technology.
  • Keep an eye on balance. Set boundaries for your participation. Provide times when you are available. Facilitate peer conversation instead of responding to every post in a discussion forum.
  • Streamline course organization and flow. Organize your Brightspace site in a way that helps students know what to do and when. Aim to make things accessible in as few clicks as possible. Steer clear of “walls of text” that require endless scrolling.
  • Look for ways to be yourself. Online courses can feel like they lack human connection. Find ways to infuse your personality. For example, write conversationally, post a profile image, make video announcements. Find ways for students to do the same.
  • Deliver content in multiple ways. Consider attention span when creating content. Instead of a 90-minute lecture video, try shorter videos interspersed with text explanations, resources, or opportunities for interaction and feedback like a quick poll.
  • Help students keep on track. Give students regular opportunities to interact at least once every week with the content and their peers. Opinion polls, low stakes quizzes, or discussion forums can create accountability.
  • Adapt assessments. Assessments may not directly translate to an online context. Instead of trying to replicate in person assessments online, modify them as needed to ensure they enable students to demonstrate that they have attained the intended learning outcomes.
  • Choose technology wisely. Learning a new tool can be time consuming so use only the technology needed. Use UVic technology when possible and consider FIPPA privacy legislation.
  • Create an inclusive classroom. Identify accommodations students may need (e.g. extended time on assessments, transcripts for audio and video, descriptive text on images) and create as few barriers as possible.

About this post

This post was last updated:

September 25, 2020

We acknowledge and respect the Lək̓ʷəŋən (Songhees and Esquimalt) Peoples on whose territory the university stands, and the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day.

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