For many of us the recent shift to online learning is new and sudden! So there’s a lot to take in quite quickly and whilst many staff are making a much smoother transition than they thought possible, some hints and tips on teaching and engaging students online may still be helpful.
Some key messages from the sector emphasise the significance of COMMUNICATION, communication and more communication! It is important to recognise that students will be feeling apprehensive of the sudden changes to their learning circumstances and losing face-to-face connection with their tutors and support staff. The important point then is to keep students informed at all times and not to make assumptions that, just because students are used to communicating in social media, they are equally savvy with regards to online learning.
There are many studies and guides on designing online pedagogies but with the accelerated rate of change we’re experiencing in recent weeks, focusing more on some of the basic principles can help alleviate student anxiety whilst studying online:
- Make expectations clear – timetabling, preparation, attendance/engagement with online sessions and materials.
- Support – online surgery times, Q&A discussion boards, revision sessions, any additional support being made available etc.
- Communication – communicating key/consistent messaging through multiple channels and triangulating e.g. announcements, discussion boards, virtual classrooms etc.
- Transparency – students value openness even more during these unusual times.
Students welcome clear direction so make your availability very clear but also protect your time.
Further guidance on using Brightspace can be found in the Brightspace Staff Resources area.
If you need help supporting your students remotely, see our Guidance for conducting teaching and learning remotely using Brightspace.
Dr Gelareh Roushan