Our blog offers an in-depth look at relevant teaching techniques and learning theory aimed at keeping your students active and engaged in your classrooms.
As Henry Ford once observed, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” His perceptive remark neatly summarizes an important principle that applies to teaching. The best way to lead students to expect success is to structure the course so that they can succeed, and then demonstrate throughout the course that they will succeed if they work hard and persist even when the going gets tough.
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After years – even decades – of teaching onsite, many instructors are able to teach a traditional, classroom-based course without having laid out the entire course in advance. This approach doesn’t work well in the online classroom, however, as online course delivery requires more fully developing the course ahead of time. Thus, when teaching online, the process of course design is essential.
In higher education, we work within semesters, quarters, or terms that last a set number of weeks. Within a given term, we teach in chunks of time, with classes lasting 50 minutes, 3 hrs, 8 hrs, or other increments. But when we teach online, no longer does teaching have to occur synchronously at a fixed time and location. The online teaching environment requires reconsidering traditional notions of time
Many times, instructors feel like they “should” assign discussion board posts. They do so for a variety of reasons, including to simply receive the “regular and substantive interaction” between students and teachers required in virtual classrooms. Lively discussions are a hallmark of face-to-face courses. Likewise, for decades, discussion boards have been a staple of online courses. But doing discussions online and through a text-based medium offers its own set of challenges.
When we teach online, we have to be more intentional about sharing information about ourselves and about which information we will share. We decide, for example, whether to display a picture of ourselves or an avatar and if so, which. We have to make decisions about what personal information to put out there for students. We have to choose whether or not we want them to see and hear us. How can we make deliberate choices when creating our personas?
Fostering Diversity & Inclusion
Whether you're teaching in a classroom or online, fostering community and inclusion in your class is key to student engagement and collaborative learning. In this collection of articles, we explore ways to practice inclusive teaching, to encourage meaningful connection and communication, and to help students care about learning during an age of significant distraction.