This article is based off of the course Teaching Online and Hybrid created by STARLINK Training Network, an agency of the Texas Association of Community Colleges, and available on Atomic Learning.
Whether you are a novice just starting out or an experienced online instructor looking to enhance your skills, these nine suggestions may help you to improve your online instruction.
Let’s jump right in:
- Identify your Teaching Style
When it comes to teaching, try to figure out what you do best and what you feel most passionate about in a face-to-face environment. You can then try to adapt that into an online course.
- Know Your LMS (Learning Management System)
Whether your campus uses Blackboard, Brightspace, Canvas or others, get comfortable with the learning management system you have access to. Knowing what your LMS is capable of and what you can do with it can help make the most of your time.
- Utilize a Mentor
Find a fellow faculty member that is already familiar with creating courses online. They may be able to give you tips and tricks that they learned along the way, as well as ideas on how to get started or improve your current courses. There is no need to reinvent the wheel every time.
- Be Consistent
Ensure your online course covers all of the same learning objectives that would be covered in a face-to-face course. Meaning, some of your projects or assignments may have to be adjusted. If you would, in a face-to-face setting, typically have students watch a video and encourage open discussion afterword’s, use that same method by posting a video and starting a discussion thread online to better emulate the face-to-face environment.
- Create a Welcoming Online Environment
Consider using message boards, discussion threads, and instructor news areas to help students feel welcome and comfortable in your course. When developing your course, ensure that course materials are easy to find and easy to access to help students navigate the course successfully.
- Convey Expectations
Be sure to clearly define your expectations to your students, beyond a list of “do this, this, and this.” Try outlining them in a way that explains how to be successful in the course. Encouraging time management and critical reading can help limit distractions, which can be common issue for students in the online setting.