In all the time that I have been teaching online, there are MANY tips and tricks that I have learned to help be successful. However, there are 3 secrets to teaching online successfully that have helped me more than all the others. These tips have worked for me time and time again, even during those 4 week online sessions when I can’t stay on top of grading assignments on time or when I get a week notice about teaching a course and don’t have time to make the sexiest assignments, if I stick to these 3 things at a minimum, I still always get rave reviews and evaluations! In this blog post I’m going to give you a brief review of these 3 secrets and explain why they are a MUST for success in an online class. Grab your free guide HERE
for additional details and examples of how I implement these 3 elements into my online courses.
I have found that you don’t have to have every detail of my course planned out from the beginning of the semester, but communication goes a LONG way. Even if you only have a week's notice for a course, you can send a quick email/announcement notice telling the students how excited you are to be teaching them and share the course text, at a minimum. These small communication strategies can can make a world of difference. Other ideas include weekly course announcements, holding virtual office hours or doing one-on-one meetings with each student.
One thing I hated about taking online courses as a student was the complete disorganization of the course. Instructors would have one section often called Course Documents and then have 100 documents posted there and then students had to sort through them all to find the one reading for the week. Please do NOT do this. Instead, you can create any type of organization system that you feel works for your course. I tend to create one Modular content area for each week/topic of the course. Check out the FREE
guide for examples of what this looks like. I’d be interested to hear other organization systems that you have successfully used in the past.
Preparation can be trickiest if you get that last minute course assignment. But there are a few loopholes that can still help you to be successful. When prepping your course consider the course objectives, and possible activities and assignments that align with these objectives. The trick here is to stay at least one to two weeks ahead of the course. For this, you can “drip” your course content, meaning only open one course module up at a time. You can tell students that this is for their own benefit, so they don’t feel “overwhelmed”. In fact, it is a great practice to prevent students from feeling overwhelmed but it’s also a great technique to prevent the instructor from being overwhelmed also! This way you don’t have to worry about setting up your entire course before the first day of classes. Check out the FREE
guide for examples of how to do this.
There are lots of other strategies that can help in teaching online, but I have found these 3 to be truly foundational. I hope you also find them useful. Let me know which one you will try to implement.
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