This is a guest post from Dr. Renée Akbar.
When the university was closed for Katrina, many of us continued, online. For the Division of Education and Counseling (DOEC), this is what kept our Division alive. We were forced to connect with and teach the graduate students, who were displaced to every corner of the Unites States. We maintained our graduate program online and not one of us had online teaching experience; so, we improvised. The online platform was suspended when the university returned to campus.
Fast forward to 2016. DOEC faculty designed an online Ed. D. program, but could not fully adopt the “online philosophy” of do-it-yourself learning. Instead, we preferred to stay connected with our students as you do in a face-to-face environment. Sometimes the Ed. D. faculty hold a 3-hour lecture for a class, via Zoom. Sometimes we have virtual discussions where we view and discuss projects or work in small groups. We call this virtual teaching or teaching online. And, that is different than online teaching.
Currently we are all called to virtual teachers. So I am sharing some of my Lessons Learned:
- Time has to be spent orienting the students to the online format and your style of virtual teaching.
- Be specific as to where you post what is needed for class on Brightspace.
Know that the students will actually use Brightspace.
- Just like a face-to-face lecture, a virtual lecture can also be non-engaging.
- You can be just as engaging, virtually, as you are face-to-face.
- Don’t use a large (e.g., three-hour) block just for lecture.
- To cover a large block of class time (e.g., three-hour), combine different modes of learning available in Brightspace and/or Zoom—Discussion Board; Quizzes; Videos; Breakrooms for small group instruction, to name a few.
- Expectations should be clear and nonconfusing.
As we prepare to teach remotely, please know that CAT+FD is here for you. We have compiled suggestions, tips, best practices, and resources in one handy place, on our wiki at: catwiki.xula.edu/KeepTeachingXULA