The weather turned cool today (only a high of 95), and it made me think of fall leaves, football season, and classes starting soon. So, I thought I would share some tips for teaching online over the next few days that may help as you prepare for online and hybrid courses. I have used all of these techniques at some point with online and for on campus courses, and I’ve used them for different purposes. I don’t continue to use them all for all of my courses, but I have found them all to successful.
Use Group or Teams
This strategy came from my wife who was a former first and second grade teacher.
- Use groups or teams as a classroom management technique. It’s easier to manage group than it is to manage individuals. Do not confuse this with group work, though.
- Create private discussion board areas for groups.
- Use groups as management for chats, presentations, snacks, peer reviews. I even use this strategy in my on campus course.
CSMs and Archives
- CSMs= Coulds, Shoulds, Musts
- CSMs came from a graduate school professor Dr. Janette Hill at the University of Georgia. In the middle of the week if students need some extra reminding of what they could/should/must be working on, this is a great email to send to them.
- CSMs work well as a substitute for reminding students of things as they walk out of the classroom…”Don’t forget to…”
- CSMs also work well for assignments that will take multiple weeks to complete. This technique reminds students to look ahead at the assignment and begin working on it prior to the week it may be due.
- I have also used this technique with an on campus course and a hybrid course, so it’s pretty flexible.
- Finally, all CSMs, announcements and class-wide emails are archived in a discussion board area called “Archive.” I find this helps to cut down on responses, such as as “I didn’t get that.” or “Can you send that to me again?” When students know the information will be archived for them, they will know where to look for it. It also prevents you as the instructor from having to be the deliverer of repetitive knowledge.
I also don’t take credit for this strategy. When I was an instructor at Clemson University, the faculty there used this strategy and taught it to me. I have found it very useful for online courses and on campus courses.
- The basic idea is to make changes to your course and syllabus only in one place. In general, you would like the syllbus not to change from semester to semester unless there are major changes to the objectives or goals of the course.
- Streamline your syllabus. Keep only the required elements by your department/college/university.
- Use a grading scale or scheme — not specific point values.
- Separate assignment sheets from syllabus.
- Separate the course calendar and due dates from syllabus.
- Create a repository for assignment sheets.
- Assessments are presented with assignments.
- For me: No late work; all deadlines up front.