12 Online Teaching Tips That Every Instructor Should Know

The switch to online learning wasn’t simple, but COVID-19 made it a necessity. Even though 2021 holds promise to more in-person interaction, we all know online learning is here to stay, too. (Ready here on why) To help support teachers of all kinds, we’ve gathered twelve great tips and tricks for offering high-quality online education:

1. Prepare for the Inevitable

There is no doubt that online learning comes with setbacks — bandwidth problems being the most common. Set up backup internet access, such as a phone or tablet with a pocket WIFI or LTE. Recheck links and attachments before sending. Always have backup storage for course materials in case the main storage goes down as well. Having contingency plans ahead of time is a key ingredient to a smooth flowing class.

2. Set Up for Success

Nothing beats a good microphone and camera setup in online interaction. If you have space, set up a large area where you can stand and move. Having fast internet speed will also greatly increase the quality of the discussion.

3. Train in on the Tech

This is especially necessary for beginners. Dedicate a portion of your first class to helping students understand how the technical side of the program works. Even if you spend most of your first session doing so, your well-prepared students will be worth it in the end. Many online teaching platforms have guides and videos to help you get started, too.

4. Sit Back and Listen

“If you want to master something, teach it. The more you teach, the better you learn. Teaching is a powerful tool for learning.” – Professor Richard Feynman, world-renowned physicist.

Sometimes, the best way to learn is by teaching. Allowing students to get “in front of the class,” even if it is on a screen, will allow them to understand the information on a deeper level. It’ll boost their confidence levels and independence, too, giving them much more than just core subject matter to take away from what you teach.

5. Don’t Forget About Time Zones

Online teaching time zones
Depending on the program, students might be in different time zones. Using timed tests and deadlines may make for some frustration. Figure out the time zones you’re working with before diving in, or even better yet, do away with specific deadlines whenever possible. Your widespread students are sure to thank you for the flexibility and convenience

6. Consistency is Key

Create a basic class structure from week to week for consistency. Students will know what to expect and how to plan for certain types of activities or assignments. The routine will help keep everyone from feeling uneasy along the way

7. Keep the Conversations Going

space for online teaching students
Generally speaking, successful teaching requires a 50/50 split between subject knowledge and strong communication skills. As a result, a teacher must be capable of all four modes of communication – listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Getting creative with interaction methods can help ensure you reach every student. A good example is sending emails twice a week, one for introducing the content and another for student help.

8. Give Students Some Space

Social interactions aren’t as natural in online classes. The conversations and discussions that would normally occur are still just as necessary, though Consider creating a separate online channel for your students to socialize and interact in, giving them the opportunity to form friendships or even just chat outside of class

9. Reach Out to the Unresponsive

Just like with face-to-face learning, there will be students that seem to be unmotivated or unresponsive. Set a plan to reach out to these students and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them succeed. You may be surprised by the responses you recieve.

10. Use the Internet to Your Advantage

The internet is a bottomless pit of information,readily available to students and teachers at all times. Since your learners are already on their computers, their best tools and resources are online versions. News sites, online videos, digital publications, and audio playlists will be far more engaging to the students than a simple PDF file

Don’t forget that the internet also comes with misinformation and scams. Always check that facts come from a credible source and use sites that are verified as safe when making suggestions to students.

11. Encourage Interaction on All Accounts

Peer learning needs to be a trademark of online education. Research shows that educational experiences that are active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned lead to deeper learning. Conversations between the students become lively, with classmates joining forces on either side of a debate. Be sure to encourage these opportunities in every class session.

12. Focus on the Feedback

When an online class is well-designed and the instructor has a great presence, the students are more likely to have a positive experience. Student feedback naturally flows from a positive experience. Student evaluations are beneficial to guiding content revisions and teaching approaches. It’s all about recognizing and understanding the students’ needs. Their voices matter – take full time to listen to them.

What's Next?

Even if it’s impossible to implement all of these tips as you get started with online teaching, bearing them in mind can make a big difference. Just remember that the first and last thing you need to do is to keep your students engaged.  As we learn more about how online learning works, we’ll strive to improve every step of the way. Clickto is here to help you do it better, too. learn more about the incredible online classroom management tools we have to offer.


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