Small Teaching Online: Lessons from Part 1 of the Book
As we’re preparing to teach summer course online, many of us are looking for easy tips and tricks to improve our instructional practices. The CITL has been sponsoring reading groups of Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes by Flower Darby and James M. Lang, which is available for all IU instructors in IUCAT. We’re dividing the book into three different reading group events that meet over Zoom. The first group covered “Part 1: Designing for Learning” which included the topics of “Surfacing Backward Design,” “Guiding Learning through Engagement,” and “Using Media and Technology Tools.” (See also the blog post from Part 2 of the book.)
During our reading group events, we provide a space for instructors to share what is working for them and what they are still working on in regards to online teaching. Check out some of the main points and ideas instructors shared from Part 1 of the book:
- It was surprising and reassuring to read that students prefer non-professional videos. One instructor explained, “Remember, you’d make mistakes in the classroom and you wouldn’t tell student to erase it from their minds. You can make little human-mistakes in the videos too.”
- We need to think about how learning new tools might be a heavy cognitive load for our students during this time. One instructor voiced that her students wanted everything to stay within Canvas, so that they didn’t have to learn new tools.
- Make sure your students are aware of what is offered for their home computers on IUware.
- Consider sending out a survey to your students asking about tech capabilities, etc. Keep in mind that you may want to make it anonymous, as students may be embarrassed to report that they have only their phones.
- For students who only have their phones to work on and need to complete writing assignments, you could offer them the option to handwrite their answers and take a photo of the document to submit online. This might be easier for some opposed to typing on their phones or using voice-to-text software. They can turn the photo into a PDF using software from IUware.
- We’re missing the verbal and non-verbal cues we get from our face-to-face classes that let us know students are struggling with course work. Just like you would in an in-person course, consider reaching out to students via email when you notice them not submitting work. Similarly, when designing an online class, at the end of each weekly module, think about creating a Canvas quiz that asks: “What material is making sense to you? What material are you struggling to understand? What else do you need to succeed in this class?” Put the quiz at the end of each module, so students always expect it.
- Instructors have reported Zoom breakout rooms to be helpful for starting communication. Remember that the instructor can go between multiple groups. Students can also use the “help” button, to call the instructor to their breakout room. Keep in mind, this will be difficult to film for asynchronous learners.
Thanks to the instructors who attended this first session and shared their ideas and insights.
Interested in joining IUB instructors in a conversation about teaching?
Join us at the next reading group on May 12th from 10 – 11 AM; register here. Everyone is welcome and the book is available via IUCAT. We will be discussing Part III (chapters 7-9). It is not necessary to have read other sections of the book. We look forward to reading and discussing with you!
The CITL is offering other reading groups as well: If you are interested in working through The Blended Course Design Workbook with CITL experts as well as a cohort of peers, we will be running a virtual learning community May 18 – August 15. Synchronous meetings will be held via Zoom every other week. If you are interested and can commit to attending all meetings and work in between, please fill out the brief application form, no later than Thursday, May 14, 2020.
The IU SoTL program within the CITL is sponsoring a more traditional faculty reading group experience around The Online Teaching Survival Guide. Faculty will receive a physical copy of the book. Meetings will be held virtually via Zoom from 10:30-11:30am on Thursdays. Meeting dates include: June 4, July 9, & August 6, 2020. If you are interested in joining the book group and can commit to attending all three of these meetings, please fill out the brief application form no later than Friday, May 15, 2020.