10 tips to improve your online teaching

  1. Schedule your classes 15 minutes earlier and be online at that time. That gives you the chance to react in case of technical problems, gives your students a chance to login on time, in case they face technical issues and for those who made it to the online class early without problems will enjoy a few minutes of chatting. Same thing for after the class and/or for a break in between.
  2. After having added your Webex link to Moodle, also inform your students that you’ll be using Webex and to please check Moodle. There is no automatic notification for them that you uploaded a link on Moodle.
  3. Prepare a backup plan you can use if tools were to fail one day. This could be to ask your students to watch a video online and write a comment on it, or to read an extra text you always wanted them to read or to solve an extra exercise.
  4. Record your class as there might be students with technical issues who are happy to watch the course later. You may find that a number of students rely on the physical university infrastructure, such as computers at the library, and will not be able to access remote solutions, especially on short notice. Make asynchronous learning possible.
  5. Don’t try to just replicate the lecture course (if you have time), think about what the new medium affords you – asynchronous discussion, different resources you can draw upon, a range of tools, etc. Combine the tools to make best use of them. Take the opportunity to enrich your courses by integrating more audio or video material.
  6. Check out digital-learning.lu. This project of the FHSE collects tools that might be useful for remote teaching. The 8 most interesting resources you also find below.
  7. Make sure your appearance remains professional. Dress how you would dress for class and find a quiet environment with a neutral background.
  8. Be tolerant and patient with yourself and with your students, as regards the use of these new tools. It takes a bit of time to adjust. Just because your students grew up with technology, does not mean they know how to learn using technology. Remember they may be too embarrassed to contact you and say: “I don’t know how to start”. Sharing your own learning with the technology can be a powerful way of letting students know it is OK to not know everything yet.
  9. Keep in mind that online learning may be new to your students, too, so weekly summaries or regular notes keeping them up-to-date, summarising the past week, providing guidance for the week ahead and any other important communications will help orient them as well. These can be handled as a course email or course announcements in Moodle.
  10. Be proactive: Online it is impossible to see glazed looks on your students’ faces. As a result, teachers need to find other ways to assess the students’ learning. Ask for understanding regularly, use the chat in Webex, polls or ask your students to open discussions in the forum of the course on Moodle. Designate a student to collect questions and do a Q&A session.

Some resources & inspiration for content for your online classes

  1. Although the LLC (Luxembourg Learning Centre, the University’s Library) is closed, it still offers a wide range of electronic resources (publications, scientific articles, databases and ebooks), which you and your students can access from anywhere at any time via a-z.lu.
  2. TED Ed is a “lesson creator” platform that allows you to structure an assignment around a video and assess students’ engagement with the material. You can use any YouTube video you find (or create) or you can select from the “TED-Ed Originals” section which features lessons co-created by educators around the world.
  3. EDx offers online courses from all subjects and from various universities worldwide. The offers keep changing. They are free, but a sign-up is required.
  4. Openculture similar to EDx, but doesn’t require sign-up.
  5. Nature video is the YouTube channel of the scientific magazine Nature.
  6. Humbox is a repository for classes and courses in Humanities, languages and the Arts. It includes videos, exercises, and class schemes.
  7. Kahoot is a free student-response tool for administering quizzes, facilitating discussions, or collecting survey data. It is a game-based classroom response system played by the whole class in real time.
  8. The project digital-learning.lu lists some useful resources as well.