Conversion to online teaching: What do I have to consider in order to keep the didactic quality of my teaching high?

Many teachers are currently wondering how they can maintain the high didactic quality of their courses in the short-term conversion to pure online teaching, because the familiarisation with new digital tools, the preparation of materials or the recording of teaching videos requires a lot of time.

What is didactically important when planning the teaching concept?
We know that teaching is more successful if, in addition to the content, it is oriented towards the learners – which is a particular challenge right now. Here is a short “checklist” of what should essentially be considered from a didactic perspective:

  • Activation of the students
  • Consideration of their learning level
  • Fitting of teaching events and examinations
  • Feedback for students

In order to include these aspects in the teaching concept, no “fireworks” of methods, media and measures are required. Students will also need more time to familiarise themselves with the media and their requirements, so it is even more important than usual to focus on the essentials.
In online teaching it is also important to create transparency about the aims and requirements of the event. Only then can students focus their learning processes on the essentials and understand the meaningfulness of certain learning units.

So what to do in practice?

  • In the videoconferencing tool “zoom” now introduced at the TUHH, for example, students from a joint course can be sent to group chats (so called Breakout sessions) in order to exchange information with each other (if necessary select edge times in order not to overload the network, see the information from the Rechenzentrum).
  • In order to activate students during their self-study time, the learning management system (Stud.IP /Ilias) can be used not only as a file storage but also as a place for asynchronous exchange – e.g. by asking and answering questions in the forum or sharing and commenting on milestones of a project in the blog
  • In a mini-flipped classroom, students can independently prepare for a synchronous online presence in Stud.IP by solving tasks based on literature or (video) tutorials. The presence time can thus be used more effectively.
  • In order to provide sufficient feedback a peer feedback with given evaluation criteria can be used (e.g. in the Stud.IP Forum or ILIAS Blog) or a learning progress check with Stud.IP Vips or ILIAS tests can be used.
Self-study, exchange with peers or teachers, processing of what has been learned in one’s own portfolio – this is how online teaching could work.
From: Schwalbe, C.; Plönges, S.; Tan, W.-H. (2016). Der Medien- und Methodenmixer. Das Spiel um Hochschullehre und neue Medien.

Of course it would be desirable that the concepts and implementations now emerging are so sustainable that they can still be used, at least in part, when the universities can return to face-to-face teaching. Perhaps they can then be used, for example, by students to catch up on their knowledge independently?
Thus, the current emergency situation could be used to enrich your teaching with the e-learning units that are now proving to be useful.

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