Hands On from Tampere University
The “Services for pedagogical development -team” of Tampere University, one of our ECIU partners, provided their teachers with a checklist when planning their for many first non-F2F, distance learning educational offerings. While this checklist seems to be speaking to mostly first-timers when it comes to providing online or distance education, the more experienced ones may find either the one or other confirmation or new idea. Enjoy!
PS: Don’t miss this suggested 30 minutes insight on transitioning ‘suddenly’ into Online Teaching from Harvard Extension School.
Think about what online environments, learning platforms, digital tools you already masteror are able to use, or you are able to quickly adopt. Also think about what digital tools, platforms or environments are familiar and achievable for students. Make sure that the choices you make enable everyone to participate.
• Tampere University centrally supports certain learning platforms and functions.
Additionally, there exists plenty of applications free of charge to be used and utilized and incorporated to supported platforms. Remember that you do not need to master everything at once. Start with tools etc. that are familiar to you and to your students and add new ones when and if needed.
Provide explicit directions and comparisons of the structure of the online version with the F2F version, clearly identifying where students can find study module components and what they should do to get started.
• Explain how the remote class will be structured, if students need to log on for synchronous sessions (and how), where they can find assignment information, and how they should submit assignments.
Quickly transitioning a study unit from F2F delivery to an online format is likely to modify the structure of a study unit in ways that students might find foreign or confusing. This is especially true for students new to online, the LMS, or new to the format being used. Remember that students can also be involved and engaged into planning the study unit and the assessment.
Address communication and interaction expectations.
• Explain to students how they should contact you (email, via online office hours, through Moodle, etc.), how often they should log in to the class site, which activities are synchronous vs. asynchronous, and any guidelines for communicating with peers
(e.g., professional communication, “Netiquette”, etc.).
• Take notice in that your own way of interacting with students has a big influence in the atmosphere of the study unit and what kind of conversation culture is created. That is why it might be good to be “overtly” positive and encouraging in your
communication. By thanking, complimenting, referring to others comments etc., teacher and students are able to create positive study atmosphere, just like in contact teaching. In distance and online education, verbal communication becomes more obvious when non-verbal communication (gestures, facial impressions etc.) can not be utilized.
Students may not readily translate classroom communication expectations to the online format. Setting these expectations from the start, and modeling expectations in all communication, will help students engage in the online format more quickly and confidently. Since it often isn’t obvious to students how to replicate their in-class interactions in the online environment, explain how they should interact with you, the study module, and their peers.
Tell learners what to expect from you and when to expect it.
• Tell students when they will receive an answer to an emailed question (e.g., 24 hours, 48 hours, etc.) and when they can expect assignment grades and feedback.
Disruption that is caused to the students can be minimized when the structure of the study unit is clearly presented, and students know what to expect from the teacher and when. This is especially important when transition is rapid, and uncertainty is perceived.
Identify any relevant changes to any study unit and institutional policies.
• Let students know immediately if there are changes to due dates/times for assignments.
Explain to your students how the learning materials help them complete the activities of the study unit and achieve the intended learning objectives.
• Regardless of the way the study unit is carried out, it is important to make sure that the activities chosen and ways of assessing support the achievement of learning objectives.
• Reflect on how you begin your F2F class sessions and use that to create a module/unit introduction that is text-based or a short video that you record. You can post this as an announcement or send via email. In this Module Introduction, explain to students how what they’re reading or watching that week connects to the study units learning objectives.
In class, students rely on your introductions and contextualization of instructional materials, and the same is true online. A short explanation of what material they’ll be interacting with that week, any particular areas of importance, and how they’ll use the material to do well on the aligned assessments will improve their ability to engage with the material.
Specifically explain how each assignment is related to the objectives of the study module and how you will evaluate submitted work.
• Provide clear and relevant examples and explicate how different assignments or tasks are connected to a larger whole and achieving the goals of the study unit. Present clear and transparent description of how assignments are being assessed. Think about how assessment directs the way students learn. For example, if you wish that the student conveys critical thinking or works collaboratively with others, think about what kind of assessment really enables these aspects to come to light; also in a way that the student is able to identify the development of such skills/knowhow.
In F2F classes, instructors often provide additional information about upcoming assignments. Students will benefit from clear and detailed information about what to do, how you will evaluate it, and why.
Think whether the changes in the teaching affects assessment/evaluation. Make sure to inform the students of any changes. Provide learners with timely feedback to enable them to track their learning progress and process.
• When teaching remotely, it’s important to include acknowledgement feedback as well – let students know, for example, that their assignments have been received. Additionally, provide informative feedback in a timely manner, so that students can use it to improve future work within study module (and beyond).
Students may feel disoriented without regular classroom interaction. In the online environment, much of your interaction with learners can be through robust and timely feedback. Additionally, when teaching at a distance, it is crucial to provide lower-stakes, formative assessments so both you and your students can proactively address any confusion before higher-stakes assessments. The use of smaller, formative assessments, like quizzes or discussions, can replace some of the planned in-class interaction, and can also give you timely insights into how students are learning.
Choose digital tools that enable interaction. Create a sense of community by encouraging and guiding learners to introduce themselves in the online classroom/platform and/or engage in online discussions.
• An early “introduction discussion” activity gets students involved with using the Learning platforms discussion tool, which they may need for upcoming assignments. If the class has already begun, however, students may have already done an in-class introduction. In this case, consider a different angle for a “get to know you” discussion post, such as describing where they’re logging in from. Activities such as these may seem unimportant, but they can be vital in helping students feel connected to you and their peers in ways that build rapport.
Students who have not taken facilitated online study modules may be unaware of the need to establish their own social presence and connect with others digitally. This may be very important when the move to online is sudden or unplanned. Synchronous discussions can be held via institutionally-supported technology, such as Teams or Zoom, or asynchronous discussions and collaborations can be done through the discussion tool, wikis, Google docs etc. For introduction also Flipgrid is a tool that can be utilized.