Online Teaching Skills for Teachers
To create the most ideal digital learning experience, teachers have to develop online teaching skills. These skills are essential in allowing the teacher to take the traditional lesson plans fr0m traditional classrooms and apply them to the digital setting. In doing so, the teacher will also need to use the newly acquired skills to ensure that their students can attend classes easily and are able to follow along on the course materials.
Technology and technological resources can certainly make the process much easier. But there are some new skills that the educator will have to gain to effectively teach an online class. The following are the top skills that a teacher has to gain to facilitate digital learning;
One of the most important online teaching skills that you will have to gain in order to make digital learning accessible is communication. For an online learning environment to be successful, there needs to be clear and concise dissemination of information. Whether you are using videos, digital files or even graphs, it is very important to make sure that the language used is easy to understand and straight to the point.
Educators that are used to an in-person learning setting may have to leant to develop more direct and concise communication techniques. This is because in-person communication will often be accompanied by body language that can offer more clarity. The same may not be true when the primary mode of communication is email, text or screen flow videos.
This one goes without saying, but it is very important for educators who are moving to the digital learning space to be familiar with the tools and resources they will be using. To make the process easier, teachers need to be proficient in the following areas;
- They need to have full knowledge of the accessibility requirement for technology in the classroom both in-person and online
- They need to be able to evaluate internet resources
- They need to have full understanding of copyright privileges and violations
- They also need to monitor and model proper etiquette and accepted online use policies
- They also need to design and implement lesson plans for online students
- They need to have the necessary know-how to troubleshoot minor technical issues and have access to technical support personnel when needed
Proper time management is necessary in both in-person and online classes. But it is more crucial to develop stricter time management skills for an online learning environment. This is because the digital learning environment can change rapidly and often. Teachers must therefore be able to evaluate the information and update the courses as needed to ensure that the content they share with the students remain relevant and timely.
It is equally as important to make sure that the students get instructor feedback as quickly as possible. We recommend grading all assignments within a week of submission. Doing this will motivate the students to review their and ask any questions they may have regarding the course material.
Since most students who attend online classes do not attend class during normal school hours. Therefore, scheduling should be done with this in mind and you can choose to schedule offline time during weekends or in the evening.
Compassion and Empathy
You may find that students are more likely to open up about their learning struggle in an online classroom setting. You maty even find that they will be able to tell you some surprising personal and confidential information. When a student trusts you with such confidential information, they are doing so because they trust you and this is where compassion and empathy can come into play.
When such a student misses a deadline, you will know that it is not because they are lazy or incompetent, but it is because something may be going on in their family such as a family member that is unwell. Compassion, allows you to give such a student a break.
Another major skill that you will need to learn as a digital educator is patience. In the online classroom, teaching can be asynchronous and nothing goes according to plan. Things and situations can change very quickly and you may find that you need be flexible and patient with the students to facilitate learning.
Sometimes, your students can be so overwhelmed and anxious about some of the things going on at home that they may not be able to grasp a simple task. Rather than react angrily to the situation, you can be patient enough to help then get the breakthrough they need.
Whenever you teach a particular subject, your own expertise in the subject increases. Therefore, the best way to get a good grasp on a certain subject enough to easily teach it online is to teach it. This is tries even if you already have a good grasp of the subject matter to begin with. You may find that as a teacher, you develop a lot of knowledge of the different subjects that you teach. The more knowledge that you display on a particular subject, the more likely it is that your students will trust you to teach it.
Strategies for Effective Online Teaching
Once you develop the skills need for effective online teaching, the following strategies should help you become and more effective online educator;
Know the Technology
It is important to know how to use and troubleshoot simple problems with the technology that you are using. Even if your school or company offers training on the technology to be used, it may still be a good idea to take some time to see how everything works before staring classes.
You may also want to make sure that the students are aware who to see about technical support when their devices or the technologies that the use.
The challenges of online learning are numerous and you need to be prepared to face these challenges when they occur. For example, at some point the technology that you are using will fail in one way or another such as a video chat is not connecting or an assignment link not working properly.
One of the things you can do is have a backup plan for all content and assignments that rely on technology. When they do fail, be transparent about the reasons and plan actions for the completion of assignments that could not be completed due to technological problems.
Create and Maintain a Strong Presence
Ensure that your students can see you and are able to reach you when they need to. You can send a video message to welcome all students to the class and reassure them that class will proceed normally. Rather than use basic instant messages, you can organize a video chat that you can use to interact with the students and allow then to ask questions. It may also be a good idea to have a complete professional profile that the students can easily access. This will help them develop a rapport with you that can be instrumental in building trust.
Set Course Expectations
Since online learning may be new to your students as well, you will want to make it very clear to them on how you will grade the course. Set clear expectations on other aspects of the learning process including response time. For example, you can let them know that you expect email replies within a day.
Set an Example
Your students are looking to you to provide guidance. If you demonstrate the right level of excitement and enthusiasm for the subject matter, your students are more likely to show up and participate in the class in a way that will benefit them.
You should also encourage your students to speak out more and ask questions in class. You can do that by calling on all members of the class to have a chance to speak. When they do ask questions, respond to the whole community rather than the person who asked the question to encourage class participation.
Request Regular Feedback
It is also very important to make sure that you check in with your students on a regular basis. You can do that using formal and informal surveys, quizzes and assignments. When you find a section that the students seem to struggle with, take the time to go over the course material again.
Online learning can be challenging particularly if it new to both the teacher and the student. It is our hope that with the above skills and strategies, you will be able to easily create and maintain an online learning experience for your students that is conducive to learning.