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Online Teaching Pedagogy

Online Teaching Pedagogy

Online teaching has become an integral part of the modern education landscape, offering opportunities for flexibility and accessibility. Online courses can offer the same level of rigor as an on grounds course, but the pedagogy used must be adapted to the platform. This guide offers a starting point for making sound pedagogical decisions for online teaching and learning.

Familiarize Yourself With the Technology

  • Get to know the Learning Management System. Make sure you can upload content, create discussion boards, grade assignments and communicate with your students.
  • Explore third party tools that can provide ways to interact with the content and each other that the learning management systems do not and add variety to your lesson and assessments.
  • Attend synchronous or asynchronous training opportunities to hone your skills and discover new things to try.

VCU Online’s Online Teaching Enrichment Network

VCU Learning Systems 3rd Party Tools Page

VCU Learning Systems Training Page

Develop Clear Learning Objectives

  • Clearly define what you want your students to know and be able to do by the end of the course as a whole AND by the end of each chunk of content (unit, week, chapter, etc.). State the objectives in performative terms using action verbs so that students can use them to measure their own progress.
  • Align your content and your assessments to your learning objectives. Take extra care to make sure that your assessments require students to produce at the same level the objective asked them to receive the content. For example it wouldn’t be fair to ask students to explain the historical events that led to the BIll of Rights when the objective only asked them to identify the first 10 amendments.

How to write measurable learning outcomes

Consider Engagement

  • Chunk your content in a way that makes it easy for your students to understand how to move through the course and make connections./li>
  • Use multiple modalities to engage students, deliver content, and assess student learning.
  • Ensure all content is accessible so all your students can get the same learning experience.

Universal Design for Learning from CAST.org

Create A Community

  • Believe it or not, most students who take online courses still want to know there are other people involved so be sure to provide opportunities for students to engage not only with the content, but with you, and one another.
  • Encourage regular communication and collaboration among students
  • Create discussion and engage in discussion boards
  • Assign group projects and/or peer reviews
  • Send regular messages to your students
  • Be a human, every video doesn’t need to be perfect, talk about yourself in a way that lets your students know that you’re a real person.

8 Ways to Increase Social Presence in Your Online Classes from Faculty Focus

Use Varied Assessment Methods

  • Consider frequent short quizzes over large cumulative exams.
  • Allow options for student project submissions for example allow students to submit an essay, a video, or a podcast on a topic instead of requiring everyone to do an essay.
  • CBuild in frequent formative assessments with feedback so you and your students know how they’re progressing through the course.
  • Consider exams that emphasize critical thinking and problem solving. Make them open-book.
  • Assess your students authentically by having them demonstrate knowledge and skills in the way a practitioner would.

Provide Timely and Actionable Feedback

  • Set clear expectations for assignments; consider including models and examples too.
  • Provide rubrics with detailed success criteria so students can self assess.
  • Deliver prompt and personalized (referring to the student by name is a great way to start) feedback to help students improve.
  • Allow students to submit drafts for peer or instructor feedback before final submission
  • Offer opportunities for revision and resubmission when you can.

Promote Self-Directed Learning

  • Encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Provide resources for independent research and self-assessment
  • Praise effort and resilience

Time Management and Communication

  • Set a schedule for posting announcements and providing feedback/grades.
  • Communicate your availability to meet with students.
  • Establish a communication protocol for students to get their questions answered and/or concerns addressed. Some options include drop in virtual office hours, e-mail, a course Q&A discussion board, and appointments.

Continuously Reflect and Improve

  • Solicit feedback from students and colleagues to refine your online teaching methods.
  • Stay updated on emerging technologies and instructional strategies.
  • Keep an open mind and adapt your approach as needed.

Ongoing learning and adaptation are key to success in the world of online education. We hope the information in this guide will enhance your ability to deliver effective, engaging, high-quality online learning experiences for your students and take advantage of the exciting opportunities for innovation online teaching provides.

Hungry for more?

Please check out our website for more details about course and support services. For any other questions please contact onlinefaculty@vcu.edu