Ten tips for first time online teaching professors

The CoviD-19 outbreak has shaken the entire world and has brought the sphere to the basics of human survival. It is becoming crucial with each passing day by putting science and technology at center. Countries who were busy flashing their nuclear power have been bound to struggle to save the lives of their citizens. Health, life and wellbeing has become the biggest challenge for the humankind. CoviD is the first pandemic the world is witnessing that has more or less affected all the 196 countries across the globe. This sudden explosion of virus has left the world unprepared about several facets in general. Healthcare, infantry & security, medicine, education, agriculture, businesses of all scales, nothing is spared and thus it is termed as worse than the world war itself. As many as 18,50,220 cases have been identified as on 13th April’2020, the numbers are alarming and appalling. 

India is one of the first few countries to take the step of implementing a nationwide lockdown. It is a courageous step for the economy and certainly the only effective way to protect the world’s 2nd largest population from this fatal disease. Life has to go on and education is one such aspect that cannot be kept on hold for long. The scenario has bought a lot of change and has shifted the regular physical classroom setup to a virtual one. For many it may be the first experience of their life. Online teaching is not a new practice but it is certainly new to become the only possible practice as for now. In most of the countries the regular in-person classes have been facing a halt and the virtual classes have taken the space. To make the lockdown a success, the government has taken several measures, schools and institutions/universities were the first one to receive the orders to put their functioning on hold. As the days have passed the institutions have come up with online classes to bridge the gap and facilitate the students with the study materials.

Online classes have become the sole mode of education these days, and is as new to the teachers as it is for the students. There is a crisis for expert services in the education industry and there are very few Academic Search Firms who are competent enough to up-hold with the complexity the education industry offers. We are one such expert, who has established itself as an undisputed leader in the said domain. EduShine Advisory is a Higher Education Recruitment strategy consulting firm with the prime focus on Higher education at the national and international level. It works with more than 60 academic institutions and corporate bodies with stakes in higher education. We at EduShine have always made sure to facilitate our clients with boutique services which are exclusive in nature. Being a maiden academic search in India we rejoice to extend our role in contributing some of the premium institutions and academic bodies. We help them have the brightest academic and administrative resources. EduShine does believe that every client has different requirements, challenges, concerns, objectives, and goals. Thus, we cater our services with a thorough study and back it with extensive research that makes our services distinctive and unparalleled. Since we consider our clients as partners, we do realize their twinge and concerns. And thus, to help our clients with this arduous situation, we have come up with 10 tips to maximize the efficiency of the virtual class.

Ten tips for first time online teaching professors

10) Prepare in advance

Well, preparing yourself in advance gives an edge to the entire delivery process. Being prepared in advance with the study material, audio clips, videos, presentations or anything for that matter can add up to the regular course and can really make the entire process more engaging. Virtual classes certainly take away the charm of a physical classroom set-up and makes the professor- student engagement is more promising. Also, sticking to a well-defined syllabus may prove to be  effective and will restrict the chances of losing out with the flow during the process. Staying prepared beforehand may rest you with the lew-way to encounter the student’s doubts and queries. Keep your content organized and crisp to the point.

9) Encourage 2-way communication

Keeping the students involved may appear to be the biggest challenge during the virtual class. Structure the entire process into a 2-way divulgence. Sticking to a structured course and material will only prove to be effective, if it is delivered in a two-way-communication process. Deliver your lecture in a manner that the students feel to have a scope to interchange their ideas. Allow them to have a dialogue and come up with the response so that students feel involved. Converting the lecture into an interactive session may prove to be a win-win for the delivering as well as the receiving end.

8) Prepare yourself with required equipment and technology

This one aspect has the charge and power to ruin or intensify the entire game. To make an online class a success, one has to have a proper working system which primarily includes a laptop/desktop, internet/broadband, a camera to see, may be a mic to deal with the clarity of voice, proper lighting, a comfortable sitting arrangement and a mute backdrop. Omit every possible distraction and keep the study material in place. Apart from the equipment which are tangible in nature, make sure to keep a pace with the required technology.

7) Announce the tools you plan to use in advance

It’s very important to keep yourself aligned with the tools or technology you are planning to use and it’s equally important to keep your students comfortable with the same. At the end, they are the one who are supposed to be benefited with the entire process. Today we have multiple tools, do your research and figure out which one suits best to your requirements. Learn the applications of the tool and update yourself with the technology. Make yourself comfortable with the selected tool and encourage the students to do the same. This way the virtual class will end up being more impactful and productive.

6) Invest some time in building the rapport with your class

A physical classroom and a virtual class are two different ball games. To ace the virtual one, one has to put some extra effort to bond with the students. Virtual class can be a difficult area to put a balance, it can be easily categorized as too authoritative and strict or easy and casual. The idea is to establish a balance and create an environment that is conducive, friendly and inviting and is specific enough to consummate it’s utmost intention. Usage of social media may give you an edge as it’s more of a new-age thing. The students will appreciate this effort and will find the class more interesting and engaging.

5) Create a forum or allocate time for student questions and concerns

Create a forum and make this forum visible to everyone so that the students can also take the charge and come up with their own solutions to the questions. This will create a competitive and open environment and will encourage the students to appear with the best possible answers. It may reinforce a brainstorming session and will stimulate the entire batch to participate. Don’t forget to intervene when and where required.

4) Put effort into adding some visual appeal to the content

Inculcate some time to make the presentation, pdf, word file, audio clip or may be a video clip once in a while to break the monotony and keep the entire study material appealing. Many a times, pictorial representation and illustrations can also bring some aesthetic value to the study material. One doesn’t have to be an expert with these and exhaust all the energy into this, but certainly keeping a few things here and there will make it more engaging and will add a personal touch at the same time. It will offer the warmth you may have during the physical  classroom set-up. This effort will bring a feeling of connectedness and will bound the class to a different level.

3) Use multiple communication channels

Using multiple channels may accelerate the success rate of the class. No matter how much we prepare, the fact cannot be ruled out that in online classes there are chances that the entire set-up may fall off or may not turn up in the way it has been planned. As it involves a certain number of people, there are chances that one or other may fail to come up to a decided time or may lack the data connectivity, may not be familiar with the tools or any other unforeseen situation for that matter. Make sure to have a plan B for such situations, so that everybody is facilitated in the process. Multiple channels will increase the chances of being covered by most of the students. Also, this way it will impose in their conscious the effort you are taking for their benefit and will further encourage them to come up with a similar response. This will imbibe the students with a sense of responsiveness and thus, will take the entire process closer to a favorable result.

2) Take student feedback and suggestions

Encourage the students to come up with the feedback and always welcome their suggestions. This can be practiced on a weekly or fortnightly basis depending upon the class strength and complexity of the subject/topic. Remember that the online class set-up may not last for always but the rapport you will establish during the process with the student may remain forever. So, don’t refrain yourself to act welcoming and having the best of the experiences. Allow them to share the feedback and don’t fail to inquire about the ways the class/subject/topic and interaction as a whole can be more engaging.

 1) Assign yourself a designated work space

It can’t be stretched enough; the importance of a separate workspace is pivotal. Online classes may make you feel like a host with a little audience and thus the need of being a good director raise. Put some effort to conceal or remove the stuff you would not like your students to see. A simple and decent physical background has the capacity to turn the atmosphere and bring the required gravity and zeal  to the virtual class. Before commencing your class, it’s suggested to put some effort in being presentable and vigilant. It will offer the required somberness to the class and will keep the voidable nuances at bay. 

Online teaching comes up with its own pros and cons. It restricts to establish an instant connection among the student and teacher and at the same time it gives the flexibility to prepare and deliver the lecture as per once convenience. It takes away the real time charm of  a physical classroom but offers a substitute interactive online platform at the same time. Further, online teaching doesn’t have scope for the movement a physical classroom offers but expands the reach and can connect a large number of expectants from places. This virtual class can be delivered through various channels and mediums and if designed systematically and methodically can have a great impact on the students. It bridges the time gap in such a crucial scenario and allows the universities/institutions to function with lesser obstructions. As they say “something is better than nothing” and here Virtual classes is the only medium that has proven to be this “something”. 

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