Prompt adaptation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will ensure some form of normalcy and sanity during the extreme social isolation measures that are being taken. Although teachers and training centers are looking to start online classes, students seem to be rather reluctant to cooperate. Thus, here are some tips to help you set up and continue delivering engaging lectures online:
1. Launch Pre-Recorded Videos
Students are fickle – they will quickly lose interest if you are live streaming a lecture and their internet is lagging. There are also several possibilities of students being unavailable at a given time – making them disinterested and anxious in already stressful times. Thus, for you and your students’ sake, record lectures beforehand and set a daily or weekly deadline for students to watch them.
2. Keep the Videos Short
Students have variable attention spans – especially when they are listening to lectures from distracting environments, like home. Keep your videos concise and preferably 20 minutes long. If the topic is extensive, break it up into three-four videos. This will allow your students to mindfully watch the videos while taking healthy breaks.
3. Set Mid-Lecture Questions
This tip comes from James Junior, who blogs for New Horizons training center that is offering online computer classes:
“Just like a physical classroom, make your online lectures interactive by setting up mid-lecture questions. Take technical assistance, if need be. One or two questions related to the lecture can pop up on the screen and students can mark the correct option.” This will not only help you assess the alertness of your students but will also help encourage them to listen attentively to get the answers right.
4. Add Text or Subtitles with Your Lecture
Several technical issues, either on your or your students’ end, could hinder proper audio. Thus adding subtitles in your lecture or writing down the text of your lecture, below the video can not only help your students to understand you better – but it will also aid them with proper note-taking. As you prepare your lecture, type it all out to add it to the screen.
5. Make Sure Your Lectures Are Not Merely Slideshows
Effort counts – especially when it involves a bunch of unruly and unenthusiastic teenagers. Thus, instead of just reading your slides, take out time to record yourself explaining and giving a comprehensive lecture on your topic. Moreover, it is a fact that people tend to learn better when they see an actual person teaching them online, instead of just bland inanimate objects.
6. Have Someone Listen to You While Recording Lectures
A lot of teachers are new to the idea of recording lectures. Most professors are even hesitant about the idea of teaching on camera – thus some coping tools include having someone listen to you while recording. This will make your lectures more authentic and impactful.
7. Track Attendance through Automated Systems
Making attendance compulsory is crucial – but you must have an automated system to help you save time as well as ensure that all your students are regularly taking classes.
8. Use External Sources to Keep Your Students Updated
Since making videos on time with your limited technical knowledge may be a hassle most, use external sources to keep your students on track. These make include links, articles, reading material or videos of the same topic. Make sure that these materials are accessible to everyone online.
9. Take Frequent Quizzes
To ensure that your class understands the topic, take frequent self-assessment quizzes. But make sure that they are graded and timed so that students take them seriously. Moreover, keep them short. This way, the online lectures become as interactive as physical classrooms.
10. Interactive Apps for Keeping up Students’ Interest
There are several apps like Zoom, Kahoot, Moodle, Edmodo and Blackboard that allow you to conduct learning activities in a fun and interactive manner. Using these from time to time will help keep up your students’ interest and will also help sustain a friendly, sociable environment.
In conclusion, everyone seems to be struggling during the coronavirus to adapt to a new way of life. You shall inevitably make mistakes while you are at it. Take your students in confidence and tell them that you understand their struggles and inconvenience during this time. But together you shall work to sincerely make the online lectures a fun learning activity – thus, appreciate and incorporate any useful feedback or assistance.