Effective Online Teaching Practices

This month’s edition of Edubytes includes articles and resources that provide a range of perspectives for educators who are adjusting to teaching online due to the impact of COVID-19. We’ve included links to articles and resources focused on effective pedagogical strategies, faculty and student wellness, as well as links to research on, and courses about, teaching and learning online. For UBC tools, resources and support visit keepteaching.ubc.ca

Effective pedagogical practices

Keep teaching (STLHE)

The community at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education has created a website with curated resources to support the development of alternative strategies for teaching and learning. These resources cover best practices for teaching online, remote assessments; discipline-specific approaches; well-being resources for students, staff, and faculty; weekly webinars, and institutional-level response templates.
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Five principles for making decisions about assessment

The Teaching and Learning Services unit at McGill University highlights five principles, adapted from Brown, S. & Sambell, K. (2020), for instructors who must explore rapid alternatives to face-to-face assessment during this period of disruption. This resource introduces a few example scenarios of how these principles may be applied.
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Teaching effectively online

The Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning Network has developed two workshop series, with short five to twelve minute videos, on teaching effectively online. The first four-part video series aimed at faculty members provides useful tips on promoting social presence online and supporting an inclusive online environment using various strategies. It also discusses ways of assessing students, how to facilitate synchronous communication, student engagement and teaching inclusively. The second, five-part, video series aims to assist staff in supporting temporary distance learning such as planning with instructors, reducing barriers, and what to do when technology breaks.
Watch the video series

Wellness

Advice for faculty members in a turbulent time

This article from Inside Higher Ed is written by Mindi Thompson, an associate professor of counselling psychology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She offers practical advice to help faculty focus on their wellness as they shift to teaching online, working remotely, and dealing with the disruption and anxiety caused by the impact of COVID-19.
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Engaging and supporting students

Inclusion, equality, and access while teaching remotely

The Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice University provides tips on how instructors can increase equity and access when teaching students remotely. One of their recommendations is to conduct a survey to better understand student needs and preferences for remote instructions.
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Innovating pedagogy 2020

The Online Learning Consortium recently hosted a pop-up webinar with Dr. Bettyjo Bouchey, associate professor and associate dean at the College of Professional Studies and Advancement at National Louis University. This webinar covers themes and suggestions for being human, being present, and being adaptable to strategies for keeping students engaged in online learning.
View Webinar

Ten strategies to support students and help them learn during the coronavirus crisis

Mays Imad, a neuroscientist and coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center at Pima Community College, has put together a short list of strategies for teaching in times of uncertainty. In the list, she includes approaches instructors can take to help balance students’ mental and emotional loads so that “they may stumble just a little bit less.”
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A deeper dive into online learning

How to be a better online teacher

Flower Darby, a senior instructional designer and an online instructor at Northern Arizona University, shares a practical guide for becoming a better online teacher. Her guide shows how instructors’ successful in-person practices can be applied to online classes. While she recognizes that most faculty do not prefer to teach online, with many questioning its effectiveness, evidence indicates that when done well, it can create engaging and rewarding learning experiences and result in outcomes that are equal to those of in-person classes.
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Seven big ideas as you shift towards online teaching

This article provides a set of guiding ideas for instructors to consider as they transition their courses to the online environment and emphasizes the need for teachers to shift their mindset from converting to transforming. Many of the approaches focus on participatory pedagogies that leverage the affordances of online spaces. Online spaces can allow students to create and share original content, provide peer feedback and interact collaboratively. The article also invites instructors to be mindful of the student experience and the need to be present and available as a teacher.
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Online course design – courses and toolkits

For those instructors wanting to explore online learning in more depth, there are several online courses and toolkits to help you design more effective online courses. Here are some we recommend:

  • If you are looking for a course to guide you during this transition, view the Association of College and University Educators online teaching toolkit. There you can find a set of resources and recommendations they have developed to help instructors who are transitioning to teaching online.
  • There are also various open online courses. For example, How to teach online: producing continuity for students is a free, open online course offered through FutureLearn (a partnership between the Open University and the SEEK Group) that provides practical strategies for teaching and supporting students online. Athabasca University is also currently offering Learning to learn online, an open course on Canvas that explores the fundamentals of learning online from a student perspective.

What the research tells us about higher education’s temporary shift to remote teaching

This document is a compendium of pedagogy research from scholarship of teaching and learning practitioners. It provides information on the outcomes of “tried-and-true” teaching principles and practices [that can be] adapted online. Topics discussed include teaching outcomes, instructor presence, student connectedness, equity and inclusion, and staying flexible in difficult times.
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Enjoyed reading about Effective Online Teaching Practices? Learn about other topics we covered in the March 2020 edition by reading the complete Edubytes newsletter. To view past issues, visit the Edubytes archive.

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