The scorching summer of this infamous year has brought the virtual space for teaching and learning into a setting that has to be evolved with every single code. The teachers have already geared up to lead the pack of confused students to a place of continuous knowledge and learning. But there is a twist. The place where these students are led is virtual. As Robert Frost would put it, it is a road less travelled. As we are pushed by this pandemic, this less travelled road is trodden on frequently and it is only for our good because learning online has been more impactful than ever. It’s high time that the tutors of the world take charge and make this mark even more impactful.
Many of us have never taught online and it is foreign to many. It is a major transition from walls to screens. Not all of us like major changes. But you don’t need to worry about this change because companies like utobo swear on its laptops to make this transition as smooth as possible. We aim to make it user friendly so that teachers with great potential like yourself, will only have to worry about teaching and nothing else.
Like everyone else, we are sure that you would have felt an urge to have some expert opinions to understand how online teaching can be improved. But we have got it covered for you. I am taking this opportunity to tell you strategies used by successful online teachers so that you don’t have to spend a week finding them. These points are all based on the blogs, articles and feedback I have read about various successful online teachers.
#1 The Well Equipped Alchemist
We are all aware of the work that an alchemist does and the value of it but not everyone is aware that without his equipment, an alchemist is a mere mortal. When it comes to online teaching, I can make an obvious analogy about how an online teacher would face problems if he is not equipped with the right tools. We wouldn’t pay a hefty sum for gold if it was a cakewalk, would we?
The most important tool that an online teacher should look for is the right platform. We, at utobo, have taken up this challenge to provide online teachers with a user friendly platform that will not only help teachers upload their courses easily but also provide them with a platform that allows them to upload tests, assess them and track their progress.
Online tutors will also require headsets with a good quality microphone, a video camera to record lectures. During a class, she might also need an on-screen whiteboard to explain a certain topic. Every successful online teacher has mentioned the importance of the right tools while teaching online and its importance is justified by their experience.
#2 Content is King
Yup, stole it from digital marketing and I am not guilty at all 😛 We have discussed the importance of content in online teaching so many times that you might even repeat the points from the previous blogs in your mind. That is how Amul made it inevitable for us to say (I sing it) “Amul Doodh Peeta He India”.
I will just summarise the points you have already read in our previous blogs.
- Make your content unique and authentic.
- Don’t upload scanned copies of textbooks.
- One content will not fit well for every student. Keep your explanations creative.
- Use the platform features to upload content with multimedia.
- A picture speaks a thousand words. Add pictures to make it more dynamic and easy to read.
- Keep it minimalistic.
#3 The Back Seat
Okay, this will sound counterintuitive but take a back seat once in a week. Let the students build their own content. Throw out a debate topic, lay back and be an observative spectator. See how the students work with each other. Assess team dynamics. Do a mix and match. Let them tread outside their comfort zone, see them struggle and help them overcome their problems.
You can also give different topics for presentations, give them a deadline and let them present their ideas and you can not only assess but also learn something new or find a new angle to a problem. Now, do remember to keep a firm hand, be attentive and make sure to intervene when the virtual space bursts into chaos. I found it extremely impactful.
#4 The Pathway And The Destination
You need to engage the students with what your plans are about them and pan out your syllabus and the timeline of the course. Now, of course, you don’t have to share everything but you need to share some of your goals so they know what they have to prepare for. The purpose of an online course can be lost in the virtual classroom and the tutor needs to make sure that it is kept alive with various activities, tests and assessments.
The students should also know where they will end up after the course is completed. The tutor needs to show the students how they will grow throughout the course and what skill sets they will garner. It helps the students to understand the purpose and motivate them towards fulfilling that purpose.
I am not saying that you will not succeed if you don’t follow these well tested techniques, you will fail but I am saying that if you follow these techniques, you will see positive results for sure. I also believe that there is no harm in trying unorthodox methods. You will never know until you try. And if you are in doubt or need someone’s advice, we are here for you. Stay Home. Stay Safe 🙂
Avinash Somjani is a contributor at utobo. He caught fire writing. A fearless curious cat with a flamboyant pen, he is currently pursuing his MBA(Marketing) at SIBM Bengaluru. He is passionate about sports, science fiction, history and the ever changing colour of his pen. E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org