Skip to main content

Some engagement strategies for fully online teaching

Building your learning community in an online teaching/learning context is just as important as with face to face or blended modes. And it can be done in various ways - particularly using multi-modal communication modes like audio, video and other multimedia.

This semester I am co-teaching an Assessment and Evaluation unit at the Grad Cert level with my colleague P.Roberts. Some of the strategies we are currently employing include:
  • Photo introductions. Instead of simple textual introductions, we focus on a theme e.g. our favourite thinking space, and take a photo of that space and write about why it's our favourite space. We do this first to model what we expect students to do. Around that we ask for other information that be used to tailer the delivery later on - such as what we expect from the unit. You could use any theme for this activity, such as a picture of architecture that has impact on you, or whatever. This strategy is carried over from last year when I co-taught with Dr McCormack and it's fun when people choose their own topic for the photo. We use the Moodle Database tool for this. 

  • Personalised video introductions of the teaching staff. In addition to the socialisation strategy used above both my colleague and I create short 5 minute videos that introduce us in the context of the unit. These help students put a name to face, and video enhances your presence for people who otherwise never meet you. Instead of an office - you might prefer to use an outdoors location on campus with other students in the background, giving the viewer a better sense of where you are. Youtube is used to achieve cross platform and band-width efficient access to the videos.

  • Assessment examples. In this unit assessment items are highly individualised, the examples provide an example of, for example, what the e-Portfolio assessment item might look like. This is especially important because e-Portfolios can mean many different things to different people and we have a particular purpose in this unit so examples are important. 

  • Teaching site video walkthrough. This 20 minute video, again uploaded to youtube so that everyone can access it, points out to students the major student support and learning activity features of the site. The video also highlights the topic structure, convener contact details, e-reserve links, how content is organised, etc. 

  • Weekly focus. Each week a statement is posted indicating a) we have begun a new topic and b) what the key focus is. This reinforces the notes of the topic and helps keep everyone moving through the unit as a learning community. 
  • Polls are also used where needed to gauge students existing practice, attitudes, experiences, understanding, etc.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What does 2021 hold for student #learningexperience at my university

"Handwriting Text E-Learning Loading. Concept meaning Forecasting the future event"   by  focusonmore.com  is licensed under  CC BY 2.0 This year we have a unique opportunity to capitalise on what was 2020 and all the impacts it had on learning and teaching.  Staff ICT literacy levels and confidence increased because they had to use digital tools for teaching, there was no choice. This situation was complicated, academics of all levels of ICT literacy had to adapt. Some staff had zero experience with digital tools and were using online tools for the first time, while others are always pushing boundaries and looking for alternative tools available from central support areas. As with staff, some students have very low ICT literacy, while others blaze ahead of the curve, using the tools like pros and needing much instruction. They just work it out. Shifting this cohort of students and staff to fully online was a massive undertaking and a huge shock for everyone.  Going into 2020

University of Canberra Library adds #VR Headsets to the catalogue - on the road to immersive learning resources in #Education

In September 2018 the UC Library added VR headsets to the catalogue, available in the short loan section. Students can loan the headsets for up to 3 hours. Support for using the headsets will be limited to basic guidance, and beyond this it will be up to students to have their apps and content ready, just needing the headset to get going. Supporting this technology is difficult given the number of different phones, OS versions and apps out there giving rise to any app recommendations working on one phone and not another. For this reason support will be limited, however as our in-house knowledge grows more advice will be able to be given. A small number of headsets to start with represents a low risk investment that also allows staff to up skill in VR technology. Demo sessions and training given to Library staff has been fun and a valuable sharing activity as everyone is at different stages of familiarity. Now that a number of staff in the library have been up skilled we can begin t

Make your #onlinelearning experience more personal with a #lightboard

In August 2019 the DVCA at UC wanted to invest in some light boards as he had seen the educational benefits at the previous university he worked for. I was tasked with putting in a comprehensive bid to an annual equipment fund and, if successful, follow the process through to implementation working with AV Services, and Library Services. As of March 2020 the Library houses UC's first ever Lighboard, and academic staff are putting it to good use. The Lightboard is a glass panel filled with light which stands between the teacher and the audience/camera. The teacher faces the camera (viewers) and writes on the glass using liquid chalk (for best results), the results glow on the glass, and a camera is used to record the session. The camera we use flips the image horizontally so the writing appears in the correct orientation without having to flip it in a post production process. The videos capture the face and hand movements/gestures of the teacher, as well as the hand written conten