How are LCSL instructors making online teaching work?
Scroll down the page and read about teaching tools and strategies that have worked for other instructors making the jump to virtual classes!
From time to time, I devoted part of the class to breakout groups where students (in English) could share their experiences during the pandemic, share strategies to cope, offer support to each other, and also share strategies to stay connected and motivated.
I used discussion boards periodically to encourage more in-depth participation from students who might have been shy or have connectivity issues on Collaborate.
Google forms, Google docs
Instead of using the Collaborate polls, which are limited and time consuming, I prepared Google forms. I could then share my screen, show results and trends, make comparisons, etc. I also set up a Google folder “workbook” and created a separate doc for each student. For activities that ask students to fill out a table or reflect on a question before talking openly in class, I copied the questions into the doc and asked each student to access their document and complete the activity. This I think helped to keep students on track and generate a sense of “presence.”
The breaking into groups option worked very well. I also assigned individual paragraphs to specific students ahead of class, and then showed the paragraphs on the screen via the share function while the students analyzed them.
Communication is key!
Students appreciated the frequent communication and posting of materials (PowerPoints, worksheets, review guides answer keys, etc.). They also mentioned that they liked how much time was spent in breakout groups; many commented that they benefited from practicing with classmates this way.
Recording class sessions (just in case)
Students appreciated the use of breakout groups during collaborate sessions. They also appreciated that class sessions were recorded in case they had internet issues at the time of class that prevented them from attending synchronously.
In some cases, students participated more in class discussion (using the chat function) than in on-campus classes.
I created longer sessions and stayed in class a while after the class ended, to allow students to casually ask questions/chat. I created short slides, sometimes even 1 page, that I could easily upload in break out rooms. We also tried to discuss life in general, to make sure that students felt supported all the way.