Online Learning Tips

  • Give yourself and your students TIME to adjust.  It’s a learning curve for all to teach and learn in this type of environment.
  1. Start SLOW.  Do not pile on work.  It’s overwhelming, and they will shut down.  Less is okay.  
  2. Provide tutorial videos for technology that you want them to use in their assignments.  It’s usually easy to find them on YouTube.  Don’t let tech problems be a barrier to their learning.

  • Just like when you plan for your physical classroom, think about the end goals.  That doesn’t change with online learning.
  1. What is it that you want them to understand and be able to do at the end of the learning task?
  2. How would you like to see their understanding and learning demonstrated?
  3. How can you grab their attention and get them interested?
  4. What information do they need to know before starting?
  5. How can they explain their understanding of the information?
  6. How can they apply what they’ve learned?

  • Make assignment docs/slides a “one stop shop”.  Do not send students multiple places to complete a task. Hyperlink helpful handouts, videos, etc. right there on the assignment.

  • Do an audio or video “talk through” of your assignment documents … just like you might talk through it in class when you hand it out.  Trust me.  It saves tons of email and answering the same questions over and over.  You can do a video talk through with a screencast program such as Screencastomatic or an audio talk through with something like Online Voice Recorder.  You would make the talk through audio/video, save it to your desktop, drag it into your Google Drive, and then create a shareable link for it.  You can then drop that shareable link at the top of the assignment document and tell students to “click here” for an explanation of the assignment.

  • If you are using instructional videos (either “found” or teacher created) … keep them short!  Five or six minutes is about the max.  No one is watching a super long video and paying attention to it.

  • If you are using websites as informational sources for students to read, be picky.  You want them to learn.
  1. Avoid ones with a lot of distracting ads.  
  2. Avoid ones that are really long.  
  3. Avoid ones that are too technical or have too advanced vocabulary.

  • Aim for variety in the texts you use and the things you ask them to create or do:

  • Plan for WEEKS instead of DAYS.  It’s easier to push out an assignment that is designed to cover a week than to push out a daily piece of work.  Students will self pace.  Some will take all week; some will not.  That’s totally fine.

  • If you can look ahead a bit, plan a whole unit and make a “home base” document” for the unit.  Put a table in there that gives instruction for what to do each week.  Hyperlink everything that is needed right there on that document.  Example below is for the novel 1984 and shows what such a schedule might look like:

  • Make it easy for students to put answers in and for you to find them and grade.  “Tables” in documents are helpful.  “Text boxes” on slides are helpful.

  • Think about students who may need extra support.
  • Do I have special ed students or other learners who need more support or scaffolding?
  • Do I need to create a modified/reduced version of this assignment for anyone?
  • Does anyone need reading assistance? (Google read aloud extension? You record a read aloud? A text audio found on Libravox or You Tube?)
  • Do you want/need to convert a text to a simpler reading level?  Try Rewordify.

  • Looking for tech tools?