Educators: How are You Introducing Your Students to the New Online Format?

Jumping from Blended to Online Learning

A couple of weeks ago we met with our students face-to-face in the classroom and this week we are connecting with them through technology.  That’s quite a jump.   

Making this jump can be tough for your students.  Earlier this semester, they were bathed in your warm and understanding classroom presence, and now they will be Zooming and emailing with you.  The hardest part of this transition is keeping your teacher-student connections alive.  

Creating a Transitional Introduction Video

While there is little research into effective ways to change your course into remote teaching halfway through the semester, there is research that introductory videos can be beneficial for your students before an online course. Your online persona and the format of the course will be different so they need to be introduced. 

This introduction could be presented in either video, audio, or text, but the most effective format would be the format you will be using – video.   Your students need to be reassured that parts of their course will remain the same while some have been modified. They also need to be informed of the additional services/tools that you have implemented to support their success.

I teach a blended course along with two extraordinary instructors (and wonderful GA) called Educational Technology and Design. It is designed to provide future teachers with an introduction to using technology to support learning in the classroom. All of the materials are available through our LMS. The lectures are all recorded and posted online each week of the semester.  This lecture is accompanied by readings (RWLD) and there is a weekly quiz so that they could prove their mastery of the material.  We have also had 2 50-minute lab sessions where we discussed the lectures and worked on the 6 projects that they completed throughout the course. 

Due to the structure of our course (9 sections), our students will not experience much difference in how materials are offered and how they will work on their projects.  The main difference will be that they will have to be more self-organized in their new world. They will have to create specific times to Read/Watch/Listen to the materials and work on their projects. While they won’t experience much change in our class routine, some of my students were concerned about taking this online.

Introductory Video

In support, I created a 12-minute video where I discussed the situation, identified both my and their responsibilities, reviewed the upcoming lectures and assignments, and explained the additional forms of support that we will be providing.   I concluded with reviewing their responsibilities and suggestions for organizing themselves to achieve success. 

Please review this video and provide me with feedback about it.  (It was captioned in the format shared with my students but it didn’t make it to the version below.)

What’s YOUR opinion?
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