Online students require the presence of a teacher in their lessons. This requirement is met by thorough explanations and excellent communication, which may turn a poor online course into a fantastic one—and it all starts with the syllabus. Every teacher training programme emphasises on the structure and communication, which are essential to a successful online course curriculum also.
Syllabi are highly personalised; some are quite brief, while others are extremely detailed. It is up to you how you characterise your course and tasks. However, you may discover that when creating a syllabus for an online class, there are places where you need to be more precise than you hadn’t considered previously. Students report more uncertainty in an online class; being detailed and unambiguous early on might help to avoid queries later on.
On the first day of class, you won’t need printouts of your course content for your online students. It will be made available in your Canvas or any other software you are using. Students will certainly have access to the course before you meet with them – your course syllabus will be their “first impression” of you. Make it pleasant, educational, and explicit about how they may contact you and receive assistance.
Consider including a welcome photo or video with your curriculum. Online students have few chances to interact with you. It’s simple to provide a video or photo of yourself, and it serves as a simple visual reminder of you to your pupils. This is especially crucial if you are team-teaching! If you want to produce a welcome video, keep it brief and capture it on your smartphone. Students want to know that you are a genuine individual.
- Set communication expectations for what your students may anticipate from you. Your students will not encounter you before class, between courses, or walking across the room by chance, so make it obvious to them HOW you want to be contacted. Do you prefer to communicate by email? If that’s the case, when should they anticipate a response from you? Do you want them to use online discussion forums to ask questions? Will you have walk-in Office Hours? All of the options listed above are viable options for staying in touch. Make it obvious to pupils how and when they may contact you. Set expectations for your students’ communication: do you want them to join discussion boards? Will you expect participants to contribute if you have synchronous sessions? Are they using their webcams? Making these expectations apparent in your curriculum allows students to understand the amount of participation you anticipate.
- Describe your course’s technological prerequisites. Will a printer be useful to students? Is that a scanner? A certain laptop level? Will they require any special software? A reliable internet connection? When examining your assignments, consider what the bare minimum is for completion and make this plain to students. If you anticipate students to engage in synchronous sessions, advise that they utilise a headset for better audio. It may surprise you how diverse students’ access to acceptable tools for online learning is.
- Always take a minute to express how much self-discipline and motivation are essential to succeed in studying. Since educators won’t be going through the course standards with them, this is a method for them to highlight this crucial part of online learning to students. Furthermore, suppose this becomes an issue later in the semester. In that case, you will be able to remind the student that it was mentioned in the syllabus that the course needed a high level of self-motivation and that he or she elected to continue in the class knowing this.
- Keep in mind that the internet frequently implies mobile! Provide a web-based curriculum as well as a downloadable PDF. Your students will consult the syllabus on their PCs as well as their mobile phones; giving the PDF allows them to download it for offline review.
- It’s usually a good idea to establish an honour code for your class. This may be your personal honour code, honour code of your department, or honour code of your university. Of course, kids who truly want to cheat will find a way, but this is a simple technique to make them reconsider. It alerts them to the problem and outlines the repercussions if you discover they’ve been intellectually dishonest.
- Since the course is online, students work independently and can work ahead if they like; thus, nearly all of their assignments are available and ready to be completed. Providing them with grade cards will definitely help them to access their understanding of the subject.
- Make use of the scheduling tools and grade book available on the platform you are using. Number and title your deadline assignments, and set them in a weekly framework, but utilise the scheduling features to display actual assignment deadlines. This eliminates the need to revise your curriculum each time you deliver your course. It’s twice as difficult to keep due dates updated and precise if they’re in two locations. Explain where the due dates are in your curriculum.
- Giving students some study suggestions and showing them that you care about their achievement in an online course is a great way to connect with them and demonstrate that educators care about their progress. Make it conversational and add colour and emoticons to express personality as this provides a personal touch.
These were some of the ways for educators to prepare for online classes. One can also join online teacher training courses to gain knowledge and skills to use technology and successfully run online classes.