#27: How to Connect with a Faculty-Peer Community Online

#27: How to Connect with a Faculty-Peer Community Online

Benefits of Connecting with a Faculty-Peer Community Online

This content originally appeared on Online Learning Tips.

This is episode number 27, “Connecting with a faculty peer community online.” This podcast is for educators, academics, and parents who know that online teaching can be challenging but it can also be rewarding, engaging, and fun.

Welcome to the Online Teaching Lounge. I’m your host, Dr. Bethanie Hansen, and I’ll be your guide for online teaching tips, topics, and strategies. Walk with me into the Online Teaching Lounge.

Connecting with a Community Can Ease Isolation, Frustration and Stress

As you know, we’ve all moved into online education. Whether you were already there 100% of the time, as I was, or maybe you were teaching live face-to-face classes and you had to move to online over the last six or seven months, many of us have been teaching 100% online.

With that comes some isolation, some frustration, stress. That normal routine you might’ve had, getting in the car, driving down to the school and teaching your classes, that disappeared, and that daily rhythm with it. Whatever made you feel that sense of structure and community, it dissolved almost overnight.

In the fall, some people got that back just a little bit, but it might be helpful to connect with a faculty-peer community online if you haven’t done so already.

Today, we’re going to talk about how to connect with faculty communities online, what kinds of communities you might think about and what style might suit you.

Now, why is it such a challenge to find communities when you’re working only online? This can be challenging because there are so many options.

There are, for example, over a billion Facebook groups alone. If you wanted to find a community in there, it might be difficult to do so. It makes it difficult to know where to start or even get involved, and adding something else to your online life can also become a distraction, especially with a high workload or a lot of students you’re teaching.

So in this episode, you’re going to learn how to focus that effort and build the type of community that will suit you best.

3 Ways Online Communities Can Support Teachers

The first thing I’d like to share with you is that there are really three important ways that communities can support you as an educator.

The first kind is a big professional community. This is where you keep growing, become your best as an educator, and keep aiming towards being connected to that larger world beyond your online classroom. This helps you create community with your students because you’re also focused on learning yourself.

And, of course, in the online classroom, we always want to build a learning-focused community atmosphere. Professional communities can help us stay relevant. So we might hear something up to date, something that ties to current events, or the latest practice or idea for teaching something. We’re going to stay up to date in the field; we’re also going to grow professionally.

Some of the things you might get from a larger professional community might be a newsletter, a conference, a blog, a webinar, some of these could be on topics that you’re interested in. For example, if you teach communication, maybe it’ll be about teaching public speaking or interpersonal communications.

It will be also about grade-level appropriate material. So you might have public school-age things, preschool-age things, college-level things, for whatever kind of educator you are, or you might specifically choose one for online educators.

And for that, I highly recommend the Online Learning Consortium. They have a lot of articles, a lot of best practices online, and they also have an online conference coming up in November of this year.

You can start a blog to share your ideas with a larger professional community if you’re into creation. If you have a lot of ideas you really want to get out there and you want to share your own voice, you might also consider starting a podcast. With that, you can have a website where your podcast connects, and you can build your own community that connects with your specific ideas.

You can join social networks geared at your topic, your teaching level, or online generally, or you could look in Ning or Facebook and build a new group.

There are so many ways to get involved in a large professional community. And again, the focus of this kind of activity is typically so that you can become connected beyond the local area, and beyond your individual participation as an educator, and feel a bigger sense of purpose, a sense of connection with a bigger career field, and also connect with the ideas of others, with the potential to share some of your own.

Now, if you’re looking for a large community that you would like to join, I highly recommend looking at your field and seeing what kind of organizations already exist. Many professional areas — music, art, math, writing, languages, mathematics, science, all kinds of areas — have their own professional organizations.

And many of these organizations are also specific. Or, they have divisions within them that are specific to different teaching levels, such as secondary, elementary, higher education, or homeschooling, even.

As you join professional organizations, you’re going to find a lot of material. Over the last six or so months in particular, much has been written, created, put on video, created in a webinar, or just put out there in other formats to help people get online, feel connected to their online teaching, and connect with each other with ideas.

So you’re going to find there are a lot of professional communities out there that can support you in feeling the bigger purpose of what you’re doing and having a field of ideas and tools beyond what you just have within your own toolbox. So think about joining a large community to support yourself, but also to contribute.

A second way that a community can support educators is to get connected on the local level. So your local community might be something like your community college district, the university you teach at, your public school district, the state or city teachers’ organization. Depending on your city, whether it’s large or small, there might be more local groups or more regional and statewide groups.

When you join these organizations, you’re going to connect with people who have similar experiences with the region and the kind of people that live there. And you might also see them face-to-face in the future, when you go to live meetings or when you’re at your school, seeing people in the hallway and so forth.

Believe it or not, it’s very likely that will happen, that we will see each other face-to-face again. Some of you are already doing that now.

Now, when you join a local professional community for educators, you have that opportunity, yet again, to share what you’re experiencing, share strategies and collaborate with others. You might be able to do shared curriculum projects, create research projects, and do other things that take your professional self into that larger realm of professional community by adding to the knowledge that is out there, as well as diving into the strategies and ideas of the now, what you might teach now, what you might share now, and how you might meet the needs of your learners right now.

A third type of community and a third way that you can be supported in your professional communities as an educator is through individual peers. You can be supported by an individual peer who works in the same area as you.

Maybe this person works in the same local area. Maybe they are a colleague or a mentor or someone that you might mentor in your school district, your university or your college district.

You might find colleagues that you know personally, that you’ve already met and worked with. Sometimes you can observe each other in the same online classroom, if you work for the same institution.

You can observe each other, share ideas, give feedback, share curriculum and swap strategy ideas. You can also talk about what experience you’re having and provide emotional support to each other.

If you like to mentor others or if you want a mentor, you can consider how you might become one for someone in your local area or someone in your professional organization. So there’s much that can be done to give and take in situations online right now. You can even do your mentoring through Zoom if you need to or on another online interaction method.

So think about how you might be able to benefit from or get involved in either the larger professional community in your subject area or in online education, in your local community, maybe your school district, your state organization or your community college district, and through individual peers and networks that you might already have established.

Once you’ve thought about how these three different levels of involvement and types of groupings might benefit you, the next step is to decide how do you choose how much to get involved and what involvement would suit you best.

Choose Your Involvement Based on Needs and Preferences

In order to make your choice here, I would suggest considering your personal preferences and your focus. Your personal preferences might just have to do with your personality or the way you manage time. Or maybe you have small children at home, and you have just only a small bit of time to contribute or to use toward professional community. Whatever your situation, think about what works best for you.

There are some people who truly appreciate one-on-one deeper relationships. And maybe in a case like that, you’ll want to build some community with some of your colleagues, some of your peers that work nearby.

If you really prefer feeling connected to that bigger sense of purpose, you might choose the larger organizations, or attending webinars and participating in social groups and blogs online.

The other part is thinking about your focus. Do you want to focus on your teaching or your content? Do you want to consume or create and share?

So here are some questions to help you decide what level of community would you really like to be involved in right now, and what would help you most:

  • Would you prefer social support, or content and teaching strategies?
  • Do you prefer a close connection with only a few people, or affiliation with established larger groups and organizations?
  • Do you want to support others, or do you prefer to have support from others in a mentoring manner?
  • Would you like to lead, create, mentor and contribute to larger-idea places?
  • Do you want live virtual events you can attend and updates on your calendar, or do you prefer to passively engage at your leisure?

Make Time to Engage, and Focus on Positivity

As you think about professional communities and what they can do for you, what connections they can make with you and for you, and how this might help you keep your head in the game of the bigger picture of teaching, bringing your students along, and being part of a bigger community yourself, make time to engage in the community, whether it’s one-to-one live gatherings or online groups, and then ask for help, advice, and ideas at times.

When you ask a question, others will engage with you, and that invites conversation and collaboration.

And then focus on connecting, growing and positivity. Negative community experiences can take away from your energy, which is already in limited supply, and make it difficult to set goals and keep learning and being resilient. So best wishes to you in choosing how you might get connected.

And as you’re thinking about where you would like to start, I would like to suggest three different websites I came across that might offer some value to you:

  • One is trueeducationpartnerships.com. This appears to be a website from the UK, with 20 or more of the best online community sites for teachers, and it’s a great treasure trove of information.
  • The second one is called weareteachers.com, has some great ideas to help you feel connected and also overcome some of the negative aspects of being socially distant.
  • And the third one is educatorinnovator.org. This one is powered by the National Writing Project, and it’s a hub for connected learning. There are a lot of great ideas there, blogs and ways to get connected, as well. Thank you again for listening, and I wish you all the best in your online teaching this week.

This is Dr. Bethanie Hansen, your host for the Online Teaching Lounge podcast. To share comments and requests for future episodes, please visit bethaniehansen.com/request. Best wishes this coming week in your online teaching journey.

This content originally appeared on Online Learning Tips.

#26: Strategies for Effectively Grading Online Assignments

#26: Strategies for Effectively Grading Online Assignments

This podcast and article were originally published on Online Learning Tips.Com.

The COVID-19 pandemic created a major shift in U.S. education. K-12 schools, colleges and universities switched from in-person classes to online education, a transition which was challenging for many instructors and school administrators.

Grading assignments in online classes can be difficult and time-consuming due to the high workload and lack of support that’s often found in traditional classrooms. In this podcast, Dr. Bethanie Hansen provides a comprehensive strategy for online teachers to effectively grade assignments. Learn about FOCUS-EQx2, a teaching strategy to help online instructors streamline their grading and manage their time so they can provide students with effective comments, feedback, and evaluation.

Read the Transcript

Dr. Bethanie Hansen: This podcast is for educators, academics, and parents who know that online teaching can be challenging, but it can also be rewarding, engaging, and fun. Welcome to the Online Teaching Lounge. I’m your host, Dr. Bethanie Hansen, and I’ll be your guide for online teaching tips, topics and strategies. Walk with me into the Online Teaching Lounge.

If you’ve taught in traditional settings, traditional on-the-ground universities in live classes, you’ve likely used a lot of different approaches to grading your students’ work. Here are some that might be missing when you’re online teaching.

First of all, in a live class — especially at larger universities — there might be a testing center. A testing center is a place where your students can go — their identity is verified, they are monitored to ensure they’re doing the work honestly and without tools, notes, or other items, and then the answers might be run through an automation that grades it. For most online teaching, there is no testing center, especially if your students live far from the university or the college.

You might have a second tool like teachers’ assistants who took your class previously and now they’re back because you trust them. And those teaching assistants might’ve taken attendance or collected assignments and graded students’ work for part of the class or even much of the class. Teaching assistants have lightened the load for faculty to focus on teaching strategies and methods, so you can help your students learn most effectively.

Teaching assistants are largely absent in online education. I’ve seen some universities try this approach, and there are a few pilots out there doing it. But it really is a lesser-known model in online higher education, so it’s unlikely that you have a teacher’s assistant helping you grade your work.

Thirdly, you might’ve had peer-evaluation practices. On an assignment, this might help everyone improve and you might use an entire class session where students do sort of a workshop together. And when students see the assignment from an evaluator standpoint, they take on a new perspective and they might make some more connections to the subject matter.

Peer evaluations can be a really great way to help students improve their work while they’re lifting your grading load. And usually, this activity is done in real time and you’re guiding it and telling them what to do with each other and what to look for.

Now, this can be done online, but it does require a lot more guidance to be done well. That’s helpful to know; peer evaluation might not be totally absent, but it’s not as strong of a practice.

In your online teaching, it’s very possible that you’re missing these elements and so your grading load is a little bigger, but also we have the physical demand. And instead of writing just a few comments or a grade on the paper, giving it back to the student face-to-face, and talking about the general strengths and areas for growth to an entire class when they’re seated right in front of you, all that you need to tell the student must be typed on the essay.

It actually has to be typed somewhere, unless you’re using a really innovative strategy of providing something like video feedback, which can also be time-consuming. So there is a physical demand involved in online grading.

And lastly, the truth, right? Some teachers just don’t like grading, and it’s easy to put off. If you’re a person who dislikes grading and when you get a large number of assignments all at once, it can feel like a huge task to evaluate them quickly and to get them back to your students in a timely way.

Managing that time and the work of doing it is very challenging if your favorite part of teaching is the class, the face-to-face stuff where you’re helping others explore the subject.

With all of this said, I want to dive into the idea of effective online grading. And I’m going to give you a strategy today that I hope will really help you rein it in, put some limits on this and make it more manageable for you.

The problem is that grading assignments and online classes can be difficult and time-consuming. And if you’re typically a face-to-face teacher and now you’re teaching online, it’s also a big mindset change. There’s a lot that’s different about this.

Now, at a basic level, the work your students are going to submit does need some kind of grading and evaluation from you as the instructor, and this grading needs to be clear. There are a lot of different ways you might grade things, which could include rubrics, grading to a standard or a set of standards. You might have a pass/fail type of grade depending on the item, grading on a curve, and there’s also holistic grading.

Whatever approach you’re going to use, your students just need to know it up front before they submit their work. And they need to receive your grading clearly tied to whatever method or model you’re using.

For example, if you’re using standards in your grading, you would want to include these standards in the assignment description so students know it. If you use a rubric, you would provide a copy to students with the assignment description and then return a marked-up rubric with the graded assignment so they can see their performance in each area.

Understanding your grading is the most important thing here because if you give a student a B, or a C, or a D or whatever on their assignment, they definitely need to know how they earned it, why they got that grade, what they need to improve in the future, and so forth. All the different information that you need to give your students is in your grading and evaluation process.

For anyone who normally teaches live classes in higher education, when you begin teaching online and students are not coming to campus, your experience is missing a lot of those supports that used to be there to minimize the grading workload and to make it a lot easier.

Your online teaching experience is basically asking for much more from you in the grading and evaluation of students’ work. This is why grading assignments for online classes can be difficult and time-consuming, especially if you compare it to traditional experiences I’ve just described.

You might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed with the way your workload has changed and maybe some of the ways you need to evaluate your students’ work.

So let’s look at what will happen if you don’t give students the clear grading and evaluation of their work. First of all, they’re going to continue to make mistakes, or they will fail to grow in their learning. It’s difficult for a student to know if they’re even on track when they don’t get feedback. And of course, there’s the possibility that they will complain that you are not helping them, and they will eventually appeal the grades you give them and the final grade for the course.

Your grading and evaluation must be supported and without support, it’s very difficult to defend it. What will happen if you’re too thorough? Have you ever been too thorough when evaluating your online students’ work? I know I have, especially early in the game when I was first learning how to do this.

And if you’re too thorough, this takes a lot more time, and it can be overwhelming when you have many classes to teach and a lot of assignments to grade. Ultimately when you’re teaching online, you need some kind of strategy and you need a few tools to help you give your students effective, genuine guidance through your grading and evaluative feedback. And you need a system that’s going to help you have efficiency while you’re doing it.

Today, I’m sharing a strategy for grading online students that I’m calling “FOCUS-EQx2.” This strategy is going to help you effectively move through a student’s assignment while you provide the evaluation and feedback. The FOCUS-EQx2 strategy is going to give you specific areas to look at for truly effective grading, and it will help you focus your evaluation overall.

Now in a future episode, I’m also going to tell you about a few tools to help you become more efficient so that you can manage your time well and create a system that works for you. So we’re not talking about tools today; we’re talking about strategy.

Now, let’s dive into this strategy. I’ve been an educator for 25 years, and I’ve taught online for more than 10 years in higher education. I’ve managed hundreds of faculty at an entirely online university in two different schools and in six different departments.

I’m only sharing this background with you today so you know that there are a few details about my background really pertinent to this topic, and I have some perspective on these teaching topics and particularly grading. When I’m managing faculty, one of my roles is to evaluate them and I’m often looking at the quality of their grading and the type of grading they provide.

Now, I want to tell you a little bit about my early experience when teaching online. I struggled to know what I should include in grading comments. I really wanted to help students and I evaluated essays and pretty soon I was putting a lot on there.

It seemed to take me just a lot of time, and it was a lot of effort to provide all of those comments. Some were about grammar and writing and some were about the content and some were about the way things were organized, but it was really just all over the place. So I was making a lot of comments and thinking about a lot of different areas of grading all at once.

And I’ll give you an example of why this was such a big deal. I had one eight-week upper division writing class that I was teaching, and it had one written assignment every week. Each assignment built on each other until the final Week 8 essay, which was a 10-page paper.

Now, all of these assignments needed comments and guidance from me on the paper itself, and they all built on each other leading into that paper, so the feedback was critical. Now that final 10-page paper also needed detailed feedback. You can imagine with very many students this is a large load of grading, right?

Every week, this feedback had to be returned quickly. I was teaching several other online classes at the same time and I sat for hours at the computer; I found it to be really challenging. There were some really late nights and giving all of this evaluation was taking away from time I wanted to be putting into other parts of my teaching, like being in discussions and sending messages to less active students and all those kinds of things, and maybe even making some instructor videos or creative announcements or things like that.

I asked a colleague for tips about how to make this more effective; I really wanted to focus my strategy. She suggested looking at a few key areas and doing them well, and she listed them for me and I started to do them.

Since then, I’ve added to that strategy and it has made my grading so much more effective. This is going to reduce your overwhelming grading load, it really is, and it reduced mine. It also gave me a lot of focus to the process and made the whole practice of giving effective feedback much more streamlined and much more effective.

The strategy can easily be remembered through this acronym: FOCUS-EQx2.

Focus stands for formatting, organization, content, understanding and support. And EQ stands for editing quality, and it also stands for evaluation and qualitative comments. There are two EQs in this strategy and that’s why I’m calling it EQx2.

As you begin to read your student’s paper, you’re going to notice that each area of the FOCUS-EQx2 strategy is going to change. It’s going to be based on and the type of assignment that you’re looking at.

For example, if you have a formal essay or a research paper, we’re going to use all of these areas in detail. And if you’re a grading a multimedia assignment or just a short written reflection, maybe you’re only going to use a few of them.

Regardless, it doesn’t really matter what kind of assignment, having a helpful strategy like this is just going to help you keep yourself organized and avoid getting runaway with just one part of this process or ignoring things that you should really pay attention to.

Let’s talk first about formatting. For each assignment, your students are going to submit, there’s some kind of formatting involved. These are things like the appearance of the assignment and the heading that might be used, the way sources are formatted at the end, how the spacing is between the lines, those kinds of things.

To evaluate the formatting, you can just scan the visual appearance of the assignment. And if that paper should be double-spaced or have a heading in a certain spot, or maybe it needs to use a style like APA or MLA or Chicago, you can add a brief note to commend the student for their excellent formatting or give some guidance about their errors and how to fix them next time.

It’s really important to give this kind of feedback about formatting because we want students to keep learning throughout their education. And we also want them to know what academic writing or different formats that you might be asking them for should look like.

The truth is formatting is very superficial; it’s a really small part of any assignment and you shouldn’t overdo it here. You just want to give it some attention, make a comment, keep it brief and move on quickly.

Second, look at organization. As you start to read through your student’s assignment, you’re going to look for the way the information and the ideas are organized. You’re going to give some feedback here. And in the case of something like a formal essay, maybe the paper usually begins with a paragraph that introduces the topic.

That’s going to give some kind of thesis that tells the main point or the argument or the claim that you’re going to read about in the paper. There’s going to be a body paragraph or many body paragraphs, and each paragraph should be clearly about a topic or an idea that’s organized in a way that makes sense.

Most of the paragraphs in the essay should have a topic sentence at the beginning and the topic sentence really just tells what’s in that paragraph. At the end, there should be a closing paragraph or a conclusion that ties it all together, restates the main point, and brings the important ideas to bear.

When you look over the assignment to evaluate organization, thinking about this kind of structure, all you need to do is look at the opening paragraph and read the first sentence of each body paragraph, and then read the last paragraph to see the organization.

If you can’t find the flow of the topics or really get an idea for what the student is writing about just by reading the topic sentences, then there’s probably a problem with the overall organization of that assignment or essay.

Here you might need to make a suggestion. Maybe you want to suggest using topic sentences in the paragraphs, or you might have bigger advice to give about the overall way that the paper is laid out and organized. Either way, the organization will either be very clear or somewhat unclear, and you can give some commentary and some feedback about that without dwelling on it too long.

The third area is content. This is, of course, one of the bigger parts that you will be evaluating and this is what the student actually addressed. Did they use the right topic, for example? Did they use the academic words they’re supposed to be using? We call that academic vocabulary.

For example, if I’m teaching a music appreciation class, are they using words like tempo, dynamics, form? Are they using those words correctly? Are they actually giving enough description that I can tell what they’re describing? Is the scope of what was covered appropriate to what should have been covered?

Now, that area you want to really focus on because that is the main point of the assignment, right? To cover the content and the next couple of areas, understanding and support.

So when you start to make comments on the content you can do this by way of suggestion, you can make a statement; you can note where they actually covered the key points that you’re looking for. Either way, there should be some kind of comments you’re providing your student about the content.

The fourth area, the understanding, now this is where you’re going to find out the student’s ideas. There are many, many areas that they might go into.

For example, a student might describe something; they might discuss it. They might have analysis that they’ve created. They might make connections between two different ideas. They might show how they demonstrated their understanding and learning through what they’ve written, but what they understand about the topic that they’ve written about, it must be obvious and it needs to be clear.

If you have a student who is taking a lot of sources, they’re paraphrasing and they’re quoting a lot and there’s just not a lot of content they wrote, it’s very difficult to see what they understood. This area could be missing entirely or it might be incredibly pervasive throughout the whole assignment, but you want to look for understanding and evaluate it and give some feedback about that as well.

And then lastly, the support. Support is a tricky area. This is the details, the examples and evidence that were used to support their ideas. And it also includes sources — how they were used, how and where they were included — and potential plagiarism.

If a student uses a lot of supports without citing them and quoting them and all of that kind of thing and if it shows up high on your originality checker, whether it’s SafeAssign or Turnitin or something else, you definitely want to address that. Coach students, if necessary. Deal with the plagiarism concerns and so forth, so support is both about ideas and also about sources.

As you review each area, you want to find a way to at least evaluate and give a little comment about those things. You’re coaching the student in their academic learning, but you’re also mentoring them somewhat in the subject itself.

Now after you’ve reviewed focus, formatting, organization, content, understanding and support, the next area is the EQx2. And this is the editing and quality, and finally the evaluation and qualitative comments.

The editing would be just notes that you might make about writing errors. For example, if you think they’re not using capital letters, if they’re using texting lingo, if they talk about themselves in first person but it should be in third person. If there are just run-on sentences or fragments, things like that, I always suggest marking a few of them in the beginning paragraphs and not dwelling on them throughout the rest. It will take all of your time if you spend time editing a student’s paper; that’s not your job.

If you use something like Grammarly or if you use the features in Turnitin’s GradeMark suite, there is an editing area there and you can actually have students find the editing mistakes themselves. If there are a lot of errors you want to make some kind of comment about that, and you might even direct them to writing help or a tutor if those things are available to you.

The quality is the writing quality. So that also has to do with their tone, their language, the way they’ve presented their writing overall, and again, if necessary, a comment or two could be made there.

Now in the evaluation and qualitative comments, I consider these to be the summary comments you would give at the end of the assignment. So all the rest of these things that I’ve mentioned would be given on the body of an essay or an assignment, or depending on your learning management system you might actually have the ability to highlight, tag, or put little notes next to the paper.

There’s a lot that can be done nowadays in a learning management system, but also in Turnitin’s GradeMark suite. Or if you really want to download the student’s paper in Microsoft Word and just use track changes and put reviewer’s comments and bubbles on it, you could do that as well.

All of the things I’ve covered so far under focus would be brief comments made on the actual assignment. These last two, evaluation and qualitative comments, those could be done at the top of the essay or assignment just in a paragraph. Or they could be done in the grading feedback box when you’re returning this assignment to the student.

The evaluation is your overall statement about the essay. What did they do well, and where do they need to improve?

What did they do well is really important. As faculty and as teachers, it’s really easy for us to always be looking for mistakes. That’s also the default of the human brain; it’s a problem-solving machine so we’re often looking for what’s wrong.

When you give your evaluation, be sure to say something that was strong in the paper, even if it was only the topic choice and is a very weak paper overall. Give some encouragement through that evaluation, but also be specific and tell them what the main area is to focus on for improvement.

And then, the closing is the qualitative comments. That’s part of your summary and that would just be your pros, what you’re writing to the student. You want to say something encouraging and close it and wish them the best on the next assignment and move on.

When you use this method of FOCUS-EQx2 a few times, at first it’s going to take a lot more thought and effort to touch on each area, but soon this strategy is going to give you the effective grading and evaluation that you’re really looking for to help your students the most.

You also want to give structure in your approach to keep it organized and help your time stay in check, and this FOCUS-EQx2 strategy will do that for you. Although your online teaching asks a lot more of you in grading and evaluation detail, this is also an area where you can keep teaching and keep getting to know your students.

I encourage you this week to try the FOCUS-EQx2 strategy on your next round of grading, and I wish you all the best in your online teaching.

Meet with Your Online Students Through Zoom Video

Meet with Your Online Students Through Zoom Video

You can meet with online students through Zoom video. Some institutions provide Zoom accounts to their faculty as part of their IT infrastructure. If an account is not provided by your school, you can create a free Zoom account.

Zoom meetings are a great way to build teaching presence and social presence. Through live video, students can see you, trust you, and become secure. Positive student-teacher relationships are particularly valuable online, where it is difficult to connect. Similarly, video meetings let you get to know your students. This connection will help you stay motivated throughout your teaching.

Although live video calls might not be standard in your online course, live meetings can be offered as an option to support students. And Zoom calls can be recorded, with captions added for diverse learners.

For a helpful array of tools that will support your online Zoom meetings, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/docs/en-us/covid19.html. 

Zoom provides features to help you connect with students in a secure and effective way. Visit this link to learn about recent updates.

As an educator, you might be concerned about security, privacy, and managing the Zoom room. Each of these areas is covered in an educator guide. This guide explains how to use the “waiting room.” How to lock access. How to mute and remove participants, and more! Click this link to access the educator guide. 

#22: Two Online Teaching Best Practices That Matter

#22: Two Online Teaching Best Practices That Matter

Starting the new school year, there are two online teaching best practices that matter most. Putting these two practices front and center will help you get your class off to a great start and ensure that it keeps running smoothly.

  1. Be present.
  2. Communicate your norms or expectations clearly, and effectively.

In today’s podcast, I’ll share some strategies to help you develop presence in y our online class. Then, we’ll take a deep dive into communicating with your students.


#20: Helping Inexperienced Students Who are New to Online

#20: Helping Inexperienced Students Who are New to Online

Are you helping inexperienced students who are new to online learning?

Students come into our online classes with varying backgrounds. Yet one group needs extra structure. And they are inexperienced students, who are new to online learning.

There are many ways to meet the needs of students who are new to online learning.

Some need additional structure, tools, and help.

Others just need a guide to learn how to navigate the online classroom.

Regardless of the tools that will work best for your own students, this podcast brings many ideas to help you prepare.