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I salute all the academics scrambling to prepare their teaching for online delivery because #coronavirus. At the Open University (which specialises in this), it takes roughly two years, a dedicated team and a ton of funds to get online/blended learning courses ready for students.
Ok... So I didn't see the comments below (my notifications are set up for all replies). But here are a few tips I learned from recently putting together online materials for @sociologyopen:
1) Diversity in online learning is a hidden issue. Accessibility quickly becomes a big problem when you're delivering online. Access to hardware, software and tech isn't equal. Design for the student on the 2nd hand laptop, not the top of the line MacBook.
2) Plan your sessions with more space and time. This is mostly to accommodate for connection issues and the people who invariably forget to unmute their microphone.
3) Speaking of microphones. Always, always, always test your equipment before recording or joining the meeting. This is advice for life.
4) Where tech allows, break students up discussion groups. Adobe Connect lets you do this, but a lot of folks are talking about using zoom. Rely on your friendly learning support staff to let you know about what's possible (then buy them coffee afterwards, they're stressed too!)
5) Don't be afraid to break your session into even smaller chunks. If there is a online video that reflects your teaching point perfectly, get your students to watch it, then discuss it.
6) Do prepare your lecture ahead of time /with/ speaker notes. Why? If your lecture is recorded, this can act as a partial (imperfect, I know) transcript for those who cannot attend in person. Also, by using speaker notes you avoid the feeling of it being an informal Skype call.
7) More than ever, don't send your students on a wild goose chase to find readings. Assume that they will not have access to the same institutional repositories. This is another call for everyone to make preprints of their work available.
8) Make space for questions and key an eye on the chat box for questions. Not everyone will want to participate vocally.
9) If you're teaching asynchronously (OU style), mix up your teaching materials and incorporate reflective activities amongst the readings, videos, audio that you assign. This requires more written narration of the concepts. But it's my favourite academic writing style.
10) Acknowledge that this is a different mode of teaching and allow for 'office hours', follow up and feedback.
I hope this helps. And let me know your tips. If you've made it this far, please support your local food bank. If you're in the UK, you can do this through the @bankuetuk - you don't even need to go to the supermarket.
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