Distance Learning - Quick Modality Change
In the event of a campus closure or other emergency, you can continue teaching. There will be things that cannot be duplicated via distance means (i.e. labs); however, being prepared by thinking about how the content can continue to be taught is critical to a successful modality change.
Regardless of experience level, there are multiple options that will allow a course to be continued via online tools. The one thing that remains the same, regardless of experience, is that a smooth move to online teaching, regardless for how long, is planning. A good online course is planned and designed; it is not just a matter of turning on the web cam and recording your lecture.
Identify plans ahead of time:
Address emergencies and expectations up front in the course syllabus. Include detailed information such as procedures and tools to be utilized in the event that campus is closed. Learners should know exactly what to do so they can prepare accordingly. This should be updated each semester so class can move smoothly into the new format.
Communicate with your students right away:
Communicate with learners as soon as possible. Inform them of changes and provide direction as to your expectations for checking email or Moodle, so you can remain in touch.
Consider realistic goals for continuing instruction:
Working online often takes more time for both student and instructor, so if one tries to meet the same literal contact/homework hours, it quickly becomes overwhelming.
As you move forward, be prepared for a number of things that can add up to more time spent:
- multiple and repeated questions,
- regular online communication; this could be daily, every other day, or even every third day, but use email, announcements, and chat features where possible.
- having to remind students what is expected of them, what homework they have, and when they have assessments. They will forget, so remind them.
- avoid busy work and keep your learning outcomes at the center of your course.
Rearrange course activities:
You can meet the same learning outcomes whether you are face-to-face, hybrid, or fully online; however, seat time can not be measured as easily. Think about your lecture content, assignments, activities, assessments, and of course the schedule. Do not be afraid to adjust where and how necessary.
- Make synchronous activities asynchronous to ease scheduling challenges
- do not penalize students who cannot participate due to lack of or poor Internet access or factors relating to accessibility.
- You might want to maintain normal course scheduling, since they are already used to that; however, remember that there maybe other demands on them that were not there when they were attending class on campus.
- Make sure students are familiar with any tools you are using. Provide tutorials, clear directions, and options when possible.
- Be prepared to reconsider some previous expectations, including participation, communication and deadlines. Be ready to handle requests for extensions or accommodations equitably.
Communication and course materials can be disseminated by using:
- Email for direct communication.
- Zoom for live communication with your students and hosting your classes online.
- Moodle for course announcements, assignments, course materials, lecture notes or PowerPoints, quizzes, assessments/exams, and forum discussions. Moodle is an accessible platform.