Monday, 29 June 2015

Tips for Enhancing Online Pedagogical Prowess

For every educator, the decision to use online teaching comes with a lot of apprehensions about the efficacy of online education and how to work through this new technology. Fear of failing, not been able to connect with the audience, video quality, uneasiness with the online tools, etc. creates inhibitions towards e-learning. All these fears are quite natural and every educator grapples with them irrespective of teaching experience. However, with a well thought-out strategy to achieve end goals and lots of patience, online teaching could become extremely effective & satisfying for the educators.
Some relevant online teaching tips that could help educators to acclimatize better with this new way of disseminating information are briefly discussed below.

Plan for Initial Hiccups

It takes time to grasp new tools & functions and aligning content systematically may take substantial amount of time. During these first few days things might look hopelessly chaotic and you & your students would pretty much spend most of your time getting acquainted with the online resources. We through our online & technical support for educators & institutes, try to make this platform transition as smooth as possible. With the help of virtual classroom management system, Association for Information Systems (AIS) kit, and course management service, LearnwithGuru ensures that educators don't get entangled with the technology but concentrate on the thing that they do best i.e. teaching.

Grab & Hold Attention

It's difficult to replicate the same classroom environment while disseminating content online. It inevitably boils down to the content represented as it's the only reason why students have come to you in the first place itself; but to create curiosity and interest, educators need to do something more than just plain off-load of content. Occasional webinars and creating threads on discussion boards related to difficult topics are quite useful in engaging students on a wider platform. A good mix of multimedia content, notes, fun facts, quizzes with leaderboards, etc. help in keeping the interest level of students high.

Feedback Network

One important thing missing from e-learning is instant feedback which is an important part of any type of learning. Hence, making sure that you connect with your audience in a perpetual manner eliminates the feeling of isolated teaching. It is imperative to engage with students on a regular basis so as to answer their doubts and for fostering discussion among them related to the content distributed. This helps in creating a viable environment for interactive learning that in many ways mirrors the live classroom settings.

Schedule-based Content

It's often seen that students skip many topics or get way behind on the learning material while going for online learning. To keep them abreast with the progress of the course, provide how many study hours must be spent in completing a particular topic and gauge progress of student through online mock tests on these topics. Designing a schedule-based program allows students to learn time management and allocate appropriate amount of time to every topic.

Connecting with the Audience

To be able to connect with the students on a personal level, many educators tend to share their student-life and teaching experiences so as to relate with the current situation of their students. Off-topic discussions through forums & boards related to common problems faced by students and sharing own experiences help to enliven the teacher-student engagement. Though not necessary, such interactions create a positive effect which makes online engagement more real & enriching.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Online Teaching: Redefining Educational Paradigm

Educators around the globe are incessantly searching for new resources that could help their students to attain exhaustive knowledge of various topics. Supplementing classroom knowledge with other forms to disseminate information has become rather imperative. Online teaching, that leverages the ubiquitous reach of Internet to disseminate teaching material to a wider group with 24/7 availability, is not only redefining the style of communication between the educators & students but is also continuously redefining itself to add value to the whole teacher-student engagement. It is important to mention here that this e-learning doesn't diminishes but complements the classroom teaching.

Some relevant points that augment the e-learning experience are briefly discussed below.

Teachers' Contribution

Even traditionally, educators have had used different methods in addition to classroom teaching to help students with their studies. The difference, today, however, comes from the ability to connect with them at any hour for any length of time. White board videos, online transcripts, live discussion boards (Thought Box), etc. allow students to tap into various educational resources if & when required. Apart from this, teachers can easily create & organize online question bank and conduct mock online tests on various topics to seamlessly monitor & manage the progress report of every student.

Students' Acceptability

The high efficacy of online teaching observed among students can be contributed to the familiarity and easiness of incorporating technology into trivial day-to-day tasks & problems by the students. Hence, the transition from real to virtual classrooms among students is rather smoother than what is observed in the case of faculty of most educational institutions. Easy access to teachers' study material online helps students to save their time and more importantly in ensuring that the online content accessed is correct & relevant. Mock online tests allow students to gauge their performance leading to final tests and work on their weak areas with the help of online educational resources.

Role of Discussion Boards

It is quite common these days to join some forum or write a blog about an interest. Students these days engage with the online world through these platforms to ask or comment on common interests. Discussion boards are just an extension of such platforms where students ask or clear the doubts of other students. A teacher might start a thread on a specific application of a concept taught in the class and let students share their opinions on it. Conversely, students might ask their teachers on any topic that they are finding difficult to comprehend. Hence, out-of-class interaction could be progressively maintained between the students & teachers.