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Teaching Online Best Practices

Teaching in an Online Environment Best Practices Heading link

The rules of engagement are different online courses compared to face-to-face / physical experiences. A realistic working assumption is that learner engagement in a physical classroom presentation involves listening 80%, reading 10% and writing 10%; expect engagement during an online session to be reading 50%, typewriting 40% and listening 10%. If possible, learn to be comfortable using a whiteboard for scribbling, drawing or annotating.

Do not expect the usual verbal, visual, and auditory feedback cues: laughter, applause, looks of confusion or understanding or perplexity. You will not be able to walk around the classroom.

In a physical classroom environment, there are at least a dozen simultaneous side-conversations and communication between learners occurring at any given time during the session. In an online virtual classroom, expect to see several whole-class communications occurring at any given time during the session. If you are able to use teaching assistants or coordinators in your virtual classroom, do so. Student teaching assistants understand better than most instructors how to engage their peers in an online virtual environment regardless of the technology platform that is used to deliver the session.

Most platforms for online virtual classrooms include video, window-sharing and chat functions and this holds true for the product we mainly use: Zoom. Instructors instinctively default to the video & window-sharing/presentation function to communicate with learners in a virtual classroom. Students instinctively default to the chat function to communicate with instructors and other learners. It appears that this is not going to change anytime soon.

Modified from a post to DR-ED in September 2020 by Rajuno Ettarh, MD PhD FRSM FAS at Cal University of Science and Medicine

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