We made it through our first semester of pandemic teaching.
Today, the CDC released their guidelines for reopening schools. Based on the guidelines they provided, I suspect that a lot of us will still be teaching online in the fall.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably give yourself a week or two of free time, then start thinking about how you want to approach teaching in the fall.
I was lucky this spring. I was already teaching two classes mostly online by the time we were told that our students wouldn’t be coming back to school after spring break. And because I have been teaching hybrid and online classes for roughly 15 years, the transition was pretty straightforward for me. Not so much for many of my K-12 friends and former students. By necessity, “one day at a time” was the unofficial motto of Spring 2020.
Now that we have more planning time, I wanted to share some general pro-tips for you to consider as you think about structuring your class(es) to go online this fall:
- Organize your materials by unit or topic, and make that structure clear to your students through an outline of units/topics for the semester.
- Create one content page per subtopic or week, and make them easy to find. Bonus points for linking them from the original outline structure.
- On the content page, use headings to chunk out your material. Incorporate links and shortcuts to assignments and submissions. Embed videos and images. Look for ways to include white space.
- For each content page, include a mix of elements:
- Intro or overview of topic: text and video, if possible
- Headings for each section of material
- A blend of text, video, images, and bulleted/numbered lists presenting content: short and digestible
- Action items for students to complete: write, read, respond, watch, think about, work on, etc.
- Preview of upcoming materials and/or lingering questions for students to consider
- Have a consistent due date (every Friday night, for example) for assignments. Consider using one due date per week.
These tips are easiest to incorporate if your school is using a Learning Management System (LMS) like Canvas, but they could be adapted for MS Teams, Google Classroom, and other sites as well.
What other pro-tips do you have for organizing online classes?