The digital world is making it easier to teach students without being physically present. Here are tips on teaching classes online for new professors.
Teaching classes online is becoming an increasingly popular idea, with over 3 million students taking exclusively online courses. That trend is only going to increase throughout the next several years, too.
So how can you make your classes as effective as they’d be in a classroom?
Here are five great tips to help you make the most of your digital lectures.
1. Prioritize Video and Audio Quality
As Viva Media points out in this link, it’s important to bring some production value to your online learning.
That doesn’t mean that you have to go out and buy a brand new webcam or invest in an expensive microphone. Instead, follow a few simple video production rules to record your lectures at the highest possible quality.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Always check your audio levels before recording
- Be aware of any background noise that distracts from your lesson
- Proper lighting goes a long way
- The more compressed your video, the worse it’ll look
You don’t have to spend hours preparing perfect lighting or mixing your audio, but going the extra mile and taking a few minutes to make sure everything looks and sounds good will do wonders for your video lecture.
2. Record Your Lectures Whenever Possible
Video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Skype are fantastic resources, but they’re far from infallible. To cut down on technical issues like disconnects, record your lectures in advance.
Not only will this eliminate any tech problems, but you can also do multiple takes of the lecture. You can even edit bits of each take together if there are multiple takes you liked.
3. Keep It Interactive
The issue with most lectures is that the professor spends most of their time talking to students, not talking with them.
Understandably, you’ll do the majority of the talking, but feedback from students is a must. For that reason, you should aim to keep your recorded lectures as interactive as possible.
Encourage students to post below the video or start a classwide forum to facilitate discussion. This is also a smart way of clearing up any misconstrued aspects of your lecture and double-checking the progress of your students.
4. Use Visual Aides
Imagine spending 55 minutes looking at a single shot of someone talking. Not very interesting, is it?
Your students would agree!
Even if it’s just PowerPoint incorporation, add some variety to your lectures through visuals. Your students are more likely to pay attention if the video is visually interesting.
5. Shorter is Better
On that same note, don’t try and stretch the content out any longer than it needs to be.
Sure, you have a schedule for classes in a traditional learning environment, but online you don’t have to adhere to those rules. If you can get the point of the lecture across in a short time, great!
Teaching Classes Online: Important Takeaways
Before we call it a day, let’s review what we’ve learned about teaching classes online.
The more visually interesting your lecture and the better your production quality, the more your students will get out of it. And don’t worry about your time limit.
As long as your content is strong and you’re involving your students, you’re doing a great job!
For more resources for teachers, make sure to check back with our blog.