Top 5 Tips for Remote Teaching
Remote instruction is still relatively new to most of us, however there are some common teaching approaches that are effective for both face-to-face and remote instruction. Adapting to teaching in an remote environment will mean focusing on some things more and other things less compared to what you focus on in face-to-face instruction. Below is a list of key things to keep in mind as you plan and adapt to remote instruction.
- Be kind to yourself, to your students, to your campus colleagues; promote and ensure wellness.
- During this difficult time, most students, faculty, and staff are experiencing more stress than usual. Bear this in mind during your interactions with others. When you reach out to your colleagues and campus partners, remember that they are also managing heavy workloads too in this uncertain environment. Set and take breaks, transparently share your updated contact policy with your students and colleagues, and set appropriate boundaries and expectations for everyone involved in your course - teaching assistants and staff, as well as students.
- Engagement, motivation, and participation are critical.
- Teaching and learning are primarily social activities. While it's possible for some people to learn entirely on their own, most students cannot. Simply posting a series of asynchronous lectures and assignements for students to work through is not likely to bring out the best your students have to offer. Regular interaction with instructors and peers will help motivate students, manage their time and ask for help when needed.
- Prioritize and be transparent.
- Decide on the priorities for what your students really need to know, and focus both your and your students’ time and energy to these tasks and goals. Return to your course and program learning outcomes and prioritize your assessments and teaching activities to support those outcomes. You may realize that some outcomes are less important than others. Communicate your priorities and goals to your students for the term, and explain why you have assigned certain content and assessments.
- Adapt your assessments and teaching and learning activities.
- Conducting meaningful student engagement and student assessments is possible in a remote environment. Keep in mind, you may not be able to mirror all elements of your face-to-face class in a remote environment. You may need to adapt what you would normally do, in line with your set priorities. In this case look for new and different opportunities the remote environment provides. For example, take advantage of virtual field trips, virtual collections, virtual tours, and online simulators. Use synchronous or asynchronous videos to support your content. Encourage peer-to-peer learning by having your students answer each other’s questions in online discussion forums – while keeping a close eye to moderate. Remember, though: not everyone will have the technology and/or the stable, unlimited Internet connection to access and engage – still plan and make the content and yourself available appropriately. Check out our alternative assessments page for more specifics on how to adapt your existing assessments. Consider registering for one of our Course Redesign Institutes for the remote environment.
- You are not alone!
- We are all in this together, both across our Guelph campuses and globally, and many instructors and campus partners are facing the same challenges as you are. Consider reaching out to us in the Office of Teaching and Learning firstname.lastname@example.org.
- You can also check out the numerous Twitter hashtags right now – #PandemicPedagogy, #CovidCampus, #CovidClassroom, and #AcademicTwitter – are consistently buzzing with more ideas, the asking and answering of questions, condolences, sympathy, motivation, discussion.
Sources and Additional Resources:
- University of Guelph’s Academic Continuity site
- STLHE (Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education) Keep Teaching site
- University of British Columbia’s Keep Teaching site
- Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (UBC) “10 Tips to Rapidly Transition to Remote Education”
- Sally Brown and Kay Sambell’s “Contingency Planning: Exploring Rapid Alternatives to Face-to-Face Assessment” Google document
- The Chronicle of Higher Education (CoHE)’s Moving Online Now: How To Keep Teaching During Coronovirus
- The Chronicle of Higher Education (CoHE)’s How to be a Better Online Teacher