Effective Teaching Online

As educators move towards online teaching, it helps to give your students instant feedback.

No, I'm not referring to those "Good job!" types of instant feedback. I'm referring to the "how much time is this going to cost me" kind of feedback.

In a typical classroom setting, you know that the subject or course will last for about an hour and a half. That's instant feedback.

When you read an assigned chapter, you'll sometimes look at the last page of that chapter so that you'll know how many pages you need to read. That kind of "instant feedback" keeps you from going crazy, because as you slog through that chapter, you'll tell yourself that you only have X more pages to go.

Here's how to give instant feedback in online teaching:

1. PDF files: Display the "Page 1 of N pages" in the footer or header.

2. Audio/Video files: Display the timeline so people will know how long the recording will take.

3. Web pages: Display a clear navigation outline, complete with colored links that show which have been read and which haven't.

Have you seen those multimedia courses where you hear a voice through your speakers, and then images change on the screen... but you don't know when it will end? You're just stuck there in front of your computer, and you have no idea how long this will last. Sometimes, there's no slider button that allows you to zip forward and skip some not-that-exciting portion.

What if you don't want to display such "where-are-you" kinds of feedback? Then produce shorter audio or video clips. Aim for a clip that's shorter than 2 minutes.

Good luck to all online educators. May you build wonderful virtual learning environments in the coming weeks.

[ First posted on 10/27/2007 by Manuel Viloria ]



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