To enhance the Learning and Teaching experience, teachers, students and administrators need to collaborate – with other departments and with the students themselves.  Here are some tips and tricks for how to get the most out of your online learning technology:

  • Don’t just show up and throw up – there’s no point just lecturing students and using technology as a storage area for your notes. Get inventive and try flipping the classroom by circulating material in advance of your face-to-face sessions.  Share questions with your students for them to research the answers to, make use of video and additional source material to provide your students with something to explore in advance.  Then use the time you spend together as an open forum to discuss and drive the debate on the subject matter.  Understanding will be greatly improved if students have had the chance to explore the topic from many angles.
  • Quality questioning – Don’t only rely on your students asking questions during sessions. By building polling questions into your slides you can test understanding, kick off discussions and increase engagement. This will help create a more dynamic environment for your participants. It takes time to prepare well but it’s worth putting the time in in advance.  It’ll avoid wasting time during lectures if you’ve done a dry run yourself of the Q&A and polling parts of the lesson. And take the opportunity to use a survey to capture feedback from students, it’ll help you improve how you deliver the subject matter in future.
  • Can they hear you? – Make sure your audio environment is as good as it needs to be and your recordings are free of any background noise. Using a good quality headset helps and closing down background apps such as Skype or antivirus software cuts the chance of you recording update beeps and announcements into your presentation.
  • Be there and be vocal – Join the session early, load the welcome slide, mute your phone, close background apps and greet each person that joins the session. While the session is underway try and avoid any periods of unannounced silence. It can give the impression that the system has cut out. Make an effort to use suitable tools for each job; don’t use chat for polling, don’t overuse video and don’t just have a talking head in your video.  Variety will keep the students engaged.

To find out more about how to get the best out of online educational technology read a presentation from Blackboard’s Senior Consultant, Lloyd Stock here.

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