Tips for online tutors

“…the way that people behave in a face-to-face context, and the way they behave in an online context are two totally different things, and content should be tailormade to suit those differences.”(Associate Professor Rick Bennett)

Technology can be a valuable asset that helps children learn and absorb more of the lesson. However, there are several issues to consider when planning your online class.

  • the importance of pedagogy over technology. Technology should not be the main focus on teaching or learning process, but rather a component which improves and enriches the teaching and learning experience, and which is carefully integrated into the curriculum planning.
  • the need to align assessment with learning outcomes. Do not get carried away with the numerous opportunities that technology offers. Stay focused on the learning outcomes as technology has the potential to be a distraction.
  • make sure that students are familiar using the technologies well before teaching the class. This way any difficulties can be resolved. Students expect you to be an expert in using technology, to be able to help and guide them.
  • start slowly. Do not hurry up! Introduce one online component to your class; evaluate the results and then gradually add more online components.
  • explain to students why you are adding an online component. Outline what you hope to achieve as well as the potential benefits might be for them.
  • consider the variety of learning activities and teaching approaches to keep students engaged. This may include readings, lectures, activities, discussion topics, etc. This can then serve as a prompt for establishing which activities could be best served by an online component, and integrated into the curriculum
  • integrate digital literacy. Incorporate some scaffolding that supports or develops digital literacy into your class. Include tasks that provide a foundation in developing necessary skills. This can be done over the duration of the semester, or over a series of classes within a program.
  • evaluate which components of the class are better suited to the online environment. Selecting which learning activities should take place online depends on the discipline and the size and type of class.
Careful planning is one of the most important components of teaching online. A well planned and carefully balanced online curriculum is much easier to manage, and greatly reduces the potential for frustration and confusion during a student’s online learning process. 

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