CIT has partnered with the College of Continuing Studies to provide a list of best practices and items to consider when transitioning to online learning.
Don’t rely exclusively on live lectures.
It might be tempting to do this, but especially given the circumstances, it may be difficult for all students to attend at any given time. Keep in mind that students may be scattered across various time zones. If you do conduct live Zoom lectures, be sure to record them for students who cannot attend. Also – consider conducting a test run if you wish to host a live class.
Host virtual office hours.
Stay connected with your students by hosting virtual office hours. Let your students know when you are available for a video or audio chat. This can serve as a good time to test out new technologies.
Keep it short and simple.
We recommend not going over 20 minutes for any recorded lecture. It’s difficult for students to focus on a video for longer than that. If you need to cover more content, consider breaking it up into shorter, more manageable pieces.
Keep dates only on the Course Schedule.
Create a Course Schedule which lists all the tasks a student must complete along with their due dates. Then, only list due dates there. In other places, refer students to this document. This way, if you ever have to change a due date, you only need to change it in one place.
Create a communication plan and share it.
How should students reach you? How should they reach each other? What should they do if they need technical support? Come up with a plan and share it with students early on so they know your expectations.
Build content in the order you want students to complete it.
Try to resist the urge to put all assignments in one place, all videos in another, and all readings in another. Divide content by Unit/Module and keep the content in order so students don’t have to visit multiple pages and places to follow the plan.
Write clear instructions.
Be sure students know each step they need to take to complete an assignment, where they should go for help, and how they should submit the assignment. When possible, use numbered lists for steps in your instructions, rather than a paragraph of text. This helps students understand how to proceed and prevents them from getting lost in the directions.
Be aware of student resources.
Keep in mind what students have access to at home, and if you’re not sure, ask! It’s a good idea to offer multiple options for an assignment if you’re not sure all students will have a particular resource. For instance, you could give students the option of writing a paragraph or filming a 30-second response video.
Utilize UA Library resources.
The library has a great amount of videos and articles that aren’t necessarily widely available. If you’re looking for a video on a particular topic, don’t forget to check lib.ua.edu.