This is our third Guest Post related to the impact of school and university closings that are catapulting schools into distance teaching on the fly!
Here’s Part 1 from Martin – Online Teaching in the Trenches (Thanks, Martin!)
Online Teaching In The Trenches
So, my credentials here are different. I do have some teaching experience but my main experience is with curriculum development and implmentation with a heavy dose of technical expertise and focus on assessment. I’ve chaired statewide initiatives and worked as an advisor for a number of K-12 districts. My main experience is with STEM instruction, including writing instruction at the university level. I’ve developed and led online learning initiative with varying degrees of success. There are valid individual objections to online instruction, but now we have no choice, so let’s make the best of this.
There’s a right way to do this which can produce better outcomes than traditional in-class instruction, but they take a lot of time to set up. We don’t have that, so we’re going to have to MacGuyver this shit and accept a lesser outcome. I’m assuming an environment where you have access to your campus, but where work-from-home policies or quarantine may be in place leaving you with minimal technical support. Assuming here you’re pretty much on your own.
Your first decision is whether to do live instruction or recorded. Live takes less work since you’re mostly just doing what you do in class, but technology problems are more critical at a time when your IT support is at its worst, and students may not always be able to make that time work. Some may have to share computers, some may be dealing with other realities of a pandemic. Recorded affords you time to sort through some of these issues and is more flexible on both ends, but takes more work to do. The upshot is that you will always haveyour recorded content so if we are still doing this in the fall, your fall offering is now mostly set up. My instructors typically do both – recorded lectures, with live discussion sessions and office hours. Effectively a flipped classroom model. It preserves some of that direct interaction without relying on it working for everyone. When we do have live lecture instruction, I typically insist we have a tech support staffer in the room simply due to the frequency something goes wrong.