A selection of free guides and information online to improve your craft as an educator.
General Resources for Teaching Online
Motivating and Retaining Adult Learners Online
A free e-book from geteducated.com
Faculty Resources from Academy of Art University: Teaching Seminars
Although developed for Art faculty, many of these include summative handouts (PDF) that provide a wealth of tips and practical advice for any educator
Teaching Resources on the Web (Ohio State University)
Links to sites on a wide variety of focus areas for instructors.
Online Education Resources (Illinois Online Network)
Comprehensive resources for teaching and course delivery.
Teaching Large Classes
Does a typical day in your life as an educator include entertaining a sea of blank faces in a large lecture hall? This selection of links is especially for you!
VIDEO: Teaching Large Lectures (Professor Graham Gibbs, Produced by Dalhousie University, Canada)
If you only have time for one link, this is it! This 14 minute video gives practical advice for rejuvenating the lecture experience for you and your students. **(Requires the free Real Player)
Blended Instruction: Adapting Conventional Instruction for Large Classes (Marsh, McFadden & Price, 2003)
Includes links to other helpful resources, including an excellent video on teaching in large lecture halls.
Beating the Numbers Game: Effective Teaching in Large Classes (Felder, 1997)
Includes practical suggestions and examples.
Teaching Large Classes (Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology, Illinois State University)
A wealth of links to sites containing specific information for instructors of large classes.
Lecturing, Presentation Skills & Large Group Teaching (University of Bristol)
Many links to articles and media for instructors and presenters.
**Get Real Player here.
Ready, Set, Plan B!
Technology can and will fail; how you deal with the failure can dramatically affect the quality of the overall learning experience for your students.
Tip #1: Prepare Yourself
Take time to learn the functioning of the software and hardware that you will be using. The more comfortable you are with the technology, the less likely that you yourself will introduce the technical difficulty. Identify the contact information and schedule of availability of those who can aid you when you encounter a genuine technical difficulty; knowing who to call in a crisis can shorten the time to successful resolution and reduce frustration for you and your students.
Tip #2: Prepare Your Students
Encourage students to practice good advance planning strategies; waiting until the night before an exam to attempt to download important presentation notes, or waiting until the day of an online chat session to login to the course site for the first time are risky behaviors. In the event of a technical difficulty, the student in such a situation has no margin for error or time to request and receive adequate technical assistance. When possible or feasible, consider incorporating mandatory practice events into your course schedule early on in the course calendar. Host mock chat sessions or short ice-breaker exams to encourage students to test Internet connectivity, system compatibility and verify the accuracy of login or account information.
Tip #3: Keep Help on Standby
Especially important during synchronous (live) events such as chat sessions or web conferences, enlist a teaching or technical aide. This second person can attend to the details of assisting individual students with troubleshooting or requesting assistance from technical support staff, leaving you free to focus on teaching the course and other students who are not experiencing difficulty to continue on with you.
Tip #4: Consider Alternatives and Publicize Them
In short, have a "Plan B" and let students know about it where feasible; expect something to go wrong and consider what options are acceptable to you. Examples:
- Schedule assignment due dates as date ranges to mitigate the effect of a temporary server or network outage - "The essay question will be posted on Monday at noon, Eastern Standard Time, and responses will be accepted until midnight, Friday."
- Provide an alternative means for students to communicate with you - "In the event of a server or network outage that prevents you from using the assignment dropbox, please send your essays to me via email."
- Employ a "drop score" strategy that might allow a student to void one assignment or exam to account for any technical difficulty on the student's end.
- Record or archive all course video, chat, and live communication sessions so that students who miss out can still access the information.
- Schedule a "snow-day" for missed live communication sessions, when feasible, to accommodate technical failures that result in a cancelled session. "When we cannot hold our regular Tuesday chat session, we will convene at 10:00 A.M. CST the following Saturday." If this is not a practical option, post notes or study guides to cover missed course content for students to use as an alternative.
Tip #5: Be Reliable
On occasion, you may be the one with the technical difficulty; for example, you cannot login to your chat session and all of your students are left waiting for your arrival. Students will be much more likely to conclude that it is a technical difficulty if they know that you are usually consistant and stay on schedule. Prepare in advance for such an event by developing some discussion questions or an activity for them; ask students to draft their conclusions or summarize the discussion and send these to you by email, or by posting to a discussion board. Assign students to play the role of "discussion leader" in the event that you cannot participate in a chat session. Rotate this assignment for each session to encourage students to actively participate and arrive to sessions on time. In small classes, it may also be feasible to establish a calling or email tree - a chain of "who contacts whom" for information dissemination or alternative planning.
Free Course Content Online
Links to multi-media and other academic resources for your course. Select this link to view the list...