NURS 6001 Online Learning Strategies Discussion

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NURS 6001 Online Learning Strategies Discussion

NURS 6001 Online Learning Strategies Discussion

 

 

Completing courses in the absence of a physical classroom
and frequent face-to-face contact can be challenging, even for those who are
comfortable with technology and the online environment. You need to be able to
plan and manage your time well, particularly since there is no structured
“class time”; communicate clearly and effectively where there is no visual or
nonverbal feedback; and use technology effectively. This Discussion provides
you with an opportunity to think about your skills in the above areas, to
explore strategies for successful online learning, and exchange strategies with
your colleagues.

To prepare:

Review this Week’s assigned readings from the Walden e-Guide
and the document, “Technical Tips for Learning at Walden,” in the Learning
Resources.

Review this week’s media program, “Tips for Effective
Online Composition and Communication.”

Think about some strategies you have used, or read about,
that may be beneficial for effective planning, time management, communication,
and technology use.

Consider how the strategies you have identified can
contribute to being a successful online learner.

Strategies for Teaching Online: The Ultimate Guide for Educators

Strategies for Teaching Online

With COVID-19 nearly overnight transforming our traditional classrooms into virtual ones, it can seem like distance learning has appeared out of nowhere. But, the truth is, education’s shift towards distance learning had been steadily growing long before this pandemic. And it’s here to stay.

Why Distance Learning is Here to Stay

Nothing is perfect, and distance learning isn’t a solution to all a school’s problems. However, it does meet a variety of both students’ and school districts’ needs that traditional, brick-and-mortar classrooms can’t.

Fully virtual schools have been sprouting up across states for years, and only growing in popularity. While some families have realized that full-time distance learning doesn’t suit their personal lifestyles, for others it’s essential. Competitive student-athletes with rigorous training schedules, students with mental or physical ailments, and families who just want the flexibility in their day, to name a few.

Even traditional schools are utilizing fully virtual courses for their in-person populations. For example, say a district wants to offer a film studies course to their students but doesn’t have the funding or the student numbers to justify a full-time film teacher in every building. This district will instead hire one teacher to virtually run the course through an online Learning Management System, like Canvas or Moodle. Students across the district can now take this virtual course at any period of the day, in their school’s computer lab.

We see districts investing in virtual tools, digital subscriptions, practice software, and broadband. Digital citizenship courses are on the rise as a key component in school curricula.

For educators new to distance learning, it can be difficult to know what online teaching techniques work best, or even where to begin. In this comprehensive post, we detail effective online teaching strategies, easy-to-use tips, and provide a number of accessible resources.

The 3 Keys to Teaching Online Classes Effectively

While everyone’s teaching style is a bit different, successful educators all follow the same best practices in online teaching. These 5 simple principles are the framework for all of the top online learning strategies.

1. Clear communication with your students’ families.

Families want to hear from you often and regularly. It can be easy for students and parents to start to feel disconnected. Reassure them your “virtual door” is always open, and share your email and phone number early and often in multiple places. Clear, respectful communication is the key to building relationships and classroom community.

2. Vary your types of lessons.

Your teaching should be a blend of both synchronous (happening in real-time) and asynchronous (unscheduled and self-paced). Synchronous teaching through phone calls, video lessons, or live chats allows students to ask questions and build relationships with you and each other. Asynchronous activities, like discussion boards or recorded lectures, allow your students to complete assignments at their own time and pace. Both styles have their benefits and are necessary in their own ways.

3. Select the right tools for your class.

Your school’s Learning Management System or LMS will most likely be the primary tool you use for your direct communication and posting assignments. Familiarize yourself with it early, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your more tech-savvy coworkers with questions. You’ll also need a separate tool like Google Voice or Zoom or phone calls, live lessons, and video chatting.

Beyond these basics, there are a huge variety of educational technology tools to transform your teaching and engage your students. This is the fun part! Use the tips and tricks provided later in this article for discovering, experimenting, and implementing new tools in your classroom.

What are the Most Common Strategies of Distance Education?

Encouraging student engagement while ensuring they master their course content can be challenging in any setting. We provide vital online teaching ideas on how to make your lessons more interactive and foster active learning. We discuss these five most common strategies in distance education in more detail throughout this article:

1. Adapt your lessons to work online.

Revamp your in-person lessons to the online environment with engaging discussions, screen recordings, and interactive tech tools.

2. Set clear expectations with students and families.

Share your expectations and due dates early and often to prepare students and families for a successful year.

3. Build a strong online classroom community.

Classroom community is just as essential in the virtual environment and can be fostered with video chats, purposeful free time, and class message boards.

4. Connect with parents and keep them involved.

Keep parents involved consistently with frequent and engaging communications like weekly newsletters and personal phone calls throughout the school year.

5. Find and utilize the right EdTech for your needs.

Strategies for Teaching Online: How to Adapt Your Lesson Plans to Different Types of Learners

We know you’ve already put endless hours into your lessons plans, tweaking and perfecting them. Don’t feel like all that work has gone to waste! There are a bunch of different online learning strategies to adapt your in-person lesson plans to fit the virtual environment. It just takes a little creativity and the right tools.

1. Add discussions to increase engagement and comprehension.

An unbeatable tool for asynchronous discussions is Flipgrid. Instead of typing, students record themselves answering your posted questions. They can view and respond to each other’s videos, as well. This is a great option for reluctant writers, a strong way to boost engagement, and promote active learning.

For written discussions, Google Classroom is a great tool. You simply post the assignment instructions, let students post their answer, and then they can read and respond to others. Check out How to Teach From Home with Google Classroom and Albert for more tips.

For synchronous discussions, chat rooms like YO Teach allow students to message back and forth in real-time. Fair warning- these chatrooms require active monitoring from the teacher side.

2. Utilize screen recordings to pre-record yourself and your lessons.

For the Powerpoints you’ve already created, screen recording software like Loom or Screencastify allows you to record your presentation on-screen as you speak and click through your slides. It even has the option to include a little window with your face on the screen, so your students can still see you. These videos can be downloaded or shared via weblink.

Beyond just lessons, you can also record yourself explaining assignment directions, for those students who do better when verbally told what to do.

3. Make your lessons interactive and engaging.

Nearpod is one way to make online classes more interactive. It’s a dynamic tool that allows students to follow along and participate in your lessons on their own devices. First, you import your pre-existing lessons pdfs or Powerpoints. You then can add in places for student interaction: written responses, drawings, quizzes, polls, collaborate boards, and more. You can differentiate the type and difficulty of assignments for different student needs.

Strategies for Teaching Online: How to Set Clear Expectations with Students

Strong classroom management is as essential in the online environment as it is in the traditional one. Even though you won’t be physically seeing your students every day, read on for 5 effective online teaching strategies to hold them accountable.

1. Post behavior expectations in every live discussion.

Make your rules/expectations crystal clear from the outset, especially in live discussions. You’ll probably find even the quieter students feel more bold typing in the chat- which is great when it’s positive conversations, but not-so-great when it gets off-topic or inappropriate.

In your first synchronous lesson, spend time discussing with your students what you as a class want your “Online Classroom Norms” to be. Create a list of around 8-10 norms, including specific rules like “stay on topic,” “always be kind and respectful,” “raise your hand and wait to be called on before turning on your microphone.” After you create the norms, review and share the document before every live lesson.

2. Set and enforce consequences in live discussions.

The same in any classroom, it’s just as important to enforce your expectations as it is to create and share them. If a student is negatively participating, you can easily mute or remove him or her from the lesson. Then, follow up afterward with a phone call home to discuss the situation.

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3. Find your positive reinforcement.

My students used to love cleaning the whiteboard, or getting small pieces of candy. But online, these rewards don’t translate. However, it’s still just as important to reward students to reinforce their positive behavior. Some ideas include:

  • Public shoutouts: Recognize star students in your emails to the class, during synchronous lessons, or post them on a public board. A board like padlet can even let students post shoutouts recognizing each other.
  • Private shoutouts: Send students and their families individual messages when they’ve done a great job.
  • Student choice: Allowing students to make even seemingly small choices can be motivating. Let a student choose which song to play before the lesson starts or choose a fun image for your virtual Zoom background.

4. Set clear due dates.

Many students struggle with time management. Without a rigid school day schedule, it’s easy for students to lose track of time and fall behind on their work. Set due dates for everything, and send frequent reminders. By the way, check out our free teaching strategy discovery tool.

Where possible, chunk large assignments into smaller ones to help students keep on pace. For example, if assigning an essay, set a due date for the outline, the rough draft, and the final essay. This helps force the “wait til the last minute” folks to move forward at a steady pace.

5. Use acknowledgement forms.

In this online environment, you’ll find yourself inevitably wondering, “Does anyone even read my emails?” To guarantee your students read and understand any especially important communications, add a link to a quick Google Form where a student and/or parent will type their name to acknowledge they read and understood it.

Strategies for Teaching Online: How to Build Rapport and Community with Students

Without the natural opportunities to make connections in a traditional classroom, it’s important to create these spaces in the online setting. We share easy best practices in online teaching to build your classroom community:

1. Use interactive Flipgrid discussions.

With Flipgrid, you and your students can respond to topics you’ve posted with a selfie video. Students can view everyone’s responses and then post a video reply. Though these aren’t synchronous discussions, seeing and hearing you and their classmates helps to form a community bond.

2. Incorporate purposeful free time.

Allowing 10 minutes before a live lesson for students to enter early to chat with you and each other, is a great way to foster important, informal connections. If possible, host a half hour recess once a week, where students can log into a live meeting room just to hang out. If conversation lags or needs direction, you can facilitate topics with fun icebreakers and “would you rather” questions.

3. Have a regular show and tell.

The virtual classroom makes show and tell easier than ever! You set the topic (their pet, their favorite outfit, something from a fun vacation), and students can turn on their video cameras and microphones to share in a lesson. Alternatively, you can include your show and tell in the bottom of a weekly email update. Students can share videos or just pictures and a caption- whatever works best for you!

4. Utilize a class message board.

Padlet is a great tool for creating a collaborative class message board. Students can wish each other happy birthdays, share exciting events in their lives, or post shoutouts and encouragements to each other. You can adjust Padlet’s settings so that all messages have to be approved by you before posting.

5. Remember the value of a personal phone call.

Just reaching out and speaking with your student one-on-one builds an essential bond. It can be overwhelming if you have a large class, so set a goal to speak with a certain number of students each week to ensure you’re reaching everyone. If you don’t have a work phone, create a free Google Voice account so families don’t have access to your personal number.

Strategies for Teaching Online: How to Connect with Parents

We know that parent involvement strongly impacts student performance in school. Research shows the importance of teachers and parents developing relationships based on trust, respect, and solid communication.

In the online environment, parent involvement looks very different. As the person physically with the student, parents are now responsible for making sure their child is staying on-task and logging into the computer each day to complete assignments. It can take some parents a while to adjust to their new role. As the teachers, we must find ways to connect and support our parents, provide online learning strategies for students, and keep them involved throughout the school year.

1. Send frequent reminders with Remind 101.

This is a great two-way communication tool, that allows you to send both mass and personalized text messages. Parents who aren’t fans of checking their email or logging into their LMS account every day benefit from receiving timely reminders like these directly to their phones:

  • Class events, times, and locations
  • Due dates for upcoming assignments or test days
  • Links to resources, videos, and articles

2. Share out weekly newsletters.

Newsletter emails help keep families informed and involved with the happenings in your class and the school. We recommend including pictures and highlighting student achievements to keep parents engaged all school year. Lucidpress offers a number of different, free templates to choose from.

3. Be clear and consistent with your expectations.

Parents want to know what they can do to support their child’s learning, but don’t always know where to start. Having clear conversations about your goals and expectations for the school year helps. In the transition to online learning, we can discuss parent expectations like:

  • Checking their child’s due dates and what they’ve submitted each day
  • Checking the posted grades for each class
  • Reading and responding to teacher emails and calls
  • Reaching out with any questions or challenges

    Strategies for Teaching Online: How to Find the Right EdTech Tools and Curricula Supports

    With so many different tools out there, it can be overwhelming to find the one that’s best for you and your students. Our distance learning hub is a great place to start. You can also use these simple strategies to make your selection process easy and effective.

    1. Utilize these 100+ Distance Learning Tools.

    We provide a comprehensive guide of 100+ distance learning tools and strategies for effective student engagement. If you’re unsure where to begin, or just want to explore new technology, start with this list. It’s organized by both instructional need and content area.

    2. Collaborate with colleagues.

    Even though you’re not seeing your coworkers in the hallway every day, they’re still one of the most valuable resources you can find. It can be easy to feel isolated working home alone, but remember to reach out and ask what your fellow teachers are doing in their virtual classrooms. They’re all researching and testing out new strategies and tools just like you are, and sharing your mutual findings benefits everyone.

    3. Supplement your Curricula Needs.

    When you need to supplement your curriculum with ready-made online activities, Albert has engaging, standards-aligned resources across grade levels and subjects. While many resources are free, educators are encouraged to try Albert for free. Tips for teaching English online using Albert include varying our leveled readings in STEM and across topics to generate interest among different students.

    4. EdTech Digital Promise Framework.

    This process helps educational leaders select and run successful educational technology pilots in their schools. The steps include how to identify a need, discover and select a product, train staff, and much more.

    5. Always do a test run before using a new tool in class.

    After you’ve selected the new tool to try, create a mock class to assign work to. Log in and test out your activity as a student, so you can truly see if this will work for your class. Also, you’ll be able to help troubleshoot common problems that you might not have noticed from just your teacher log-in.

    Common Mistakes Teachers Make When First Teaching Online

    There’s a few common mistakes even the best veteran teachers make when first switching to the online environment. Keep in mind these strategies for teaching online when you get started:

    1. Not setting boundaries with students and parents.

    Working from home, it can be tough to disconnect from your work. It’s even tougher when you have students and families reaching out to you at all hours of the evening. It can be tempting to answer the phone or send a quick reply, but resist.

    Share the hours you’re available with your families, and stick to them. Mimic your normal school day, like 7:30am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday. It’s important you give yourself the time to disconnect, and anything your student needs can wait until the next morning. Teacher burnout is real.

    2. Not testing new tools a few times before rolling them out to your students.

    We all know- technology is great… when it works. Inevitably, something won’t always go as planned. But, that’s okay! Just like in the traditional classroom, teachers adapt and move on if something goes wrong. It can be intimidating to try out a new tool for the first time, so we suggest setting up a mock class and using some willing colleagues or family members as your guinea pigs before rolling it out with students.

    3. Rolling out too much too soon.

    Be wary of assigning complex tasks and assignments without training your students on how to use the technology first. Families and students will be capable of handling this complexity at some point, if you build them up to it. You don’t want your student spending more time trying to decipher the instructions than learning the actual content.

    When assigning a learning task using a new tech tool, consider that it may take your families an extra 30min to one hour to get the hang of using it. Provide clear instructions with common troubleshooting tips. Better yet, assign a “mock assignment” of something simple, before actually assigning a lesson. For example, if it’s a discussion board, have students’ first posts be about their family pet or what they did for fun that weekend.

  • Wrapping Things Up: Things to Remember When Teaching Online

    We’ve covered a lot of online teaching ideas and strategies. To wrap things up, here are 3 key takeaways to carry into your virtual classroom:

    1. Stay communicative:

    Share your expectations for behavior early and often. Keep lines of communication open, using different tools like emails, Remind 101, phone calls, and class message boards. Weekly newsletters are a great way to build community with families.

    2. Continuously adapt your classroom:

    Use the lessons you’ve already created, and adapt them to the online environment with different ed tech tools. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel- take advantage of the great resources already out there. Albert has a huge library of standards aligned lessons and activities for all ages and subjects.

    3. Keep activities interesting with students:

    Use a variety of asynchronous and synchronous activities to keep your students engaged, and meet different learner needs. Build in purposeful community-building activities like Show and Tell and time for free chat to foster strong student relationships.

    We hope you found this Ultimate Guide for Educators helpful. Remember, one of the strong resources educators have is each other! What are you doing in your online classroom? Share your favorite tips for teaching and online learning strategies for students in the comments below.

    If you enjoyed this post, you may also like our post on 75 educational teacher websitesour viral post on distance learning tools here or our free 150+ teaching strategies discovery tool.

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