Teaching Tuesdays @CharlesSturtUni

Teaching Tips & Links for SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING

Issue 108 -The Shock of the New-Learning in COVID#3

25 August, 2020

This week we continue to explore the insights and learning gained over the past six months. Zoom has proved to be a tool rich in opportunity for two-way interaction. Listening to our students' voices proves the importance of connection, prompting us to examine our pedagogies and how successful we have been in meeting the needs of those most impacted by the move online.

Would you like to share your successes and perhaps not so successful experiences? Get in touch to contribute to this series.

1.Our Students Talk: Moving Online in COVID

2. Zoom Your Best

Communication & Support from DLT

Transitioning On-Campus to Online Deliver

Attend Professional Learning Workshops

Log a job Service Request System.

Stay up to date with the Subject Delivery Guide throughout 202090

Contact Teaching Tuesdays samccarthy@csu.edu.au


1.Our Students Talk: Moving Online in COVID

Title: On-Campus Students Moving Online: Barriers and Enablers

By: Kath Attree

Source: iTeach-Charles Sturt University

Reading time: >3 mins (original 7 mins)

Managing the pivot from on-campus to online delivery continues to preoccupy educators and institutions across the globe. Course Director Kath Attree, was keen to hear what worked well and what proved challenging for on-campus students in making the adjustment to studying online during COVID. She spoke to three students; James, Leah and Holly (not real names).

Moving Online

Leah described moving online as a bit of a shock to the system. She thinks it probably has been a shock for the lecturers as well. The online experience is definitely a lot less personal for her: you don’t develop as strong a relationship with the lecturer as you do in the face to face environment. Leah is normally pretty strict about going to class since this keeps her on top of her work. Now that classes are online she doesn’t really feel the impact of missing class in the same way. She missed a number of classes, fell behind and has struggled to catch up. That’s the thing about uni, she says once you are behind, you are behind.

James chose to study on-campus because that is how he learns best. He had not taken any subjects in online mode previously. He acknowledges that he is not the best at keeping a schedule but to keep up to date he has been trying to be rigid in his attendance in online classes as these represent his best chance of engaging with study and keeping up. If you fall behind it is all over he says.

Holly hadn’t studied online previously and internet connection is a worry. “We don’t have NBN where I am” she says and sometimes our connection is glitchy. The idea of an outage in the middle of my end of session (now online) exam makes me very anxious.

Synchronous Meetings

Leah expressed a strong preference for the Zoom environment. She believes it is better to have the camera on because if the lecturer can see me, I am less likely to get distracted and am more engaged in the learning.

James believes the Zoom experience feels the closest to being in a lecture or tutorial since the lecturer requested students to keep their cameras on. Students could ask questions and the lecturer was able to check in with all students to ensure that they were grasping concepts. he felt this made him more accountable, alert and engaged with the learning process and as a result his performance in this subject has been better..

Holly also prefers the Zoom to Adobe. She feels that the camera enables students and lectures to read non-verbal signals. You can tell by people’s faces whether they are getting it or not.

Teacher Presence

Leah found lecturing staff amazing, understanding, empathetic and interpersonal with a couple connecting in with her by phone when she indicated that she was struggling. Being told to take her time to do an assessment and get it in when she was ready was a massive relief to her.

James when asked what had worked, advises lecturers to consider mainly the interactive element, run the class like you are in the room and make it interactive. Talk to the students not at them.

Holly has found the regular announcements from lecturers to be vital in keeping her on track with due dates and in understanding what is happening and where she should be up to with her subjects.

Interaction Between Students

Leah has been in touch with a couple of other students. She says the opportunity to share experiences helps. Sometimes you feel a bit like a silly person because you can’t do online. It’s nice to hear from other students that online is not for them either and you are not alone.

James highly values the opportunity to interact with his peers as this helps him get more of a gauge of subject. Not physically going to class anymore he misses, the little pockets of information, the general chat that happens before or after class and the tips you pick up [in-class] from other people’s questions . James has been connecting in with one other classmate via social media to chat about study concepts, seek clarity, share mutual understanding and bounce around ideas. There are some questions he says where you don’t really want to ask the lecturer.

Holly says she would normally meet with other students after class and share ideas and experiences. Now she is spending a lot of time talking to them on the phone. It’s been very hard she says to maintain motivation and keep going. Normally in class students would talk about the upcoming assessments and where they are up to. If you hadn’t started working on it that would motivate you to get going. To get by Holly has become very focused on dates.

Key Learning

  • Zoom cameras and microphones enabled for student interaction.
  • Regular communication to keep students on track.
  • Flexibility and empathy around students’ individual challenges and circumstances.
  • Create a designated online student space for study and connection with peers.
Viewing the experience of these students is helpful when planning the learning experience for students who continue to adapt to the online environment.

Check in with your students using the Survey tool in I2. INTERACT2 HELP AND SUPPORT

2. Zoom Your Best

Title: Best Practice: Online Pedagogy

By: Harvard University

Source: Teach Remotely Harvard University

Responding to the pivot online, Harvard University offers guidance on effective online teaching practices. Focusing on the synchronous use of Zoom here we share some strategies to encourage student engagement.

Engaging and Energizing

Reading the room: unmuted students can inadvertently start talking at the same time, you will not be able to read body language easily, and those less inclined to speak may disappear more easily. To address these issues, be more diligent about pausing and asking if anyone else has more thoughts before jumping to the next topic.

Amplify your course with guest speakers: online, experts are one click away. Inviting guests to join your course session can promote engagement, diversity, inclusion, and enthusiasm.

Encourage community: the sense of presence will be enhanced when everyone shows their face via their webcam. Consider asking students to turn on video as a key part of participation, since it is easier to engage with the class if you can see them, and students are more likely to pay attention if they know they’re on camera. The gallery view can be helpful here. However some students may feel uncomfortable sharing their living/studying circumstances. Remind your students that virtual backgrounds can help protect cybersecurity, improve equity, and reduce visual distractions.

Stretch times: consider encouraging students to “stretch” every 20-30 minutes for 30 seconds. It can be harder to focus attention on a screen than in a classroom, and you and they will benefit from a brief moment of physical activity.

Questions and Discussions

Invite and respond to questions: if your class normally is a large-class lecture format with Q&A, consider inviting students to ask their questions in the Chat feature for you to answer at the appropriate moments or, say, every 10-15 minutes. You can also consider asking students to use the Raise Hand feature in case they have an urgent question. (Zoom makes this easier than a standard lecture hall.)

Use polling to get many responses quickly: Zoom’s Polling features let you ask students questions and use ScreenShare to show the distribution of responses. When used well, this can be a powerful complement to the lecture or discussion.

Buzz groups: consider giving students more time than you normally would to formulate ideas jointly in one-on-one conversations (perhaps over Chat or in Zoom’s Breakout Rooms and then have them share those ideas into the broader discussion.

Encourage students to reflect: for example, say “I’d like you to think about ….”, take a short pause, and then if appropriate, provide an answer, or solicit answers from the students. Again, the Chat feature can be helpful in having students record their reflections.

Chat: Zoom’s Chat feature can be either very useful for the instructor, or a distraction if it’s used continuously, so thinking about how and when to engage students helpful.

Ask questions: have students use the Raise Hand feature in Zoom to answer questions. Call on a student by name and “Allow to talk” (unmute).

Collaborative problem solving and brainstorming: digitally annotate using the Whiteboard feature. Allow students to annotate on the same board to share ideas and problem-solving methods.

Among the multitude of strategies and tips, the message is clear "Focus on your pedagogy, not the medium: the principles of pedagogy that are effective for online teaching – video, simulation, text, etc. – are similar to those that are effective in the residential classroom. They allow students to engage with material dynamically and across multiple learning styles. These principles apply not only to synchronous teaching but also, importantly, to asynchronous content creation."

More Zoom topics available on Charles Sturt Professional Learning on YouTube.

An act of online kindness.............

Research tells us that about half of what students learn is directly attributable to the approach of the teacher. We should never underestimate the importance of building and maintaining good relationships and the role of kindness in contributing to this.

Greg Auhl, Course Director

Grad Cert Learning & Teaching in Higher Education

Implementing the Charles Sturt value IMPACTFUL in your teaching.

As a community of impactful professionals we are each thinking about how to best direct our efforts to secure results for our students and our communities. We have an accurate awareness of our own selves and of the situation around us and we value the individual roles of those around us in supporting our students and communities. We take learnings from each of our experiences and have the gumption and tenacity to find a way past difficulties and obstructions.

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1....Teaching support resources at Charles Sturt
2....Links to previous bulletins

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1. Teaching support resources at Charles Sturt

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Teaching Tuesdays@CharlesSturtUni bulletins are edited by Sally McCarthy
Lecturer, Academic Development in the Division of Learning & Teaching at Charles Sturt University