Virtual teaching requires as much preparation, if not even more than traditional teaching. Prepare yourself to restructure what you learned in the traditional classroom for virtual teaching. It means you’ll need to rethink how materials are presented, as well as the daily tasks and coursework. You will also need to create a curriculum that is easily accessible online. The curriculum should be simple and easy to understand. Students attend online classes for their flexibility and to speed up the learning process. Most virtual students multitask between their coursework and other work.
You will have to spend some time learning the programming for the web-based class room before you start creating the materials. It won’t work to walk in, greet your students with a smile and begin a discussion. Consider ways of welcoming students. Does the virtual classroom Virtual tutoring system allow you to send a message of welcome after login, for example? Uploading course materials and assignments is a good idea. You can also practice assigning them, retrieving them, and even grading. Be sure to know exactly what you need to do prior teaching.
Virtual classrooms may be unable to replicate the same classroom experience. In a conventional classroom, for example, you may have spent your time discussing the reading assigned last night. This method allows students to discuss the topic, explore it together, and ask questions. It is best to not rewrite this method to fit a virtual class. Start with a fresh plan to explore material, share insights and engage in engaging interactions. Use the group chat and message boards instead.
In the virtual classroom, communication is crucial since no one is there to talk face-to-face. Some students might even assume that the virtual classroom is open 24/7, day or night. Prepare yourself to check your e-mails, chat messages, or message boards frequently. Prepare time for students to receive feedback and to be able to answer them in an accurate, timely and complete manner. It will require more time to do this than a classroom setting where one question could have been answered by two, three or four others. It gives you an opportunity to help students who may require additional assistance in the class.
Make sure that your course material is clearly and concisely presented. Online courses are seen by students as an opportunity to accelerate their education. They expect to sign in, review the materials for the day and submit the assignments, and then move on. You will want to ensure that everything is easy to navigate. How will students be able to navigate around the virtual classroom if you are unable to do so? Log in as a user and try out the course. This will help you determine if anything needs to be added or removed to improve the flow of the course.
Do not be surprised when assignments take more time than expected. You may ask students to work alone for 30 minutes in the classroom. But don’t count on this when you are working online. Plan your assignment deadlines accordingly. Students may come and go from the classroom throughout the day. You’re also not just presenting main material. Before beginning any assignment, students will have to go through the entire lecture and the materials.
You are responsible for creating a sense of community within the virtual classroom. It is important to promote the use of discussion boards, emailing and group chats. The students will log on, read the materials, do the task and then leave.