An engaging online learning experience requires more than just virtual classroom meetings. Consider some of these ideas to cultivate your virtual learning space for your students.
Provide virtual materials
Try to have materials that students can access and use virtually. This means that students can easily find materials any time they need them, interact with them on their devices, and use or share them easily in collaboration with other students. This could be a video, handout, game, document, graphic, or even chat discussion board. The sky is the limit! There are several resources available, so find what works for your students, and start moving your materials to a virtual platform. Check our articles on Levering Content for more information on managing content, effective communication, writing and design, and more!
Create clear paths of communication – and don’t overuse them!
It’s no secret that technology has made way for more communication and connection than we’ve ever had in human history. It is an incredible tool, but only when used effectively. A notification or two every day is helpful, but fifteen can be overwhelming, especially for students getting notifications from multiple teachers, or for parents getting information about multiple children. Decide on different ways to communicate different kinds of information.
- If you have scheduled events or meetings, get a shared class calendar that updates in real time when you make changes and allows students to RSVP or send a message about an event.
- Dedicate a certain channel for announcements, so learners and parents know where to go when they need important information fast.
- Save the casual discussion for a chat or private messages.
Creating these multiple channels allows students and parents to customize their notifications based on the content and take ownership of their communication without feeling overwhelmed.
Allow quiz retakes
In the traditional classroom, quiz retakes are certainly the exception, not the norm. However, quiz retakes are efficient, effective learning tools in virtual learning. Students can see their mistakes in real time and have a chance to improve their score. This takes the focus off the stress of a good grade and puts it back on the material itself. For the teacher, the grading process is streamlined in many cases. If you are worried about performance, there are ways to encourage students to try their best.
- Questions and answers can be randomized so that the student has to pay attention to correct answer to be able to select it again.
- Scores can be averaged over the number of retakes to encourage the student to do the retake, thereby exposing them to the information again.
- Finally, you can limit the number of retakes to 2, 3, or 5, and stop including retakes in the average score once the student gets a perfect score. This prevents students from being able to retake a quiz to bump their score up incrementally with multiple perfect scores.
Ultimately, try to see quizzes and quiz retakes as assessments meant for the learner. This is their chance to see their own strengths and weakness, and to learn from their mistakes without risk of it seriously impacting their final grade.
Share your experiences
Of course, there is so much that goes into cultivating any classroom environment, traditional or virtual, and it takes the care and hard work of dedicated teachers to make a classroom engaging. These are just a few tips for virtual classrooms, so as you share this with others, be sure to include your own ideas as well! Everyone is a better learner when we learn together.