Top Tips to Design and Deliver Online Classes
The education world has changed. There is a clear before and after marked by the pandemic when it comes to digital education. Having classes online was an option before, but after Covid the United States had more than 17 million people enrolling in online learning courses according to The World Economic Forum.
The need for a new way of learning and delivering information caused teaching methods to take a dramatic turn. Online education has become a very important part of the United States’ education system. We are moving forward with technology and the way it impacts our day-to-day life. By turning on a computer, having an internet connection and opening a variety of online meeting sites, a regular person, no matter the age, will be able to see, speak, and interact with other individuals. Important meetings, school graduations and an endless number of courses are offered online nowadays.
What exactly is an online class? What do you need to know in order to create it? Is it difficult? Will students be interested or will they eventually get bored? Many questions come to our minds when we are the ones delivering an online class. In this article we will explain some important details you need to design a great online class and deliver it in an entertaining way.
Designing Your Class
We know that excellent teachers design classes ahead of time. To design an online course we need to follow the same path but take some new ideas into consideration. Here is a list of 4 important things to keep in mind while designing your online class:
1) Short Topics: Attention span is what matters the most. At the end of the day if a student pays attention to you, they have more chances to learn and understand the topics that you are teaching. While some people will argue that 10-18 minutes is the best rule to follow, others believe that it mainly depends on the teacher and how information is delivered.
The truth is that you must be able to deliver consistent information in a rapid and interesting manner. Students have more sources of distraction in online classes than in a regular in-person class. Break down topics into different sections and finish each topic with a discussion or activity so students know that a topic was taught, discussed and ended. If there is a need to discuss another topic they will understand that they are starting again, reset, and will repeat the process.
2) Content is Key: How many times have we been in a class with black and white images and old videos that for some reason automatically feels boring? Online classes have the advantage of having an almost unlimited source of teaching material. New videos, research and facts can call your student’s attention even more than regular material. Take some time to investigate new material and share it with your students in a modern way, so they can feel identified and relate to it.
3) Colors, Fonts, and Images: You need to prepare not only speeches and explanations of the topics, but also digital content. Having your information be presented in an attractive way by using big fonts for your headlines, attractive colors and images will make everyone enjoy your class more. Adding small paragraphs is also beneficial for students when learning online so they can understand the main idea and elaborate after with you and the class. Here are some examples from DesignModo on how to choose the best fonts.
Delivering Your Class
A great class means nothing without a great delivery. The data and preparation can be perfect but not knowing how to engage with your students and managing timing can kill your content. Here are 3 pieces of advice for your classes when delivering content to students online:
1) Make the Students Part of Your Class: From quizzes, to questions, activities, essays and group tasks: everything that involves students will make your class interesting. The more participative you make your class, the less boring it will become. Make sure to add great rewards for your students if they either show interest or accomplish a task. Having a reward will make them more motivated and interested. All activities can happen after delivering content and while the class is happening.
2) Familiarize Yourself With Your Online Teaching Platform: While all platforms are similar, there are slight differences that might throw off your lesson plan. From the way you mute, speak, turn on/off the camera, get questions from your audience, to backgrounds; all of these things can affect you. You must know how to be a pro at the interface. A good way to practice is by calling friends and family, or even coworkers, and play with the platform. The main idea is to know exactly what each button and function does and by testing these features you will also find if your audio and video quality is good. All of these steps will help you be a professional while presenting and interacting with your class.
3) Tone of Voice and Attitude is Contagious: There is nothing more contagious than a great attitude and tone of voice. It can make the difference between good or bad engagement from your students. From Kindergarten to High School students, you need to know how to set your tone of voice properly.
Children love to share ideas and to be validated. They love to see body language and facial expressions to match their mood and expect simple explanations to questions and instructions. On the other hand teenagers are expecting positive praise while they try hard in something that has become difficult and to acknowledge their feelings when it comes to class activities. You will have to understand the personality of each student in order to interact with them. Active listening is important so they can express themselves and you can understand their ideas.
Are You Ready?
Being a teacher is one of the most difficult and important professions in the world. Having the responsibility to educate the future society is something that makes you special. Online classes are just another way to deliver all the knowledge and wisdom that you have and by keeping these tips in your mind and implementing them, you will notice improvements to your already awesome classes.