Teaching online

Observation_3__photovoice__alhall_Hall4.JPGI’m teaching PR Principles online this summer, and I thought I’d share with you my top 3 tips for online teaching:

1. Discussions don’t work. Unless you present very controversial, ethical issues where students can share opinions, discussions don’t take off in online classes as most teachers wish. I’m trying to use discussions now as preparations for assignments (solve a PR case in a discussion thread so you know how to solve it for a graded assignment). However, I see better discussions as comments to blog posts (all students are required to blog on PROpenMic). I hate grading discussions based on number of posts. I think it’s meaningless, I don’t do it, I don’t use it to motivate students to participate.

2. For every learning objective, think two steps: information input and information processing/output. That is, for every learning objective my students have to take in information (from book, recorded online lecture, blog, etc.) and then do something with it (take a quiz, write a blog post, write an assignment) that shows me they’ve processed the information and now they’re outputting it for me to evaluate. I usually have a relatively easy quiz, and a more complex application assignment.

3. Allow students to work at their own paces, but provide a lot of structure. I issue a schedule for every week, that includes learning objectives and for each learning objective information input and output activities (assignments), along with deadlines.

What works for you, either as a teacher or student, in online education? Please share tips, comments, questions, frustrations 🙂