This section offers answers for these questions and many others as you prepare to adapt your course for new teaching modalities.
- What are best practices for teaching online?
- If I “flip” my course and assign work for students to do remotely, how can I be sure that students will come to the on-campus sessions prepared to engage more deeply with my course content?
- How can I manage a live class that has both in-class and remote students?
- How can research and best practices in pedagogy, along with advances in technology, make me a more effective teacher in my face-to-face classes?
Many UNH faculty are using alternative teaching modalities during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learning how to use technology is only part of the equation for teaching online.
The Importance of Presence
It is commonly accepted that instructor presence – loosely construed as the instructor’s ability to come across to students as a “real person” – contributes to a better online learning experience for students. K. Patricia Cross suggested ways to build presence, including sharing information about yourself in the online course site, communicating regularly with students, and choosing instructional activities where you are visible and involved (K. Patricia Cross Academy, n.d.)
But as important as connecting with students as a “real person” is, the concept of presence goes beyond just establishing a personal connection. Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, and Archer (2001) introduced the concept of teacher presence as “the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes” (p. 5). They described these three dimensions:
- Design and organization -- building curriculum materials, designing and administering an appropriate mix of group and individual activities, setting timelines for group activities and student project work, synchronizing activities so that students feel “in synch” with the rest of the class, and giving students a sense of the “grand design” of the course and reassurance that participating in the learning activities will lead to attainment of their learning goals
- Facilitation -- identifying areas of agreement/disagreement; seeking to reach consensus/understanding; encouraging, acknowledging, or reinforcing student contributions; setting the climate for learning; drawing in participants; prompting discussion; and assessing the efficacy of the process, and
- Direct instruction -- presenting content/questions; focusing the discussion on specific issues; summarizing the discussion; confirming understanding through assessment and explanatory feedback; diagnosing misconceptions, injecting knowledge from diverse sources, e.g., textbook, articles, internet, personal experiences -- including pointers to resources; and responding to technical concerns.
A meta-analysis (Caskurlu et al. 2020) examining the relationship between student outcomes and Anderson’s (2001) three sub-dimensions found moderately strong positive relationships between teaching presence with both student satisfaction and perceived learning, suggesting that teaching presence is a good predictor of student outcomes and indicating the importance of considering teaching presence when designing for and implementing online courses.
Guidelines for Success
These elements are critical to the success of online students:
- A clear course structure to avoid confusion
- Use modules, pages and course links in Canvas to improve the online course navigation experience.
- Provide clear instructions for all assignments and assessments (page limits for written assignments, citation requirements, time limits for quizzes, etc.).
- Opportunities to provide feedback
- Use formative assessment strategies such as classroom/learning assessment and low-stake quizzes to check students' understanding, provide feedback, and adjust your instruction accordingly.
- Use rubrics for grading and make the rubrics available to students while they work on assignments to clearly communicate your expectations.
- Use the Canvas SpeedGrader to provide inline comments on written assignments.
- If supplementing online courses with web conferencing sessions, use the polling function in Zoom to ask questions and collect feedback.
- Opportunities for student collaboration
- Use discussions to encourage students to ask questions, engage in higher order learning, and share perspectives with their peers.
- Set up groups in Canvas for asynchronous small group discussions.
- Use breakout rooms in Zoom for synchronous group work and student collaboration.
Fundamentals of Online Instruction (Online Course for UNH Faculty)
This course is intended to familiarize UNH instructors with the fundamentals and best practices of
teaching online. The course objectives are centered on core instructional competencies with an emphasis on application. Best practices are reinforced through modeling by the course facilitators. Participants are encouraged to apply strategies covered as they begin the development of their own online course. Topics covered include the difference between online and face to face instruction, quality standards, instructor presence, online syllabus, learning design, and technologies to deliver instruction online. Each participant also has the benefit of experiencing an online course through the eyes of a student.
Hybrid (“Flipped Classroom”)
With the hybrid, or “flipped” classroom model (also referred to as blended learning), faculty use various approaches to present new information rather than relying on traditional in-class lectures. Students are exposed to the new information (through readings, short videos, and web resources) outside of class. They then come to class better prepared to use the new information through discussion, problem-solving, debates, and other activities that require them to engage with new ideas at higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy (analyze, evaluate, and create).
Students must take on more responsibility for their own learning when it occurs outside of the classroom. To encourage that students will be better prepared for in-class sessions (adapted from Iowa State University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, 2020):
- Clearly communicate your expectations about how much time students should devote to completing out-of-class assignments.
- Use a rubric to articulate the expected assignment outcomes and performance criteria.
- Provide incentives for students to complete out-of-class assignments. For example:
- Low-stakes quizzes
- Questions embedded in short video lectures
- Discussion prompts requiring students to process the information with their peers,
- Reflective journal postings
- “Muddiest point” posts (in which students post about the most confusing or difficult part of a lesson, lecture, or reading).
- Resist using in-class sessions to accomplish what students should have accomplished outside of class.
HyFlex (Hybrid-Flexible) is an instructional model developed at San Francisco State University (SFSU) that allows for the delivery of courses in which there are students participating both locally and remotely, and, possibly, asynchronously. The HyFlex model allows students to decide for themselves which path is best for them on a daily or weekly basis (Beatty, 2020).
You can use these worksheets, adapted from Beatty’s work, to plan your course transition and map your course modules. You will first analyze your learning objectives and any changes you will need to make to accommodate the new course format, then think about adapting learning activities.
Make sure your course materials are available to your students. You can upload videos, readings, files, and external links to Canvas (myCourses) or Box. When using Box to store and share files with your students, make sure to follow the proper steps so that students can access your Box file from myCourses without logging into Box.
Based on your learning objectives, select the appropriate technologies:
- Lecture: Use Kaltura or Zoom to record your lecture videos.
- Learning resources
- Textbook readings and journal articles
- YouTube videos
- External websites
- TED Talks
- Open Educational Resources, etc.
- Collaborative activities
- Canvas (myCourses) Discussions (whole class and small group) and Groups tools
- Zoom meetings (whole class and breakout rooms)
- Canvas Quiz tool for graded quizzes and self-checks
- Canvas Assignments tool for submitting written work (papers, reflective journal posts, etc.)
- Canvas Discussions (possibly supplemented with Kaltura or Zoom videos) for case studies, peer reviews, debates, student presentations, etc.
Tips for Success in the Concurrent Classroom
In many ways, teaching in a concurrent classroom can be challenging and requires some additional planning. The following strategies can be helpful in creating a more successful learning environment:
1. Before you begin class, be sure to check all the necessary technologies:
- Web Camera: Ensure the camera is properly focused and pointing to where you want remote students to be focused
- Microphone: Ensure you have a microphone connected and that it is chosen as the microphone being used by Zoom. (Be sure that you have spare batteries if using an external microphone.)
- Be sure to begin recording when you start the session (Note: You can do this automatically by logging into Zoom.unh.edu, selecting Settings, and turning on Automatic recording in the Recording tab.)
2. Clearly state your expectations for attendance and participation.
- A clearly written late policy for assignments can save a lot of frustration for both you and your students.
- Enter all deadlines for all course deliverables (assignments, exams, etc.) in Canvas. Clearly call this out using announcements in Canvas in addition to a verbal announcement in class as this could be easily missed by remote students.
- Encourage all students to add text messaging to their canvas profile so that they will receive any course announcements you create via text messaging as well as email.
- Create a low stakes introduction activity that encourages students to practice using technologies you will require in the class. For example, ask students for a video introduction if they will be submitting video projects.
- Use strategies to encourage students to check the Canvas course shell often by making course materials available or posting announcements mid-week.
3. Follow through on your class plans as you would normally. Whether you have a full room or only a few students in the room, don't allow yourself to deviate from your planning because you do not "see" students.
4. Check the chat panel regularly to ensure remote students can ask questions and participate. Plan to take chat breaks during your sessions to ensure this happens.
5. Include the remote students in all discussions and when asking questions of the class.
6. Consider using a polling tool so that that both in-class and remote students can check their understanding.
7. If you plan to use the Respondus LockDown Browser during exams, be sure to practice with a low stakes activity to ensure students are able to use the tool successfully prior to an exam.
8. Consider posting pre-recorded class lectures in short 20-minute chunks in pages in Canvas as well as in the Media Gallery. Redundancy in a concurrent classroom is a way to ensure all students will have access to the materials.
9. Consider creating a separate module in your Canvas course for recorded face-to-face sessions so that remote students can easily find the materials.
10. Although you will not require students to be physically present in your classroom, you can still count attendance for grading purposes. Consider using various methods such as an exit ticket (students complete an exit survey immediately after class).
11. Consider whether you will require remote students to turn on their video cameras.
While the lecture has been the teaching method of choice for the face-to-face classroom, faculty can employ a variety of teaching and learning strategies for transforming their on-campus classes -- even their traditional lectures -- into interactive learning experiences. The rise of online learning has increased faculty awareness of many of these strategies. One study indicated that faculty who have transitioned from online to face-to-face teaching have “reduced their traditional instruction of the usual lecture-centric assignments and assessment model to peer-based learning techniques and online assignments that force independent thinking and information gathering” (Andrews, 2018).
The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University (n.d.) has compiled a list of ways to promote student participation in lectures that have been used in classes of up to 1200 students, as well as in smaller groups. This list is a sample of the suggestions:
- Begin the lecture with a question or questions which help you to understand what students are thinking.
- Begin the lecture by posing a problem and eliciting several answers or solutions from the students.
- Create an atmosphere that encourages student participation by using a conversational tone and not criticizing student questions or comments in front of the class.
- Invite challenges to your ideas.
- When a student asks a question, instead of answering yourself, ask for an answer from other members of the class.
- Ask questions throughout the lecture, so that the lecture becomes more of a conversation.
- Pause in the lecture after making a major point. Show students a multiple-choice question based on the material you have been talking about. Ask students to vote on the right answer, and then turn to their neighbors to persuade them of the answer within the space of two minutes. When time is up, ask them to vote a second time. Usually far more students arrive at the correct answer when voting the second time.
- Refer to the readings assigned for the class to make their purpose clear. Ask questions about the readings from time to time. Ask individuals or groups ahead of time to prepare short presentations of their interpretations of the readings.
- When using slides, maps, or handouts, ask students what they see before you tell them what you see. Use these devices to help students think about a problem as you introduce it.
- Ask students, by section, to make presentations, do role plays, illustrate a position dramatically, debate a point. Or, ask TAs to give short presentations on areas of their expertise. Then invite the whole class to discuss the points illustrated.
- Use cases to exemplify the issues you want to convey and conduct the class as a case discussion rather than as a lecture.
- Stop the lecture and ask students to write for one or two minutes in response to a particular question. The writing will give everyone a chance to think about and articulate a response and may enable broader participation.
- In a one-minute paper at the end of class, ask students to write down what they consider (a) the main point of the class and (b) the main question(s) they still have at the end of class. Use some of these questions to begin the next lecture.
Andrews, D’Nita. (2018) The Effect of Online Teaching on Faculty After Returning to the Traditional Classroom. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, (XXI, 4).
Anderson, T, Liam, R, Garrison, D.R., and Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1-17 Retrieved from https://olj.onlinelearningconsortium.org/index.php/olj/article/view/1875
Beatty, Brian J. (2020). Hybrid-Flexible Course Design Implementing student-directed hybrid classes. EdTech Books. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/pdfs/mobile/hyflex/_hyflex.pdf
Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, Harvard University. (n.d.) Twenty Ways To Make Lectures More Participatory. Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1k6tKbAfmZuKiA42tZ5ifGGxkpw8HRZ7RUc6lHkLYpv4/edit
Caskurlu, S, Maeda, Y., Richardson, J.C. and Lv, Jing. (2020). A meta-analysis addressing the relationship between teaching presence and students’ satisfaction and learning. Computers and Education, 157, 103966. https://unh.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01USNH_UNH/1o8seis/cdi_cr…
Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. (2020). The Flipped Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/teaching-format/blended-learning-…
K. Patricia Cross Academy. (n.d.) Creating an Engaging Teaching Persona Online. Retrieved from https://kpcrossacademy.org/creating-a-teaching-persona-online/