From colleague to colleague on digital teaching
This year, the learning curve has been steep. We have tested various tools, set up the activity in other ways, we have failed and we have succeeded. We have talked to one who has taught this autumn, one who will teach in the spring and with our Student of the Year and received some tips on the way to digital teaching for the spring semester!
Digital tools must not be at the expense of the students we are to communicate with!
- Corona restrictions mean that more of us have to use digital tools in teaching and it is easy to forget the students we want to communicate with, says Nils Seiersten, awarded digital teacher of the year.
- For my part, I try to "look past" digital tools and focus on the human. How do the students experience the situation - how are the students affected by screen-based dialogue and how can I facilitate the best possible learning outcome. Empathy and empathy are key words.
- Frequent and long enough breaks are important, everyone must have time to make themselves a cup of coffee / tea or a snack when needed.
- In practical terms, I am careful to practice the tools before I use them in class, for me it is important to feel confident in how the tools will be used so that the students do not have to wait while I "fiddle and try my hand".
- Furthermore, I place the camera at the height of my eyes, to avoid distortion of the room I am sitting in, I am aware of how my face is lit so that it is not too bright and not too dark - try to appear as "normal" as possible . The key words from me will be exercise, camera height and lighting, Nils concludes.
Focus on the interaction with the students!
Professor Erika Gubrium at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Sciences, has not taught in the autumn of 2020, but will teach a lot in the spring.
- Here are 6 things - off the top of my head:
- DIGIN. They’re great! Check out their short courses on using digital tools in teaching – they send an announcement every week and you can find a collection of their videos on Canvas.
- In these uncertain times – will I teach from home/zoom or in a classroom? – I’m using digital tools that enable me to increase interactivity, wherever the teaching and learning take place. I’m using Padlet to organize my lectures – and to organize breaks during the class for students to engage in solo or group activities.
- Given the likelihood of digital teaching, I’m increasing the level of “framing” and “cumulative exercises” in one of my courses to enable students to learn a bit more actively. I will use a portfolio and peer evaluation format for my course, also organized using Padlet.
- This all said, it’s important to keep in mind that this situation is new…and potentially confusing and frustrating. I’ve decided that the best way to deal with it is to try my best to create course offers that increase interactivity between myself and the students, regardless of the situation. But with trying something new comes the potential for new challenges. So I also have a running mantra in my head that I just do the best I can, even if it isn’t perfect.
- Also, keep in mind that teaching in these times requires extra resources – talk to your leaders and your colleagues and be honest about how much time it takes. For teaching to be both digital (even partly) and interactive, many hours must be put in to preparation. We need to be up front about the time and resources this takes!
- Finally, we must all keep in mind that this situation will not last forever. We will be able to go back to our classrooms in the future. Teaching and learning is not only about substance – it’s also a social activity and in-class meetings are an important part of that. So, use digital methods in a way that does not replace in-class teaching and learning – which is important – but rather, improves the interactivity possible.
From Student of the Year Rameen Jamshaid Khan
- Teachers do an important job and are the most important link between the students and the university. You have stood up during the pandemic and been good supporters for us students. New year, new semester and a new opportunity to make ourselves even better, Rameen says.
- Show commitment in your field. You are the first impression of the new student's journey into the university. Let the passion show through the teaching - when the students recognize the passion in the teacher, they are more likely to be passionately invested in the teaching.
- Be available to students. Tell us about your available office hours, that you are open to questions through email or Teams. This is appreciated and satisfies those students who wonder a lot, but who do not dare to ask in a large assembly.
- Listen to the students and be open to feedback in the subject. First and foremost, this gives you a good opportunity to do an even better job and at the same time the students feel worthwhile, motivated and committed to the subject.
- Take care of yourself! There is no doubt that you have gone the extra mile this special time, both for the students and the university. Without taking care of yourself, you will not have the strength to help the students.
Need help with digital teaching?
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