The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live forever; a lot of us have transitioned into remote work, and teaching is no exception. Each month, online classes have been gaining more and more popularity. Working online allows you to save a great amount of time, increase the number of students, and as a result, increase income. By adapting to this format, the educator greatly facilitates the process both for himself and for online learners.
For example, online class participants may live in different parts of the world. Nobody needs to waste time on the road or looking for a venue. All you need is a computer or smartphone with high-speed internet connection.
Before getting into best practices, let’s dispel your doubts and talk about pros and cons of online classes:
1. Unforeseen technical issues. Unfortunately, you can’t predict everything. When teaching online, you’re dependent on the internet connection and the platforms you work with, and those two aren’t always stable. What you can do is prepare yourself with a plan B in case of technical problems.
2. Lack of social interaction. Working from home, you may feel a lack of communication and social interaction. Try to communicate more with your colleagues and friends not to feel lonely.
3. Time management problems. Too much leeway can lead to time management problems, especially if you work from home. It’s easy to get distracted by housework or family. As a result, you lose focus and find yourself cramming late at night. Try to stick to a schedule as if you were in your office or classroom.
4. Difficulty building trust with students. It’s a lot easier to make a connection when you have the person right in front of you. Working online, it becomes the teacher’s responsibility to build trust and earn the confidence of students. Try to communicate and support your students every online class through chat groups or message boards.
5. Workaholism. Yes, you’ve become the master of your time, but there is one catch: you think, “I’m working from home, I can give another lesson or prepare more materials.” So you work 24/7 and burn out from fatigue. Try to set limits on your daily work hours, switch between activities and give yourself some rest.
1. Time-saving. Teaching in a traditional classroom, you’d definitely have to spend time on the road. Sometimes a back and forth trip could likely take longer than the class itself. With online classes, all you need to start and finish a class is the push of a button.
2. No location limits. Teaching online, you are not limited by the area, city, or even the country you are in. You can work with students all over the world.
3. Flexible schedule. Teaching online gives you the freedom to create your own schedule.
4. Variety and freedom in choosing teaching materials. You can manage your work yourself, which means you can use materials you consider most suitable for your students. Nobody limits you to certain textbooks or techniques. You are free to incorporate your best practices into lessons and even implement your own approach to learning.
5. Unlimited training time. You can devote as much time to the lesson as necessary. Choose your own pace, intensity, study materials, etc.
6. Increase income. You can set your course fees, take a comfortable load and independently control your monthly income. It’s up to you to set a price you think would be worth it for you and your students. Also, since you cut your travel time, you can now put in those extra hours into teaching more classes.
7. Comfortable conditions. You can work where it’s more convenient and organize your workspace to be as comfortable as possible. A student can learn from anywhere in the world and you can teach from the comfort of your home.
As you can see, online teaching has a range of advantages and disadvantages. It’s good to lay out the pros and cons for yourself. Remember, if you decide to start your online journey, you’re adding another skill in your arsenal that can benefit you.
With that, we want to share LiveCarta’s top 8 useful tips for those who want to start teaching online.
Before starting, ask yourself a clear question: "What environment do I want to foster for my class?" It’s important to communicate with your students to learn what makes things most efficient and accessible. Do you need to post self-study materials, receive questions or homework for review? Do you need to teach online courses? Make a list of specific tasks to help you choose a platform.
Fortunately, there are plenty of platforms for video conferencing to choose from. The most popular now are Zoom, Adobe Connect, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. You can also choose from the platforms your students are familiar with. In this case, they can help you understand the technology. For example, students often communicate with each other in streaming apps like Discord - and this service could well be used to conduct an online lesson with voice communication and screen sharing.
An important tip: be sure to provide a fallback in case the platform you are working on does not withstand the influx of participants, which has recently happened with many platforms.
Rehearse online lessons. The chosen platform should first be tested in working mode with colleagues, friends or family: turn it on, press different buttons, understand what works, what doesn’t work and why. Also, to avoid stressful situations, think about what you would do in case of technical problems. Choose fallback options for communications, platforms, and plans in case something goes wrong. Prepare yourself for the unexpected.
You can't deny, it’s much more pleasant to work in a cozy and convenient space. Moreover, a properly equipped workspace will help you concentrate and avoid unnecessary distractions.
The background should be neutral so you don’t distract students and you should also consider good lighting. Pick a comfortable chair and wear something you can be confident in, as long as it’s appropriate. Be sure to have water near you so you can stay hydrated during all your classes.
In addition to web-platforms, you can use tools for publishing, distributing and developing books and materials for your classes. For example, on LiveCarta, you can find books that you can adopt and customize. Create your own books directly on the platform! You can decide whether you want PDF and/or print-on-demand.
Make use of study tools to type notes and highlight the most important parts of books. Once you have all your materials, you can use Bundles to package them together to share with your class. You can learn more here.
There can be many distractions during an online lesson, so rules are needed so that the group can interact effectively. Ask your online students to turn off notifications on their phones, put their phones face down, and close all third-party tabs so they don't get distracted.
Part of being a good online teacher is considering your students' needs. Online learning can make students feel lonely. Instead of simply choosing resources and having students complete assignments, consider the following questions:
To avoid working overtime, set clear working hours. Alert students when they can contact you. Try not to be glued to work 24/7 and take time to relax. You can use Google Meet or Zoom to host “office hours” each week. For daily questions, students can either email, post them to the Google Classroom stream, or send direct messages.
Online classes are becoming more and more popular all over the world. We don’t know when face-to-face classes will resume but we can expect at least a hybrid of online and in-person in the future of academia. A modern teacher must be able to adapt to working online if he wants to keep up with the times and not lose students. The first step is very easy, assess your options and move from words to practice.