As an educator, you know firsthand the incredible challenges you’ve had to manage since the onset of the pandemic. You’ve had to quickly pivot to remote learning and develop an entirely new set of skills almost overnight. And while everyone from teachers to curriculum designers has done remarkably well under the circumstances, the disruptions have nonetheless made clear the need for more resources to help you continue to design and deliver engaging and effective online learning experiences.
Online Learning Design for Educators is a new Specialization on Coursera. It was created by subject matter experts at Macquarie University, and it’s designed to help you expand your repertoire of online teaching skills. This is an ideal program for anyone who is designing or delivering online learning experiences, is familiar with face-to-face teaching, and is now adapting to online environments.
In a recent post on Teche, Macquarie University’s Learning and Teaching community blog, Professor Garry Falloon (a contributor to the Specialization, and a Macquarie School of Education faculty member) provided a valuable list of 10 tips educators can rely on to help foster successful online learning experiences:
- Create opportunities for learners to collaborate.
- Partner with your learners to create ‘active engagement.’
- Be mindful of the cognitive load for your learners.
- Provide feedback to your learners.
- Create opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous learning.
- Learn how to use your learning management system or other tools to connect with learners.
- Create or curate.
- Discuss and share your audio, video, and infographic prototypes with a colleague.
- Be vulnerable and transparent and share your learning when it comes to online teaching with your students.
- Be mindful that learning can occur online and offline, so plan accordingly, support learners to be agile, flexible, and responsive in developing their knowledge and understanding.
Professor Falloon’s list provided an excellent framework to follow as you explore new strategies for delivering world-class learning online, and contained within his tips is a wealth of valuable insights about the challenges and opportunities of online education.
Among the many issues he touches on is the importance of collaboration and what he terms ‘active engagement’:
“Encourage your students to become active in their learning by designing tasks that are motivating and allow students to construct and build content knowledge together of relevance to them, rather than just passively responding to PDF worksheets posted online.”
Professor Falloon notes that project and problem-based projects are effective for encouraging beneficial collaboration. He also points out that while project-based approaches allow for a balance of asynchronous and synchronous work: “Teachers need to be highly present both in asynchronous and synchronous tasks. The more the teacher engages, the more the students will engage.”
Recognizing that the pivot to online learning is a change for educators as well as students, Professor Falloon encourages teachers to share learnings amongst themselves and to be open with students: “Remote learning is new for most—teachers and students alike. Sharing wins and misses is a great way to bond over this challenging time.”
As you continue to explore new strategies for refining and optimizing your approach to online learning, we hope you’ll find this Specialization beneficial. You can enroll for free today with a 7-day free trial. To access assessment tasks and receive certification, you can enroll in the monthly subscription, which is valued at USD$49/AUD$66. The Specialization can generally be completed in approximately three-to-four months.