Pile of books

Trade Secret #4: Be a hoarder

This took me a shockingly long time to figure out. I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until 2012 that I began to personally archive all of my postings in the group discussion forums, and I now use these as a base from which to continuously adapt and reframe year over year. Although I refresh and update the course content every year, many of the same issues, discussion points, questions and reflections come up. Having a resource archive to draw from has immeasurably enriched my own contributions to our online conversations.

Trade Secret #1: Put out the welcome mat and over-communicate

The most important things that students want to know are: “What is expected of me?” “How do I access the course?”, “Where can I get help if I need it?” and “How can I be successful?” I make a point of addressing these questions by mobilizing multiple communication channels. People access and attend to information selectively – this way I make sure that the important information cuts through the “static” of students’ other, competing priorities, and I also get fewer panicked emails and phone calls in the first weeks of the course.

Google Slides: Your Answer to Collaborative Synchronous Work

With Google Slides you can create template slide decks that encourage collaboration. By creating templates, students can follow along - you provide the backbone to support students in creating, researching, and presenting. Working together on slides is an interactive synchronous classroom activity that can be done over and over again to build skills and learn new subjects.

The Breakfast Club

Amy Pelvin describes feeling disconnected from the day to day interactions with students, particularly in full or partial asynchronous courses. She decided to start The Breakfast Club. This runs during asynchronous classes and is an opportunity to connect with students and build relationships.