Despite the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the academic community was able to handle the unexpected changes in a manner that will not disrupt academic aspirations. Alternative learning models soon emerged, such as online learning, a virtual simulation of the traditional classroom experience. In the Philippines, online degrees such as BS Accounting are available for those who want to pursue college education in the comfort of their homes.
While online learning has addressed the academic barriers amid a pandemic, its sudden transition from the in-person classroom has brought significant concerns among educators and learners in terms of presence and engagement. Designing courses for an online environment is challenging. It’s tough to maintain connection and encouragement with students if there are plenty of distractions around them.
That said, educators are using different strategies to humanize online interactions in virtual classrooms.
Online learning is an isolating experience both for instructors and learners. But learning how to humanize online courses improves the student’s learning experience, including retention rates and academic success. Learn how to bring more humanization into a virtual learning environment.
Show your true self
Don’t just start the first day of school with a brief introduction about yourself. Use the time to infuse your personality into the course. If the school allows you to design your own course, look for ways to showcase your unique personality in relation to the subject. This allows students to establish the instructor’s presence and build their connection with you.
Show a short video introduction that presents your life outside the classroom. Tell them why you choose your college major, your first job, your hobbies, and your life goals. You can also create a slideshow presentation and include as many photos as possible for an added visual element. By the end of the presentation, express your excitement as their new instructor and why students should look forward to the succeeding lessons.
To make the introduction more interesting, use the power of storytelling. Whether online or face-to-face, a teacher’s ability to tell an engaging story evokes attention and draws them closer to the students. The key is to show your truest self and stay involved.
You can also encourage students to make their own video presentations to allow the entire class to know them better. This will also spark conversations about particular interests and discover which students share the same hobby.
Establish social presence
Introducing campfire activities is a challenge for most instructors, whether in a digital or face-to-face environment. While you’re eager to delve right into the course content, it’s important to establish a social presence to reach a certain level of connectedness with your students. You can’t expect learners to remain engaged throughout the course. You need to play an active role in keeping them motivated and engaged from the very beginning.
During the first week, take time to explore the students’ personalities. Determine what triggers their attention and use the information to engage them and develop spaces where they can explore and tell authentic stories. This allows you to understand their learning inspirations and set idealistic expectations inside the virtual classroom.
Another technique is to encourage collaboration. Some students may be shy at first, so use strategies to keep them involved, such as group blogs, asynchronous activities, and discussion posts. Outgoing students should try hosting group meetings, social media groups, and real-time presentations. Design your collaboration strategies according to their personalities and interests.
Flexibility is key in online learning promotes autonomy during group work. Establish project goals and urge students to create their own proposal and how they will work as a team. Give students the freedom to explore the details themselves to promote an authentic, meaningful experience.
Explore other tech options
Ever since the rise of online learning, a wide variety of digital tools emerged to aid instructors and students establish a successful learning environment. If you’ve been running late on the latest technology, it’s about time to change your perspective.
Staying up-to-date with modern learning tools is the key to establish a socially connected learning environment. Students today are likely composed of millennials and Gen Zs, known as digital natives. As an instructor, you have to utilize technology to achieve learning outcomes successfully and make learning as convenient as possible for your young students.
The sudden transition to online learning got the entire academic community unprepared for its challenges. Remember, it takes great effort to set things up the first time regardless of the platform. Use this opportunity to optimize online learning and encourage opportunities for classroom collaboration. Humanizing digital instruction is a perfect time to boost social connections in an era of physical distancing.
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