Linda Dale Bloomberg holds the positions of associate director of faculty support and development, and full professor of education in the School of Education, Northcentral University, San Diego. Dr. Bloomberg received her doctorate in 2006 from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she completed the AEGIS Program in Adult and Organizational Learning. Her new book is titled Designing and Delivering Effective Online Instruction: How to Engage Adult Learners.
Few professions have been more upended by the pandemic than teaching, as school districts have—and continue to—vacillate between in-person, remote and hybrid models of learning, leaving teachers naturally concerned and scrambling to do their jobs effectively. In our efforts to create accessible and inclusive online or hybrid courses, we should always be looking for ways to ensure that students will have an optimal learning experience. In my recently published book Designing and Delivering Effective Online Instruction: How to Engage Adult Learners, I talk at length about different ways to engage students in their learning an equity-driven and empowering way, with human connection in mind. Toward this end, here are a set of strategies that you can implement to enhance your teaching practice:
1. Adopt an Integrative Approach
Our primary role as educators is to create learning environments that service a diverse student body. To be successful, this environment should focus on the ability of all students to demonstrate their level of understanding and to meaningfully apply their knowledge. The era of pandemic teaching has taught us that “one and done,” on-time delivery of student assignments is not conducive to understanding and deep learning. In addition to the plethora of health and medical issues faced by students and educators, the already existing problems of time management and declining student performance continue to be an obstacle. Read more here: https://bit.ly/370EfJh
2. Become an adaptive teacher
As we all know, adaptability is now the name of the game. Many of us have had to make significant adaptations in our courses. If, like me, you are feeling close to your adaptive capacity, take a deep breath and read this article for some practical tips and resources to help you keep up in our current environment. No need to be a tech-pro, all that is required is a willingness to learn and grow as an expert in your pedagogical approach. Read more here: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/philosophy-of-teaching/embracing-change-without-breaking-stride-seven-strategies-to-be-an-adaptive-instructor/
3. Encourage student engagement via synchronous tools
Are you looking for practical tips to engage your students in synchronous class sessions via tools such as Zoom? Check out this piece to help you think through how to build accountability into your courses right from the start! Read more here: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/encouraging-student-engagement-during-synchronous-meetings-preventing-midterm-drop-off/
4. Help students engage, persist, and succeed
Are you looking for strategies to motivate students to maintain attention in your online classes? Do you want to help them persist but are unsure how to forge a connection with them? A “revise and resubmit” policy sustains student motivation. Students are demotivated by failure where they cannot see a path to success. If they know that they have an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and fix their errors will not be demotivated by their failures. Read more here: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/emotions-in-online-teaching-a-powerful-tool-for-helping-online-students-engage-persist-and-succeed/
5. Be an inclusive educator
Are you unsure about where to start on your journey to become a more inclusive educator? There are many factors to consider and be aware of. Here you can start to delve into some practical considerations to help you hit the ground running as you design your courses and ensure inclusivity and accessibility for all students. Read more here: https://www.scholarlyteacher.com/post/on-becoming-a-more-inclusive-educator
6. Create connection and community
Create opportunities for authentic human connection that meaningfully foster interest and engagement. Community is a cornerstone of strong pedagogy is one of the most effective ways to deepen learning, and teaching during the pandemic has meant harnessing the power of community to facilitate deep learning. A feeling of belonging can mitigate fears and counter the sense of isolation, and is also correlated with an enhanced level of engagement. Read more here: https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/creating-magic-in-your-online-classroom/
7. Facilitate opportunities for group work
We know from experience that collaborative work opportunities are highly valuable. Did you manage to try group-work in the fall of 2020 and it just didn’t quite work out the way you wanted it to? Or, did you scrap your group-work plans completely because these seemed simply unfeasible? There are a multitude of helpful tips and tricks to manage online course collaborations. Read more here: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/10/28/advice-how-successfully-guide-students-group-work-online-opinion
8. Provide ongoing support students in times of uncertainty
The uncertainty and anxiety surrounding the pandemic seep into our classrooms in many ways. Some of these ways we can readily identify. Many though, lurk beneath the surface, and without intentionality and careful consideration will go unnoticed. Here are a set of strategies to help you think through ways to support your students as they grapple with the uncertainty of our times, and for you to better understand the myriad ways that anxiety and confusion may be affecting students’ learning. Read more here: https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2020/03/17/10-strategies-support-students-and-help-them-learn-during-coronavirus-crisis
Now let’s go ahead and lock in your learning!
- Your central focus is to meet each of your students where they are.As educators, we need to focus on providing value for students rather than catering to our own preferences. We have to anticipate their needs before problems arise, not wait for complaints and then find a way to respond. Yet, meeting each student where they are does not mean that is where we stay.
- What this means is working alongside each student as they try, fail, and try again on their path to excellence. It’s about getting down into the trenches and understanding what drives them. Help them make the connection between their goals and how your teaching approach can meet those objectives.
Bloomberg, L. D. (2021). Designing and Delivering Effective Online Instruction: How to Engage Adult Learners. Teachers College Press, Columbia University.
This publication has been nominated for the 2021 Division of Distance Learning (DDL) for the Association of Educational Communications and Technology (AECT), one of the premier international organizations for instructional design and ed-tech.
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