Top 10 Tips for Teaching Online
- Use a break-the-ice activity to foster camaraderie early in the semester. A scavenger hunt/quiz about the syllabus is a great way for students to familiarize themselves with the demands of the class and meet their classmates.
- Greet students personally as they enter Zoom class sessions and when calling on individuals during class.
- Organize your course website so that readings, assignments, tests, and due dates are clear.
- Be professional and precise by checking links to ensure they are functional and eliminating typos and misspellings.
- Respond to student requests promptly and always use a kind tone of voice.
- Put students into learning groups that break out during class for discussions or teamwork and for peer support outside of class.
- Consider using a variety of media to communicate with students. Instead of sending an e-mail, try a short video or audio recording.
- Make yourself available during regularly scheduled Zoom office hours as well as before and after class, if possible.
- Contact students who disappear to encourage retention.
- Tie assignments, activities, and tests to learning outcomes.
Finally, know things will go wrong. Rely on your inherent passion for your subject when technical or other difficulties appear, and be kind to yourself.
From Faculty Focus
Creating Inclusive Classrooms
Equity in learning has become a buzzword in reaction to the unequal distribution of computers and highspeed internet access among various populations. But instructors at the University of Saint Joseph and Lafayette College developed a tool to help mitigate this situation.
They created a form called Who’s in Class?that allowed students to anonymously and voluntarily provide their instructors with information about their learning situation. Topics on the form included students’ status as first-generation college attendees, access to technology, outside obligations, demographic data, and disability issues. The form also allowed students to give their instructors information about other concerns that could affect their success in the class.
After receiving the forms, instructors finetuned their courses to adapt to what they learned about their students. When they realized not all students knew about available instructional support or had prior knowledge of course content, instructors addressed the situation. They also developed classroom guidelines with the students instead of for the students. Student reactions to the form at the end of the course included almost entirely positive comments, demonstrating that students felt that everyone mattered in the class and that the instructor made an effort to get to know each individual.
Gender Stereotypes Hamper Women’s Confidence
It’s well-known that women comprise over half the workforce and complete nearly 60 percent of advanced degrees but still earn less and obtain fewer leadership roles, especially in finance and technology.
Labor economists have found that part of this problem occurs from “occupational sorting,” by which men choose careers that net higher paychecks. Now new research from Harvard suggests that women may avoid these higher-paying careers due to gender stereotyping—the notion that men are inherently better in fields such as technology, math, and science.
But lack of confidence is the real enemy. Even high-achieving women in STEM fields lack the confidence that could advance their careers, the researchers found. They suggest that to maximize performance from females in male-dominated fields, leaders should give more recognition for women’s contributions.
Still, many women in STEM fields describe rampant discrimination and hostile work environments. Simple recognition for accomplishment for actual achievements, as the research proposes, is not enough to women in these areas to succeed at the same rate as men.