3 points for teachers on transitioning to online learning 

The current pandemic forced many academic institutions to close all in-person classes and find solutions to move everything online, a process not only complicated from a technological point of view but even more so from a pedagogical perspective. A few musts for anyone transitioning to an online learning environment should be followed. 

1. Use technology as a mean to reach your learning objectives 

While extremely helpful, technology shouldn’t be the driving force of any decision related to online learning, but rather the support that moves the learners towards their goals. Technology offers the frame to create engagement, and it’s not engagement in itself. 

That being said, options to choose the right technology are abundant, either if teachers decide to go for an asynchronous approach (where students and teachers are not present online at the same time) or a synchronous one (for example online chat or videoconferencing). A mix of both approaches is recommended. 

2. Be present 

Especially during the current context, communicating often with your learners is mandatory, as the interactions that teachers have with their students have a definite influence on motivation and commitment. In the particular context of online learning, as everyone progresses in their own “space-time,” the risk of feeling isolated can increase and hinder commitment. But there are effective ways to counteract this risk and even make online learning more engaging than traditional face-to-face training  

Being present could translate into participating in discussion boards, give both summative and formative feedback, in a timely manner, encourage discussion between students, or provide clear instructions about assessments and deadlines. 

3. Promote engagement and embrace interactivity 

Teaching online doesn’t and shouldn’t follow the same pattern as its in-class counterpart. To engage students who are not physically present in front of the teacher long lectures will slowly lose their intended audience. Instead, active learning techniques and a mix of discussions, videos and hands-on exercises should be applied. 

Throughout the online presence keep in mind the previous point (2), with an emphasis on the fact that communicating with your students does not translate into a mere exchange of personal opinions. Rather, it should take the form of meaningful interactions, which involves stimulating learners’ intellectual curiosity and engaging them in instructive activities that are productive. 

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