7 Tips for Teaching Online

There are two categories of online teaching: 1) Live 2) Recorded. These tips are applicable to both; however, some will be more peculiar to one of the categories.

The traditional classroom approach has its ups and downs, the same applies to online approach.

Teaching is both a science and an art. It is pertinent that any teacher who wants to make any impact whatsoever, must make deliberate efforts to understand the two sides of the coin.

The scientific part of teaching deals with the systemic and/or methodical way of dispensing knowledge such that the student is not overfed or underfed. This systemic approach caters for levels, semesters, etc., while the methodical approach caters for the delivery of the content mapped out in the syllabuses.

The artistic part of teaching deals with the methods employed by the teacher to dispense this knowledge in a way that the students can grasp, making use of all ethical methodologies at his/her disposal. No two teachers teach the same way, even if they have to teach the same course. This distinguishing factor is governed by the artistic side of teaching.

Having understood the two sides of the teaching coin, these tips for teaching online helps to improve the results of online teaching.

1. Always have an idea of the persona of your students

The importance of this cannot be overemphasised. Knowing your audience persona helps you to use the right language, take the right posture and controls your vocabulary. The approach of a teacher to teach an under-specialised, a specialised and a mixed class should be different. For an under-specialised class, theories should be explained with lesser professional jargons and more examples. For a specialised class, professional jargons could pass coupled with befitting examples. However, for a mixed class, the rule is to always keep it simple, yet not over condescending, so that professionals are not lost. Knowing your audience persona guides your mental and actual preparation for the lecture.

2. Prepare your notes at least a week before

There is a saying that goes thus: ‘proper preparation prevents poor performance’. This is very true especially for online tutoring. In performers, the people who suffer the most stage frights are the underprepared. It is therefore important that your notes be prepared one week to the time of your presentation or lecture. This gives you ample time to internalise your notes, mentally and physically allocate time slots to sections and it also affords you time to revise and prepare teaching aids if needed.

3. Look smart and dress comfortably

Appearance should not be taken lightly. A teacher is as an individual is a leader as well as a leadership position and therefore must look the part. A smart outfit that is comfortable should be worn. Uncomfortable clothing could be very distracting and could lead to a poor performance.

4. Always look directly into the camera

Looking directly into the camera will make your eyes locked with that of the online students creating a one-on-one connection. Peradventure a separate device has your notes, ensure that device – TV, laptop, prompter etc., is positioned close to the camera so that your gaze is not unlocked from your audience, except if you are using a board to illustrate your points

5. Use gesticulations

It is important to make it a conversation between you and your audience. Gesticulations helps with this. With your eyes affixed on the camera, make body movements that elicits response from your audience. This makes the experience more personal for your audience adding more credence to the one-on-one feeling.

6. Avoid verboseness

Especially in introductions, ensure your words are as few as possible. Too much words could be a put off. Every point in your notes should be explained with as much needed words. Rather than vain repetitions, ensure you make time allocation for a summary. For a live class, you could make your notes or the recording available. This gives the students a reference.

7. Setup and test at least an hour before presentation

This applies more to live classes. To avoid technical hitches, it is important that you setup and test-run your broadcast at the very least, an hour before. This always help to prevent hiccups that could occur. Live broadcasts are time-bound hence the earlier hitches are discovered and corrected, the better.