Learning is designed,  Learning is supported

Moving to online teaching in lockdown 5.0

So here we are again, needing to quickly move our teaching online. Perhaps this isn’t how you foresaw your T2; but if the past 18 months have taught me anything, it is to hold onto my plans lightly.

Perhaps you’re new to emergency online teaching and are a little nervous. Or perhaps you’re a bit of a veteran, and wondering how you might do a little bit more this time around. 

Whatever your situation, Learning Innovations has developed a number of resources that I’ll detail in this article, that you can access at your leisure. There are quite a few, so I’ll explain their purpose so you can judge whether they’re right for you before making the jump.

Teaching with Zoom

Firstly, we’ve made the jump to using Zoom as our preferred platform for online teaching from T2, and it has been integrated into CloudDeakin. This was piloted in T1, and it worked really well. 

If you’re new to teaching online, we recommend you give yourself time to adjust. While there are many tools that can help with teaching online, perhaps for your first few times, only focus on the tools Zoom offers. You can integrate other tools as you become more confident. Some Zoom resources:

  • Zoom basics – These cover foundational concepts like how to sign in, how to set up a meeting (using your own account), how to create a poll 
  • Zoom 101 for teaching workshop (52 min) – a recording of our workshop, exploring how you can use Zoom to support your teaching, covering concepts such as using the whiteboard and polling tolls
  • Request to set up Zoom sessions in your unit site – this is done only via a ServiceNow form. Learning Innovation’s old email is no longer being monitored
  • Other Zoom resources – and there are also more specific resources, including a PDF for your students, specific videos for scheduling and recording a session, and more

Advanced online teaching

As you become more confident with online teaching, you may want to explore other tools to help integrate active learning into your classes and seminars. We explore this in our Designing and delivering synchronous cloud seminars workshop (1hr 22 min). Here is the slide deck, where we suggest a lot of activities that you could integrate into your own classes and seminars. Some tools that you could use to support your online teaching:

  • Google Jamboard – a free whiteboard tool that you can easily share and collaborate with students. It is great for brainstorming and unpacking. We explored some options in the workshop
  • Google Docs – (also free) we show how this can be used to anchor a breakout room activity in the workshop
  • Mentimeter – Deakin has an institutional license (make sure you log in via the SSO option; which is just below the log-in button). Mentimeter is great for getting to know your students, knowledge checks, and beginning active learning activities
  • Padlet – a free collaboration tool, where you can ask students to brainstorm or collaborate on pre-set questions. The example linked shares some week 1 activities

Teaching online can be just as rewarding as teaching in face-to-face environments, but it does bring its own challenges, some key things for you to remember:

  • Turn your camera on at the beginning of the session, and if possible, keep it on. This helps your students feel like they’re connected. If your working-from-home space is sub-optimal, use Zoom’s virtual background option
  • Be kind to yourself, and your students. Lockdowns are stressful for everyone, and you don’t know what your students might be struggling with already
  • If something goes wrong with your connection – don’t panic. 
    • Explain this is the reality of online meetings in 2021
    • Turn off your video temporarily, and make sure your devices aren’t downloading any large files
  • And if your pets jump up on your desk during your teaching, introduce them. Students love it!

Hopefully, we’ll be back to on-campus teaching before long, but until then, best of luck with your teaching!