Editor’s note: Visit the official WesternCOVID-19 website for the latest campus updates.
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With Western courses going online this week, eLearning experts offered the following advice to faculty and students looking to make the most of this unprecedented moment.
- Simplicity and clarity are key. A two-hour lecture may become a 10-minute recorded video lecture and a 10-slide PowerPoint of essential points. “It’s important to identify that this isn’t a typical online learning scenario,” explained Aisha Haque, Acting Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning. “Rather, we’re rapidly making the transition online with very little time to prepare. Simplicity and communication are the key ingredients to supporting the student transition to online learning and completing the term.”
- Communicate with students. Tell them how to contact you and what your expected response times are. Communicate the changing course expectations, and let them know you are there for them.
- Asynchronous learning. Recording and posting lectures rather than hosting live sessions is usually best.
- Don’t blow it up. Don’t feel you need to redesign the course with an entirely new suite of tools. “Pick one or two methods you’re most comfortable with and stick with that,” said Devan Vanden Boomen, Acting Manager ofeLearning and Information Services in the Faculty of Education.
- Give a hoot. Consider OWL a crucial communication tool and a place to store information students can use.
Faculty members can gain access to resources through the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
- Patience is a virtue. The key is to be as patient as possible and know that there are countless resources working behind the scenes to get this up and running.
- A space to yourself. Dedicate a quiet space at home for you to do your work.
- Time on your side. Set aside chunks of time to focus on courses, rather than trying to multi-task schoolwork with loads of laundry, meal preparation or social media.
- Communication and community. Stay in touch virtually with fellow students.
- Communicate with instructors. Don’t be afraid to connect with instructors/professors to clarify expectations and get answers to academic issues.
Students needing support for their online courses can connect with their instructors, their individual faculty and, more generally, with Student Experience.