11 Tips for Managing the Digital Classroom During COVID-19
With faculty members worldwide proactively seeking out innovative ways of setting students up for success and ensuring academic continuity through the shift to online learning, we sought the advice of our faculty members on live lecture strategies after a month of first-hand experience.
With the evolving COVID-19 situation, different educational institutions are either preparing to shift learning online or have already started virtual learning. With online education taking the lead as the new paradigm in learning, many professors are navigating the sudden shift in learning style with concern, worried about the loss of access to in-person instruction.
To help ease the transition for other faculty members, we asked our expert faculty members from the AUC School of Business community, who shifted to virtual learning in March, what advice they have to offer to their colleagues who are embarking on online instruction for the first time and what can help them thrive in an online classroom. Here are the 11 tips they provided:
1. Be Present and Supportive
“Address and cope with COVID-19-related anxiety and stress that students are feeling in this difficult time; their mental health is a prerequisite to their ability to digest knowledge. Additionally, consider the technological tools as a means to an end, not an end in itself. What counts is not which tools to use, but how to use those tools to achieve the learning objectives and engage students”- Amr Kais, professor of practice.
2. Explore Your Tech
“Familiarize yourself with your meeting tool’s various interactive tools, such as real-time co-annotation, digital whiteboarding, one-click content sharing, video breakout rooms, closed captioning, and more, to ensure effective communication” -Ahmed Tolba, associate provost for strategic enrollment management and associate professor of marketing.
3. Communicate Regularly Yet Chunk Your Communication
“Take the process as a learning experience. Always listen to students’ feedback and adjust accordingly. Most importantly, don’t bombard students, even if it’s out of good intention; it stresses them. Similarly, if you choose to upload recorded lectures instead of holding live classes, be concise. When lectures are long and frequent, students become uninterested and don’t listen actively”- Nahed Azab, assistant professor of management information systems.
4. Create A Clear and Simple Path
“Give clear directions to your students and always exhibit transparency and empathy in teaching”- Randa El Bedawy, associate professor of management.
5. Soften the Ground
“Be patient with students, they’re facing severe pressure and for many, the online experience is a first for them”- Wael Abdallah, assistant professor of finance.
6. Track Your Time
“Manage your time wisely. In addition to the heavy task of digitizing your teaching, the process is time-consuming, so be prepared!” -Tarek Selim, professor of business economics and strategy.
7. Plan Your Classes and Master Technology
“Prepare a communication plan and test it in advance. Furthermore, utilize synchronous e-learning tools that make the experience as real-time as possible”-Ashraf Sheta, assistant professor for entrepreneurship and strategy.
8. Lead Online Learning
“Zoom’s “raise hand” function is crucial to have students speak in order. This function helps any teacher calmly moderate the discussion in an orderly fashion without people speaking over each other. You just need to have the box of participants list on your screen at all times to be able to use it”- Nagla Rizk, professor of economics and founding director of the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D)
9. Ensure You’ve Gotten Adequate Training
“The online instruction process takes training and getting used to. But remember, it’s the future and there’s no going back. Education as we know it has changed forever; there’s no other way but forward, so we need to adapt well to the new natural”-Khaled Dahawy, professor of accounting and chair of the department of accounting.
10. Be A Learner and Develop A Routine
“Feel self-assured in your role as an educator, online or otherwise, and do enough research on pedagogy be able to confidently deliver your course. As educators, we should always be learning and re-learning. Listen to others, take advice where available and relevant for you, stretch a lot since online instruction can be a physical strain, take short breaks, have a happy distraction, develop your own creative pedagogies, read and reflect plenty, and then carve out your own path”- Nellie El Enany, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, international business, and human capital.
11. Focus on Active Learning and Motivate Your Students
“Keep it as simple as possible, remember that any online platform is just a facilitating tool, don’t let it distract you from what you do best (teach). With physical face-to-face interaction gone and student anxiety naturally increasing, students need faculty support more than ever, this is the time to be a compassionate educator”- Ahmed Abdel-Meguid, associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration and associate professor of accounting.