Class time is what we’re accustomed to and enjoy, but it’s gone from being the most to the least important part of teaching. However, class time is still an important teaching tool. Here are seven tips to make them effective:
Flipped Classroom approach for Math, Sciences and Languages.
At Northridge, we’ve prioritized remote class time (via Zoom) for Humanities classes (Literature, History, Religion), and office hours for Math, Science and Languages, because the flipped classroom approach works well for the later subjects. See our schedule here.
Avoid lecturing if at all possible.
Even motivated students struggle to pay attention or take notes when watching a screen. We all struggle with this. Straight lecturing will be ineffective.
Use class time for synthesis, not delivery of facts.
All the facts should be learned ahead of time. Consider having students read the book AND your lecture notes in advance, and start class with a quiz to motivate this.
Surprise them and make it interactive.
Now, more than ever, students have to want to attend, even if attendance is still mandatory. Come up with fun online competitions and interactive quizzes. One or two of these options, each class, will really help:
- Zoom polling is good
- Mentimeter is an even better class interaction tool (free accounts offered)
- A short surprise of a funny youtube video (4 mins or less)
- A guest lecture – you can get them from all over the world!
- Pop Quizzes
- At the start of class, tell them they’ll have a short quiz at the end of class
- How to get them working? Have them turn essays (or notes, or anything) in to turnitin.com during class (this also serves as your attendance taker)
- Breakout rooms (assuming you use Zoom) are really effective. Students love the peer interaction that they’re craving right now.
Give frequent breaks.
Every 20 minutes is standard “screen time” best practice. You need them yourself.
Those minutes before and after class are golden.
Just catch up and chat with the guys as they log in. Ditto during breaks. Start class a few minutes late once in a while if you’re all enjoying a good conversation. These moments, and Office Hours, are really where we’ll maintain the relationships.
Double your preparation time.
Making an electronically stimulating and engaging class takes a ton of preparation. You’re putting together what is “half TV Show” and “half Quiz Show.” You’ll get more efficient over time, but plan on a lot of prep if you want to make these remote classes effective.