By Dr Anne Markey, DCU Connected Online Literature Tutor
As a Literature tutor with DCU Connected, I am used to teaching online, but know that my online classes are never as dynamic as the face-to-face ones. I signed up for the course to up my game and believe the course will help me to do that in at least two significant ways.
The first is the way that the organisers modelled strategies for teaching online that I can adapt to my own practice. In the live session, they ran a poll to check that everyone understood the task before allocating us to breakout groups. This proved very effective and it is something I will do in future. They also intervened strategically in forum discussions, replying particularly to posts on the various scenarios that had not attracted responses from other participants. This happened with one of my posts and it made me feel that my contribution was valued and worthwhile. They also summarised forum discussions, which was very useful. Both of these interventions kept the debates going when they might otherwise have just ground to a halt.
The second is the advice given to break the online class into time sections with different kinds of activities,rather than just using a powerpoint presentation for the entire session. I can see that this type of planning, particularly if the activities are aligned with specific learning outcomes, would be extremely useful in increasing student engagement and tutor satisfaction. I do this all the time for face-to-face tutorials but for some reason had never thought of it when preparing online classes. Sometimes pointing out the obvious is itself a useful strategy!
Overall, participating in Open Teach was a very rewarding experience for me and hopefully going forward it will prove equally valuable for my students.