By Dr Anne Morrisey, Associate Professor, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, DCU.
Thanks to taking the OpenTeach course, I was introduced to new ways of teaching online that I may not otherwise have known about. The timing of the course was excellent as there are three weeks of semester left when the course began, so there was still time to incorporate the new skills and techniques introduced on the OpenTeach course into my own teaching, which had to move from face to face to online overnight. Specifically, in addition to using a set of power point slides, with inbuilt exercises and videos which I would have used in the face to face class, I decided to use the Poll and Annotate tools on Zoom to encourage participation in class.
Without the knowledge of these tools, I would have only used the chat facility on Zoom, as I have done in the past, but this was only moderately successful in getting students to participate. In the face to face classes of the past, I would have asked for students to speak out in class, which didn’t always work satisfactorily either, particularly in a large first year class. However, I was surprised to see that more students participated in the online exercises when I used the Annotate and Poll tools in Zoom than would have in completing the same exercises in a face to face class. This is possibly due to the anonymity of the online Annotate and Poll tools but it could also be that some students prefer the online environment to the face to face equivalent. Going forward, even when face to face delivery of lectures is resumed on campus, I will seriously consider giving some classes on line and possibly recording them, as this gives the student a different learning experience, which some of them might actually prefer.