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This course will help you ‘up’ your game and develop the advanced level skills and techniques that elude even some of the most experienced virtual teachers. We will examine the pitfalls beginning teachers run into and learn how to overcome them by focusing on the fundamentals that have the greatest impact on student learning in a blended or online environment. Throughout the course, you will be challenged to assess your own skills and apply what you are learning by creating a guide, assignment, or resource that you will be able to use in a class that you teach or hope to teach someday soon. By the end of the course, you will not only have a better understanding of the basics, you will be able to put them together like a pro and empower your future students to be voracious learners who are ready to go out and make the world a better place to live.
Upon completing this course, you will be able to:
1. Meet your students' needs and craft a better virtual learning experience for them
2. Set up the learning environment so you get to know your students and they get to know each other
3. Personalize learning by providing feedback using a variety of online tools
5. Identify at-risk students and employ effective strategies for teaching them
6. Compare and contrast online and face-to-face learning communities
7. Apply strategies to make virtual courses more human
Week 1: Handling Direct Instruction
Welcome! This week you will begin by familiarizing yourself with the course. Then, we'll examine the role direct instruction plays in a virtual course. I will clarify what I mean by direct instruction and we will look at ways teachers can use some of the latest video/multimedia tools to 'up' student engagement. By the end of this module, you should have a good idea how you can use technology to meet your students needs and craft a better virtual learning experience for them.
Week 2: Passing with Communication and Building Relationships
Welcome to Week 2! In this module, we will focus on what we do as virtual teachers to establish clear and open lines of communication and how we use that to build relationships with our students. In some ways, it’s no different than a traditional face-to-face teacher, but there are also some significant differences. We will look at how to set up the learning environment so you get to know your students, they get to know each other, and everyone has a clear understanding of what's expected of them and the role they play in your course. We will also examine how technology enables us to personalize learning by providing feedback using a variety of online tools.
Week 3: Swishing Assignments and Assessments
Our goal as teachers is to get our students to take a shot and improve their techniques, so that over time we see their "shooting percentage" go up! In order to do this, we must design assignments and assessments that engage our students and challenge them to think deeper and go further than they have done before. Our focus for this third module is to rethink assignments and assessments. We will explore what motivates students to perform and learn how to implement some powerful instructional strategies using free tools that can be used in nearly any virtual class. By the end of this module, you will have at least two "go to" techniques that will have the virtual nets in your classes swishing with artifacts of meaningful learning. You will also have the opportunity to submit your assignment and evaluate three of your classmates' work.
Week 4: Rebounding for At-Risk and Underperforming Students
Your course is underway, the discussion boards are buzzing with activity and your students are working diligently to produce some exceptional work. Watch out! If you are not actively searching for students hanging out on the sidelines or hiding under the bleachers, you may be forfeiting the greatest joy of your career. This week is going to be a little different. We are going to turn our focus to the students who are often lost, ignored, or troubled. We will define who an at-risk student is, examine some effective strategies for teaching students who are at-risk and we will hear from some educators who know how to help them rebound and score.
Week 5: Your Best Defense is a Good Community
Welcome to our final week of class. We will finish our course by going back to one of the basics: Community. How can a virtual teacher build an inclusive and thriving community with their students, parents and other teachers and why is that vital to a successful online learning environment? We will compare the differences and similarities of an online class community and a face-to-face one and focus on strategies to make our virtual courses more human. Enjoy your week and thank you for learning with us!