The article appeared in India Today on December 1, 2020.

https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/featurephilia/story/5-innovative-ways-of-teaching-online-to-engage-students-better-1745707-2020-12-01

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a lot of unprecedented changes in the world. Many educational institutions, including students and teachers had to adapt to remote learning which posed many challenges, especially for the teachers, who have been striving to provide quality education without compromising the process and techniques of teaching.

Online teaching requires teachers to understand various aspects of the technology ecosystem and unlike the classroom, online teaching may prove ineffective for a teacher to gauge the learning levels of students.

It is also difficult for teachers to give attention to every single student, but technology can surely help them achieve this objective. Apart from conducting classroom sessions online, which was phase one and seemed very temporary for teachers, they also have the responsibility to develop the digital format of the teaching materials.

This has been a concern since there are many teachers with limited skills in advanced technology that will allow them to develop the content in a short duration for every session.

To address these challenges, here are 5 innovative ways of teaching online that will help teachers engage students better:

1. Set an ethical learning process through well planned virtual sessions

It is important that the teachers set a blueprint for the students to ensure the sessions are conducted seamlessly. Teachers should aim towards planning in advance so that the pace of teaching is aligned to the syllabus that needs to be covered within a set timeframe.

This structured approach includes setting an agenda for the session, ensuring the students know the prerequisite including the lessons that will be covered during the session, revision that needs to be done before the session, assignments or tests that need to be scheduled and fixing the timing of the class so that the session runs without any delay or hindrance.

This will enable teachers to monitor and ensure they bring in ethics and discipline into the learning sessions to promote the concept of academic honesty.

2. Encourage self-regulated learning

It is important that teachers involve students in classroom discussions and help them become self-regulated learners.

Self-regulated learning ensures that the students are proactive in their learning approach, which is essential in both offline and online classroom environment, to think positively and empower them in developing lifelong learning skills.

3. Learn to manage online platforms seamlessly

Online teaching requires teachers to understand various aspects of the technology ecosystem such as synchronous teaching, using the internet, plug in devices and the requisite skill set that can help them expedite their tasks.

Teachers also need to be conversant with tools to conduct online quizzes, tests and evaluate assignments. It is also important for teachers to know how technology can be integrated for different subjects based on the requirements when it comes to varying subjects such as math, arts, sports and science.

4. Understand the importance of diagnostic assessment

In the current Covid-19 scenario, it has become even more crucial for teachers to invest responsibly in identifying the learning gaps of students through diagnostic assessments and intervening with remediation plans.

Assessing students’ learning is critical to ensure that online teaching is as effective as classroom teaching. Diagnostic assessments reduce the need to re-teach the concepts taught online when the school reopens.

5. Promote collaborative learning

In a physical classroom setting, the students usually interact with each other through group activities and class discussions. It is important that the collaborative learning process is encouraged even in the virtual setting, which happens in the physical classroom.

Teachers can promote teamwork by allotting time for students to collaborate within groups, where they can discuss their assignments and interact with each other virtually.

With the increased adoption of online learning, the responsibility of learning lies with both teachers and students, equally. Adopting innovative techniques in online teaching and seamlessly integrating technology into the teaching process will enable the successful delivery of online classroom sessions.