Strategies

This page keeps things simple by offering you a variety of equivalent online learning and teaching strategies for almost every type of face to face teaching opportunity. To use the online tools you need to go to Step 3: Resources and Support where you will find many electronic guides and videos which step you through learning and becoming familiar with each tool.

  • General strategies for online learning and teaching

    1. Plan your communication with your students: Provide frequent updates and set expectations about how you will interact and communicate with one another. Explain to students how they should contact you (email or through the LMS; set your office hours), how often they should log in to the course site, which activities are synchronous and asynchronous, and any guidelines for communicating with peers (e.g., be professional at all times).
    2. Be visible: Post something into a Discussion board every time you log into your course
    3. Explain what students should do each week: Set learning outcomes for the week, focus and activities. If students need to log on for a synchronous session, let them know how and when.
    4. Be selective in building resources: Start with 5-10 minute lectures or podcasts (e.g., audio file) on the most important points of the topic.
    5. Create a sense of community: Encourage students to introduce themselves to the rest of the group either in a Discussion Forum or in a Collaborate or Zoom session.
    6. Establish patterns: Think, plan and design one week in Blackboard and replicate the structure.
    7. Consider how the learning materials will help students achieve the weekly learning outcomes. Make the materials and activities meaningful and relevant to them.
    8. Find ways for students to share their learnings: Discussions that would have been held in class can be held online, via Discussion Boards or in a live Collaborate or Zoom session.
  • Lectures online

    1. Consider the best type of delivery for lectures: Choose between synchronous delivery and asynchronous
      • Synchronous lectures: All students can hear, see, and or interact with each other at the same time online. This would be most similar to a live, in-person class experience. Use Blackboard Collaborate (using either computer or smartphone) or Zoom.
      • Asynchronous lectures: Learning takes place at different times and places for every student. You need to provide learning materials ahead of time and supplement it with additional engagement opportunities (e.g. discussion boards). Tell students what they should be thinking about when listening/watching/reading a resource.
    2. Create short pre-recorded videos/podcats: Think ‘the flipped classroom approach’. Don’t video an entire 45 minute lecture; it’s too long and students will lose attention. Instead aim for between 5 to 15 minutes and keep it succinct. For a video use: Collaborate, narrated PowerPoint, your smartphone. For a Podcast use your computer or smartphone.
    3. Provide lecture notes: These will be another resource students can return to when revising their learning. Make these easy to read, i.e. use Universal Design Principles: Don’t include lots of extraneous images that impact on cognitive load, and make the font and colour simple and easy to read. Convert these to a PDF so it is easy for students to download.
    4. Consider supplementing with Blackboard activities: Discussions, reflective journals or low-stakes (low marks) Blackboard tests.
  • Tutorials/workshops/seminars

    1. Live (synchronous) tutorial sessions: Collaborate (best for sessions of up to 40 students) or Zoom. You need to keep an eye on the ‘chat’ as you go so that you can answer student questions.
    2. Assign learning materials e.g. readings/videos: You need to provide learning materials ahead of time and supplement them with additional engagement opportunities (e.g. discussion boards). Tell students what they should be thinking about when listening/watching/reading a resource.
    3. Consider self-guided Blackboard activities: By assigning learning materials students can demonstrate their own private learning and/or engage with each other using tools such as Discussion Boards, Reflective Journals, Blogs. For example, students can respond to a provocation based on the learning material, answer questions, or identify 3 to 5 questions to ask each other. You can also gauge their knowledge using Blackboard tests, or simply by reading their responses.
    4. Consider course compression: Makeup intensives after crisis has passed (e.g., 3 tutorials in 1 day).
  • Lab activities

    1. Consider theory first: Students can learn theory by watching instructional videos and practice some skills at home. Think about recording your own demonstration using a narrated PowerPoint, Collaborate or your phone. You can also consider purchasing some online content from one of the publishers that have a range of instructional videos.
    2. Investigate online simulation platforms: PHET (University of Colorado Boulder) provides simulations for sciences and maths at University level. Ask students to reflect on the activities in the simulation.
    3. Consider application: Makeup intensives after crisis has passed (e.g., 3 tutorials in 1 day)
  • Professional experience or work integrated learning*

    1. Consider reflection: Students could consider the current situation of having to work remotely and provide potential solutions
    2. Professional experience:  Could this be offered as supplementary course offered after the crisis has passed
  • Assessment using Blackboard

    Essay, report, literature review, research paper, case analysis, thesis: Use Turnitin. Students must submit a Word or converted (not scanned) PDF file.

    • Set up Turnitin to allow multiple submissions before due date to educate students about Academic Integrity
    • Use Notre Dame Academic Integrity Rubric in selected courses to encourage the development of academic literacies

    Reflection, learning journal, discussion participation, portfolio: Use Journals, Blogs, Discussion Boards

    • Use Journals to keep reflective writing private between the student and the teacher
    • Use Blogs if you would like other students to read and comment
    • Set Discussion Board which require students to post their own contribution before they can see the work of others
    • Allocate a small grade to encourage student participation, but consider how this might impact on your marking load e.g. ask students to submit their best three entries at the end of the semester
    • If using a Blackboard tool, you can mark online in Blackboard

    Video Assessment: Use Discussion, Journal, Blog, Blackboard assignment

    • Individual or group work
    • Could be used for many types of assessment, including presentations, reports, creative performance, demonstrations, peer assessment, performance tasks
    • Students generally already know how to create and upload video.

    Peer Assessment: Use discussions or blogs

    • Clear requirements must be in place (e.g., the students are required to post their own work by set time and then comment on the work of so many of their peers by set time)
    • Assign at least one peer for a compulsory comment to ensure that every student gets at least one peer review

    Presentation: Use Collaborate, Zoom or Discussion Boards

    • Individual or group work
    • Live online event via Collaborate or Zoom
    • Recording posted into a Discussion Board for comments

    Group project: use Blackboard assignment or Turnitin

    • Use self-enrolling student groups with fixed member numbers
    • Offer Group tools to work on a project, incl. recordable Group Collaborate for live meetings
    • Use Blackboard assignment so that there is only one submission per group; it automatically distributes mark/feedback to all group members if marked in the Grade Centre
    • Use Turnitin if checking for text similarities is a priority (Word or PDF files)
    1. Exams: Use Tests in Blackboard
      • Formative or summative
      • Sequenced so that students must achieve a set result to see further materials
      • Available question types include multiple choice, fill in the blank, fill in multiple blanks, ordering, matching, hot spot, short essay questions: all types could be used in the same test
      • Could be written in Excel and loaded into Blackboard
      • Question pools can be used to generate unique personalised test for each student
    2. Closed book exam*: Use Blackboard tests (with randomised, timed questions) in conjunction with Zoom for proctoring.
      • ACODE suggestion is for classes of up to 16 per staff member, or up to 30 at one time if multiple staff were watching
      • Use the audio capability of students’ smart phones in relation to assessment, e.g., students could be asked to respond to long form answers via audio or video recording that could then be submitted through Blackboard
    3. Open book exam*: Use Blackboard tests with randomised and tightly timed questions
      • Introducing question pools will be helpful in limiting potential referrals to peers
      • If scenarios or case studies are used, consider offering multiple options
  • Alternative to online exams*

    1. Exam replacement: If this is a viable option: break high-stakes exam into a number of alternate assessment meeting the same learning outcomes (e.g., 60% exam these could become 3 assessments of 20% each run over a number of weeks).
    2. No suitable replacement options: consider the possible deferment of assessment. This should only be necessary in a minority of cases.

*Based on Australasian Council on Open, Distance and e-learning (ACODE 81 recommendations)