If your weeks are anything like mine lately, you are having trouble keeping track of which day is which and when you needed to send that email by. My goodness, if I didn’t have my Outlook calendar telling which Zoom room I needed to be in when it is anybody’s guess where I would end up! So how can we help students stay on top of their week-to-week tasks in this weird online world we find ourselves in?
1. Regular announcements
Keeping in contact and connecting regularly with students is a great way to let them know you are there and to regularly check-in with weekly expectations. Try having a weekly short announcement outlining important events (tutorials, workshops or assessment due dates) and where they should be up to in the Canvas site (e.g., “you should have completed module 2 by now and be using that to help inform your first assessment.”). Consider also adding a short video to the announcement rather than typing it out to build a little more connection and teacher presence while teaching remotely.
2. A clear subject schedule
Provide a clear snapshot of the session schedule in your ‘Get Started’ module using our template. This is a great opportunity to show delivery mode (is it a self-paced online week, or a Zoom lecture and tutorial?), give an overview of the topic and assessment due dates. You can also link to modules and pages within the Canvas Course from here to provide students with a shortcut to content.
3. Module overviews
To provide a more detailed plan for students add one of our module overview and pacing schedule templates to the beginning of your module. These pages outline the objectives for the module as well as learning activities to give students an idea of how much time they will need to put aside to complete the module.
Really, all of these suggestions come down to clear communication to students of what they need to do and by when. My advice is to keep it simple with clear dot points outlining expected tasks and an estimated time to complete. Letting students know this upfront allows them to better plan their time and to hopefully stick to the class timeline. This can especially help while we are learning and teaching remotely and may even be a habit you keep when we move back to blended learning and seeing each other on-campus again!