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Rethinking Orientation: Reflections on Online Teaching, Part 4

As we’ve discussed in my previous reflections, online teaching and learning can be not only good but in some cases better than the teaching and learning that takes place in a classroom. So how can we convince more stakeholders of the value of distance learning? How can we lead our students and learners to more of a growth mindset?

We can start by creating an orientation to this new space, just as we do orientation on the first days of a school in a face-to-face environment. The first sessions of such a class should be devoted to explaining what the students will learn – and how they will learn it.

Take time to show students where they can find resources they need. For example, where should they look if they need to review lesson materials? Where can they find instructions for assignments? It’s also a good idea to devote time in class for students (and if necessary, their parents) to try out technological resources so they become familiar with them and have an opportunity to experiment before they need to use the tech for specific assignments.

The organization of an online course is frequently different than a course delivered face to face. Therefore, it’s important to take some time not only explain these differences.

These steps will go a long way in helping new students become more comfortable and confident in an online environment. But how do we build community online? We’ll explore that in my next post on online teaching and learning.

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