How to Manage Online Classrooms

Introduction

The standard methods of teaching and learning have proven inadequate during the COVID 19 pandemic. Educational institutions are shifting rapidly to online learning technologies to overcome these challenges. Educators are now being exposed to the advantages of online classrooms. Online classrooms can be expected to continue even after the pandemic ends.

Students have the flexibility to self-pace their learning and to enroll in multiple courses from the comfort of a known environment.

While the advantages are plenty, there are some challenges too, especially regarding the administration of online classes. In this article, we attempt to address a few of those challenges and try to offer feasible solutions.

Attendance Management

Educators need to ensure the regular attendance of all students and in this regard, they must strive to identify the best methods to track attendance in a comfortable manner. It is also equally important that they maintain the focus and drive of students participating in the online learning process.

Here, we discuss some methods of attendance management:

Login Details

Since most learning platforms require an email ID to sign in, the student group details will get recorded during the session and the teacher will be able to access the complete list of attendees with details once the session concludes.

Google forms

Teachers can also use google forms to record attendance. This is a form of self-reporting where students are instructed to fill in the required details, including the email ID, before the session commences. The timestamp and other details are recorded for verification.

Video Call

This may not be feasible for all classes and student groups because of bandwidth issues but remains one of the best ways to ensure attendance and engagement from all students in the group.

Impromptu Q & A sessions

This is an interesting and effective method to record attendance and simultaneously ensure participation from all the members of the student group. Teachers can pose questions about different topics through the session- the answers can be recorded as audio or text (chat). This will additionally help boost the level of engagement within the group.

Short Quizzes/Polls

During or after the session, teachers can send out a short quiz to the student group with a few questions covering the topics discussed in the online session. There are many online tools that help educators. For example, some conferencing tools have poll/survey options. Google Forms can also be used to run polls or surveys. This is an engagement mechanism but can be used to ensure attendance.

While these methods are effective, teachers and educators would greatly benefit if the institution adopts an effective learning management system. The rich analytics that will be offered will help in effortless attendance management as well as aid other aspects of online classroom management.

Assignment Management

Another challenge that teachers could encounter is related to assignments – from the initiation process to submission and evaluation. Educators could follow a set of standard guidelines to ensure a smooth, hassle-free experience for the student group. Here, we list a few:

  • The format in which assignments can be submitted depends on the online tools being used – students may:
    1. submit files including audio and video content
    2. enter responses directly on a platform
    3. answer a sequence of questions
    4. maintain an ongoing journal diary
  • Grading can be done online or offline. While objective type questions can be graded automatically by the system, audio/video/long answer submissions may have to be graded offline and the grades updated online.
  • The advantage of online learning systems is that notifications can be sent to the student group– start and end dates, deadline reminders, and status can be communicated automatically.

Learner Progress Tracker

One big change that all educators and students will find with the advent of online learning is the difference in methods of communication. In a traditional classroom setup, learners have access to teachers face-to-face; they are also able to interact with teachers outside the classroom beyond school hours to discuss lecture notes, assignments, tests etc. With online sessions rendering this impossible, the onus is on the teachers to ensure routine discussions are held with students to ensure they are updated with the curriculum, lesson plans and course flow.

Tracking the progress of students is an important responsibility for educators and administrators. Students will be motivated to engage with the learning process more when they witness their growth through effective tracking mechanisms. It also helps educators obtain valuable student data that may indicate trends that can subsequently be used to improve the teaching-learning experience.

What can be tracked by educators

Student Learning metrics

  • Pre-assessments
  • Assignment submissions
  • Quiz scores
  • End-term test scores

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