Explore using OER for accessible content that is already available
- Content creation can be time-consuming, especially if you are teaching a course online for the first time. Explore what is available via OER:
- UMW Libraries-Open Educational Resources (OER)-Find Resources
- UMW OER website (be sure to check out how to find more than textbooks!)
Use slide decks to teach, not to tell
- PowerPoint, Google Slides—slide decks are a standard tool for many instructors. Here are recommendations for effective design:
- 1 idea per slide. This may mean your deck is longer than usual!
- Experts recommend using as few as 10 words per slide. If there is too much information on a slide, your students will stop listening to you and race through reading (and copying down) everything on the slide.
- Only use visuals that reinforce and align with the key idea. Avoid distracting slide deck extras (transitions, animation, etc.).
- Periodically pause during a slide deck presentation. Ask students to respond to a question or write a summary of key ideas. When they move ahead, the next segment can share answers or connecting thoughts.
- Encourage students to take notes during a slide deck presentation. Provide the notes handout for your slide deck (slides plus space for note-taking) or offer a guided note template. This Cult of Pedagogy blog post offers research and examples reinforcing the power of note-taking for students of all ages.
Use screencasts and recordings to support direct instruction
- Screencasts allow asynchronous access to core course instruction. Great ways to use screencasts include:
- Direct content instruction
- Class-wide overviews or feedback on an assignment or activity
- Exam reviews—Give an overview of the exam format, provide some practice questions, and students bring responses to a synchronous review session
- While you do not need to produce a scripted screencast–perfection is not the goal–you do want to be prepared. This planning template designed by Katie Linder (The Blended Course Design Workbook) helps outline your screencast and the supporting activities.
- Screencasts dramatically improve with a few attention to production details:
- Keep screencasts to under 15 minutes (10 minutes if you can manage it!). Break longer presentations into smaller chapters.
- Caption, caption, caption!
- Use a microphone—your smartphone earbuds are more than adequate. The most important feature of an effective screencast is the audio.
- If recording yourself, work in a well-lit space, preferably with lots of natural light. Recording with a window behind you makes you look like a scary shadow in a horror movie.
- Balance showing your personal side with your professional presence and privacy.
- Open your screencast with a greeting and establish its relevance (e.g. “This video will help you…”). Likewise, end a screencast with a short summary and next steps–don’t just cut off the recording!