In the coming weeks and months, many educators will face the daunting task of teaching remotely for the first time in their lives. We’re here to help.
This guide will walk you through:
- How to use the Aula platform
- Principles for teaching remotely
- Keeping students engaged
- Additional resources and support
You can also get 24/7 support from our team of online learning experts:
1. How to use the Aula Platform
🔷Platform tour: Watch this short video for a full tour of that platform and its functionalities:
🔷Platform overview: the platform is split into three main areas:
- The Feed is the beating heart of the platform where students and educators can actively engage in conversation, help each other learn through collaboration and post announcements.
- Material is where educators can share structured learning content, activities and assessments for students to work through.
- Direct messages are where students and educators can create private 1:1 or group communications.
- 1:1 support and help centre: at the bottom of each Aula page, you’ll see a ? here you can access support pages and live support from our team of online learning experts.
2. Principles for teaching remotely
🔷Keep instructions clear: Headings and titles in your materials section help students be clear on what is required of them. For example:
ACTIVITY (5 mins): Read pages 3-5 and answer the reflection Questions
DISCUSSION (20 mins): In your groups discuss and agree x
ASSESSMENT (10 mins): Complete the quiz
🔷Keep learning activities short and focussed: Short and snappy activities (3-5min) with a clear action can help avoid overwhelming students. For example, where normally you might say:
Please read this article
Read page 3-5 of this article considering:
- What are the three core arguments of the article?
- Where do you agree/ disagree with the article?
Share your ideas on the feed or with your study group.
This will not only help students complete the activities you set but that they will engage with the content meaningfully.
🔷Get students to solve real-world challenges. Problem based activities create opportunities for student-led learning; they apply existing knowledge, conduct independent research and collaborate with peers. Examples of problem-based activities:
- You are the executive team of a newly acquired company. Review the company data: what are your short, medium and long term priorities
- Using the latest sensor data, map the key concerns of local authorities in London and create a strategy for improving life in London over the next 5 years.
- The prison service has received a £1 million budget to redesign the furniture used in prison cells. Present your design ideas considering sustainability, prisoner wellbeing and safety.
See here for more guidance on designing problem-based learning activities
🔷Get your core online teaching tools in place: Getting familiar with a few online teaching tools can help you feel more confident and creative when it comes to remote teaching. Aula integrates with many tools, but a few of our favourites are:
Zoom / Whereby: Affordable/ free video conferencing tools. Easy to use for for group discussions, direct instruction or meetings
Loom: An easy tool for creating videos and screen casting
Padlet: This virtual noticeboard is great for collaboration in class or between students, click on the link to access to ideas and examples
Nearpod: Create interactive presentations and assessments, including quizzes, and polls. Currently offering free licenses.
3. Keeping students engaged
🔷Communicate regularly with your students by posting updates, content and quick formative assessments on the feed. Creating routines and office hours will help students find new working habits and understand your expectations. Here are some ideas and examples of great feed posts.
🔷Offer support directly. It’s hard to know how your students are doing when you can’t see them in person. Reaching out through direct messages is important to understand how they are progressing, provide them with a safe space to ask questions and identify if they need more support. For example:
Hello xxx, I notice I haven’t received your submission for this week, is there a reason for this? I hope everything is OK and let me know if you need any additional help or support.
Hi xxx, Thanks for your work so far it’s great! I particularly like… over the next week I’d like to see you…..
Hi xxx, Quick Poll: How difficult have you found working off campus this week?
👍= I’m happy and understand what I need to do
🤷🏻♀️= I’m unsure and could use some guidance
👎= I’m finding it difficult and need help
🔷Encourage social connection. It may be hard for students who are used to being around each other on campus to suddenly find themselves isolated or on their own. Creating group discussions, encouraging social societies to set up interest groups and help students keep each other’s morale up through buddy schemes.
E.g. English as an additonal language study group
Self care group
🔷Mental health and wellbeing encouraging students to stay well and healthy will help them continue with their studies and contribute positively. There is a lot of support available from free online yoga sessions to help centres for those in distress, some key resources:
- Mind UK: Tips for managing your wellbeing
- Mental health hotlines an NHS page with numbers to call if in distress
- Down Dog, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout have made their home fitness apps available for free to all
4. Additional Support
Get additional advice and live support from Aula’s partner success team
Here are some more tips and advice on making the switch to online learning as simple as possible
- Chronicle of Higher Education: How to Move Courses Online
- Advance HE: Learning in the time of Covid-19
- Accessible teaching in the time of Covid-19
- Tips for your first online class
- Join edsurge’s online community for educator peer support
- Fordham University, Teach Anywhere
- Indiana University, Keep Teaching
- New York University, Remote Instruction Support
- New York University Shanghai, Digital Teaching Toolkit
- Penn State, Continuity of Instruction
- Stanford University, Teach Anywhere
- University of Delaware, Course Continuity
- University of Wisconsin, Madison: Accessibility and Accommodation