Adapting to remote learning has been a significant challenge for teachers as well as students during the pandemic. Teaching to a screen (especially if your students have their cameras turned off) can be a daunting prospect, and in a home environment, there are more potential distractions for your students.
1. Be consistent
As an educator adjusting to a virtual school environment, one of the best things that you can do is be consistent.
Follow the same rules that you usually would in your classroom, and make it clear you have the same expectations for your students, whether you’re physically present in the room with them or not. This will not only help focus your students’ attention, making your job easier and more familiar to you, but it will also help your students make the transition from the physical classroom to a virtual one.
The school day routine is likely to be one of the biggest constants in your students’ lives, and by being consistent with your approach and expectations, you can help to keep them engaged and ease any anxiety they might feel about the disruption caused by online learning.
2. Give them a reason why
Your students want to know, “What’s in it for me?” They want to understand why they are learning about the topics or concepts you’re introducing them to in class. Instead of simply reciting the syllabus to them, show them how to apply this information in a real-life setting.
At EU Business School, we teach business models and theory using the case study method, which encourages students to apply these theories to real-life business scenarios and helps them understand how the information will be useful to them in their professional lives.
3. Make learning interactive
Adding interactive elements to your lessons is a fun way to monitor and improve student engagement. Lectures and presentations can help you convey the key points of a topic – but they’re easy to switch off from. Keep your students listening and actively learning until the end by rounding each subject off with a short quiz.
Another idea for getting your students involved is to “swap seats” with them. The best way to learn is often through teaching, so assign a topic to each member of the class and ask them to explain it to their peers as if they were the instructor. During each presentation, ask the other students to submit questions via the chat box for a Q&A at the end. This will encourage them to engage more with the learning materials as well.
4. Encourage collaboration
Get your students to work together in order to create a collaborative remote learning environment. A popular method for teaching younger students to do this, called “Think-Pair-Share”, has been adapted successfully for Zoom and could also be used to facilitate discussions in high school and college classes as well.
Here’s how we might use it in our own online classrooms at EU:
- Present a case study to students, posing a challenge faced by businesses in real life. For example, on a HR module, this could be, “How to reduce staff turnover”.
- Divide students into groups and put them in breakout rooms to discuss the topic. Get them to record their thoughts in a Google Doc for accountability.
- Bring the class back together and ask students to share their solutions.
5. Give feedback and recognition
It is important to recognize is that remote learning involves a considerable adjustment. It’s just as strange for your students to be sat in front of a screen instead of in the classroom as it is for you. Even your most motivated pupils may struggle to adapt and focus. Letting them know how they’re getting on, and offering extra support to those who are finding it difficult, can help them understand where they’re at, what they need to do, and how you can help them going forward.
Incentivize your students to reach out if they need help, and encourage participation from the whole class. One option is to end your sessions on a positive note by, for example, thanking everyone for their contributions and singling out some of the best points.
6. Go “beyond” the classroom
For all the challenges that it presents, there are some significant advantages to remote learning. It’s more accessible, and may give students who cannot attend extracurricular events on campus the chance to supplement their learning. Get your students to engage more with the subject that you’re teaching by organizing additional lectures on certain topics.
You might be wondering how more work is going to keep them focused – surely, it will have the opposite effect? Not necessarily. In class, you have to cover the information they need to know for their exams, and sometimes, you may only have time to teach the basics of a topic. Guest lectures by professionals who work in the area of study will give your students more insight, helping to spark their interest and make connections they had not seen before.
At EU, we invite alumni and high-profile leaders from major global organizations to give guest lectures and webinars on success, leadership, and vision, giving our students a look into what it’s like to work in a variety of business sectors. Since the start of the pandemic, all these events have been moved online.
You can sign up for our upcoming webinars on our website, or read what our latest alumni speaker, Kathrin Wolff, said about the future of blockchain in business on our blog.
Discover EU Online
Education is constantly evolving – and so are we! Study online at EU Business School and learn through interactive webinars, group projects, and business simulations. We currently offer 14 fully online degree programs (plus more on a hybrid basis), taught by highly qualified and experienced lecturers with backgrounds in business and academia. Our syllabus includes guest speaker sessions and live webinars, as well as three on-campus weeks in Geneva, Munich, and Barcelona.
Ready to get started? Check out the full range of courses available online on our website today.