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- How to: Connect
How to: Connect
Create connection, create community
Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa - Let us keep close together, not wide apart.
How can we make sure our learners know we’re there? How can we ensure they feel a sense of manaaki in the online learning space? a sense of belonging? It starts with establishing a teacher presence, and creating space for students to feel connected.
- Add a welcome message
A welcome message, usually posted on the home page of your course, contains orientation and housekeeping information that is often presented during the first day of a traditional, face-to-face course. See this welcome message example.
A detailed welcome message will:
- help students become familiar with the learning outcomes and purpose of the course.
- set the stage for continued, positive interactions between you and your online students.
- Using the 'tutor note' to add your voice
Why:This visual addition to your course helps important messages – like a Course Welcome or a Tutor Voice – stand out.
- Introduce teaching staff
Learners need to know who is teaching the course, who to contact and how. Having this information laid out clearly on the home page helps establish that connection from the first time that learners log in. See this tutor introduction from Arts and Media, and how we have used a table to display our team's contact details in the 'Talk to the LiiT Team' section of this course.
- Create a course query forum
A query forum is used for general questions or discussions regarding the course. Learners can post questions and the instructor or other students can respond in this public forum.
- Create an introduction forum
In the online learning environment, collaboration is essential. Given this, it is important that tutors and students get to know one another while communicating online. Use a forum to introduce yourself and allow your pupils to communicate with one another to develop human connection. Here is an example of a tutor using introductory forums to enhance her social presence.
- Create a welcome video
A video is a great way to welcome students into the online space. It gives them a sense of who you are, and can stir up enthusiasm for your course before it even begins. Consider this edited video from the lecturer of an online course [1:01]. While you may not have the software or experience to create something as polished, you can create an intro that is equally effective in what it achieves, as in this video by an NMIT lecturer [3:08].
- How to: Communicate
How to: Communicate
Create effective channels for communication
Mā te kōrero ka mohio, mā te mohio ka marama, mā te marama ka matau, mā te matau ka ora - With communication comes knowledge, with knowledge comes understanding, with understanding comes wisdom, with wisdom comes wellbeing.
How can we set up and maintain effective online communication with and between learners? Moodle offers a number of tools that can help, including messaging, announcements and forums. What matters most, however, is how we put these tools to best use, and that we are consistent in our approach to communicating online.
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- Display communication protocols
Putting communication protocols where students will see them brings them to the forefront. Learners will know when and how they can communicate with you, and with their peers. This helps mitigate the barriers that can impact communication online.
Consider this example of clearly communicated protocols.
- Use Announcements
One of the most effective and simple ways of interacting with students online is by posting in the Announcement forum.
As these linked examples from NMIT courses show, announcements are a great way to: give students an overview of the week ahead, provide timely lockdown communication, provide assessment updates, or provide details of an upcoming fieldtrip.
- Make use of forums
- Enable groups to chat in Moodle
If you are using Moodle groups, you can change a setting to allow the students in a group to message each other. This gives small groups a private space to communicate. If you add yourself to a group, you can also join the group chat.
Note: you must first set up Moodle groups to enable this function.
- Message students in Moodle
Sometimes, rather than sending an announcement to all students, you'll want to send a private message to one student, or a small group of students.
- Customise notifications
Setting up your notifications to suit you will ensure you're neither bombarded with student activity in forums or group messaging, nor out of the loop.
- How to: Prepare online activities
How to: Prepare online activities
Encourage active learning through engaging content and activities
Whaiwhia te kete mātauranga - Fill the basket of knowledge.
Whether our students are online or on campus, they need activities that require them to apply what they're learning.
If we take an activity-based approach to building a Moodle course, it becomes a space to guide students through a series of connected, engaging activities that they can work through autonomously, and with peers. This is more likely to prompt active learning than a content-based approach, in which Moodle too often becomes a repository of information.
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- Create a forum discussion or task
Forums provide a flexible discussion space. Students don't need to be online at a certain time or day to participate, and they have time to think about what they want to say before posting. It helps if the purpose of online discussions is clear and relevant, and if they are 'normalised' as a form of interaction. Why not make it a weekly routine, for you and your students?
- Add a reading as a PDF
- Insert a link to an online reading
- Add a video
Well-curated video content helps engage students, and saves tutors reinventing the wheel. There's a lot of great content on YouTube and LinkedIn Learning that can be embedded in a Moodle course.
- Add a colourful Activity block
Activity blocks wrap activity instructions in a colourful border, making them stand out on the page. They're also colour-coded to highlight different activity types.
- Pre-record a voice-over PowerPoint
Pre-recording voice-over PowerPoint is good for delivering 'lecture style' content. You can record when it suits you, and students can watch when it suits them. Flexibility is the distinct advantage it has over Zoom, or even face-to-face lectures.
Think 'mini-lectures': 2-8 minute recordings that focus on key concepts or skills; and which will help students grasp ideas they often struggle with on their own. Avoid the idea that you need to record a 2-hour lecture. Boil it down to the essentials, chunk it into parts, and deliver it well.
- Record a screencast
Screencasts enable you to demonstrate what you are doing on your computer, with voiceover. This can be particularly helpful when teaching students online, to point them to helpful resources in Moodle for example. They can also be a useful teaching tool in disciplines such as Design, Tourism and IT, where students need to learn to use industry software.
- Set up Moodle Groups
Moodle groups allow students to collaborate online in groups or pairs. Perfect if they are working on group assessments or projects, and good for encouraging informal discussion and peer review (in a private group forum).
- Create a quiz (Moodle)
Quizzes can be used to check understanding of key concepts. They provide students with opportunity to check their progress, and offer instant feedback. Quizzes are best used as a learning tool, without grades attached.
- How to: Facilitate (online classes)
How to: Facilitate (online classes)
Te tohu o te rangatira, he manaaki. The sign of a chief is to support, protect, provide hospitality and care for others.
Moving your classroom sessions to a virtual environment, such as Zoom video conferencing, creates new opportunities for active learning and student involvement. We'll look at some easy ways for combining active learning principles with online resources so that students can encounter and engage with material and ideas while also reflecting on what they've learned.
Go to glossary
- Set up a class Zoom link
- Record Zoom sessions to the cloud
Lectures, tutorials and practicals can be fast-paced and in-depth. Recording these sessions ensures that students don't miss anything important. It can also help you improve your practice as you or a colleague watch them back and reflect on the teaching.
Why should I record to the cloud instead of my computer?
If you are recording your zoom sessions to your computer and there is no room available on your hard drive, the recording will not be saved. It is much safer, easier and more accessible for the LiiT team (if you have trouble) to record to the cloud.
- Share your screen in a Zoom meeting
Why:If you have a PowerPoint, reading or course page to share you can.
- Add a Zoom class link to your course
Adding a zoom link to your Moodle page establishes a digital learning space that students know to access at any time.
- Upload a Zoom recording to Moodle
- Use Zoom breakout rooms
Breakout rooms allow you to split your Zoom meeting into up to 50 separate sessions. The meeting host or co-host can choose to split the participants of the meeting into these separate sessions automatically or manually, or they can allow participants to select and enter breakout sessions as they please.