Step 1: Triage & Planning
By March, the school year is typically well under way. Classroom routines are established and the remainder of the year has been planned out. However, this crisis turned everything upside down. Wait, what? Now the entire remainder of the year’s curriculum has to be taught online? Educators across the nation are reeling, feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. Some may even be aggravated that well-formed plans went out the window and more unexpected work looms ahead. Rest assured, well laid plans are still possible. Below are our tips on how to rapidly respond and triage in order to get your organization mobilized.
Triage – All is not lost! Look at what you have.
Who can help?
At CourseArc, we believe the best content is built by bringing different minds together. One thing is true, this crisis has left organizations of all kinds in the same place: scrambling to find an alternative solution. As Helen Keller once said, however, “Alone we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” This is a good time to team up, divide and conquer, and problem solve.
Start by identifying what roles are already in place and how these roles can contribute to your transition online.
- Find someone to fill the following roles: Instructional Designer, Resource Curator, Subject Matter Experts (SME), and Content Reviewer.
- Name a “team lead” for every subject if there is more than one person with the same skill set to divide planning among teachers and avoid duplicating efforts.
- Identify opportunities to join with other disciplines to create a cross-curricular project.
- Find flexibility: Is anyone willing to shift roles to support the team in a different way?
What resources do you have?
Once the team is established, gather all existing resources. Surveying all existing materials may reveal your organization is more prepared than previously thought. The following checklist can help your organization in the transition to online learning:
- Is there institution-wide guidance from a curriculum or technology director that can be gathered in one place?
- Does your organization have access to a learning management system (LMS) to communicate and share content with your students? Students can turn in assignments through the LMS too.
- Does your organization have publisher content that has online components or an online textbook? Are there slides and other materials that were included that can be used as a starting point?
- Does your organization have access to an online conference platform to teach synchronously?
- Does your institution have access to Google Classroom and other Google tools? Google classroom can help you manage sharing content in the Google Suite and you can meet synchronously with Google Meet.
- What materials has your organization already prepared for your face-to-face classroom that can be adapted to an online format?
- If you are missing any of these items above, this checklist from Michigan Virtual has some great suggestions.
How will you teach?
Will you teach synchronously or asynchronously, or will it be a mix of the two? While synchronous might be an easier or quicker way to get started (once you learn how to use the tool), presenting a mix of delivery methods is helpful because students who are new to online may need more time and support to adjust to the new instructional methods. Consider recording shorter lessons so students can watch them when they are ready to learn. Keep in mind longer videos may be harder for students to view with bandwidth issues or they may just lose focus. Older students may also be helping younger students with their learning, so they may need asynchronous content to help them catch up. Be prepared for an influx of questions in the beginning. Creating a FAQ document that is easily accessible can point students and parents to answers.
There can be a lot of distractions for the student learning from home, so engaging your students is even more important when learning is online. This webinar has some ideas to help engage learners.
Ready or not, here we come!
Our current circumstances are demanding us to be ready. How can you gauge where you are now? How do you need to evolve your online journey to better serve your students? Go back through the resources that you have identified and determine what you need to learn to use these resources. Start with questions like the ones below:
- Do you need training to use your LMS?
- Do you need to learn how to use your synchronous learning tool?
- Are you new to Google Classroom or the GSuite?
Resources to help you learn:
- Often the best place to start is with the tool itself. Usually, the vendors have training they have provided for their users.
- CourseArc has an extensive Knowledge Base with troubleshooting solutions for every aspect of the platform.
- YouTube often has how-to videos on any tool you have.
- Several educators have created sites to help you use Google Tools. Two good ones are: Shake Up Learning and Control Alt Achieve.
- For your synchronous learning tools, learn how to properly set up the room for the security of your students.
These are, indeed, strange times. The best chance at being successful in navigating this new world is by pivoting, and doing so quickly. Take stock of everything you already have and create a plan to prepare your skills set to teach online. Our next post will help you determine what resources you have and what you will need in order to develop an online course.
Missed the other steps or need a refresher in the Navigating the Journey to Teaching and Learning Online series? Check out the other steps below:
CourseArc was built as a tool and team to support organizations as they build online content. Check out our resource site to see how we can help your team. Check back to our blog and social media feeds for additional resources and case studies on how our clients are using CourseArc to move their classrooms online.
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