For many teachers, taking a class online is a new and challenging task to do.
Even learners with the best intentions may get distracted when they are supposed to be paying attention. They procrastinate when it is time to log in and do their classwork. It is even more difficult for newly appointed teachers. They scramble for strategies and activities to keep the students interested, engaged and better educated. They also look for guidance by seniors which may be amiss in online teaching. Besides this, it requires learning new skills and adopting a new approach. Needless to say, this particular chasm is no easy task.
However, we are here to help, with proven and engaging online learning activities, especially for new teachers to explore.
Virtual Brainstorming Session
Include virtual brainstorming sessions to help students come up with some brilliant ideas. You can create social media groups, eLearning forums, and Project Management online tools for such a session. Just hand over a list of suitable topics or challenges to your students and leave them to ponder upon those. You may also set some ground rules and define expectations.
Try branching scenarios. By this, we mean, give learners certain scenarios using realistic images, sounds and settings. It will give online learners the ability to apply their knowledge in realistic situations. For example, instead of reading a user manual of any toy, allow them to assemble it. This exposes them to common challenges they may encounter in the real world to gain practical experience. A branching scenario is also an ideal eLearning activity for asynchronous or self-paced eLearning courses, as group participation is unnecessary.
Allow learners to solve real-world mysteries. For this, you may involve relevant case studies, stories, and examples that tie into the subject matter, omit the story's end or some essential parts of the story and let them draw their any conclusion. This activity would be better performed in groups; it will allow different minds to discuss possible solutions with their peers. After exploring all possible outcomes, they reveal the story's ending and ask them to compare or contrast it with their response.
Test how well students apply their understanding of an issue or theoretical position. After they have explored a topic, show them a quotation about it they have never seen before. Their task is to figure out the person behind the quotation's point of view and justifies it to the class. They can debate this issue in small breakout groups before beginning a whole-class discussion.
Video Conferencing Debates
Conducting video conferencing debates is one new activity that might interest online learners. With this, online learners can participate in online debates to explore their perspectives and discover different viewpoints. For this, you may divide online learners into different groups, assign topics, and then plan a debate on any video conferencing platform. If there is any trouble in conducting a live debate, ask online learners to record their responses and upload them to video-sharing platforms or send through mail to get valuable eLearning feedback. Another option is to write prompts and leave comments on blogs.
Learn by Doing
Assign either an online learner or a group of learners a topic, ask them to create eLearning materials and share with their peers. Then, please provide the required guidelines to make them know what is expected of them, how the project will be graded and what tools to use. This activity is ideal to use as it gives them the chance to "learn by doing." Rather mere reading the eLearning content, they will helpfully understand the concepts and allow learners to create their own.
Pose an open-ended question to your online class and ask students to come up with their best answer. Then, pair learners in a group of two or more and get them to agree on a response. Continue the activity until half the group goes head to head with the other half. If you encounter any issue, here's a guide on how it works in Zoom.
This collaborative concept mapping activity is an excellent way for students to step away from their perspectives. In this, learners can review their previous work or map ideas for projects and assignments. You can take help from many online tools that make it simple to map out connections between ideas.
The One-Minute Paper
At the end of class, ask learners to record their most eye-opening revelation or biggest question under one minute. This activity, not only, lets students reflect on learning and build writing skills; also help you know your students' understanding of the content.
Idea Line Up
Enlist questions that have a range of responses, and then ask students where they stand – literally. Since, you conduct online classes, have your students come on the screen one-by-one and place them on a virtual number line based on the spectrum of their answers.
You probably would have heard of Peer review; it is as old as academia. In this activity, you may have students swap drafts of their essays, proposals or reports, and then come up with their comments and questions for each other. Make sure you know what the goals are.
Quescussion is like a standard class discussion, but only questions are allowed. Playing this game at the beginning of the course is beneficial as it can help shape your course. In remote teaching, make sure the remote learners get equal exposure and that your audio system is picking up student voices. Later, as per your convenience, you answer all the questions.
In place of traditional lecture notes, try getting your students to sketch a picture representing what they have learned during class by far. Instead of focusing on the art's quality – check if the sketch prompts students to visualize their understanding and look at the learning from a different perspective.
Movie and Netflix Reviews
With this activity, kids may learn to communicate and write by doing the virtual learning mock movie reviews during a team meeting. Divide students into small groups, assign each session to a fun way to start a meeting or get a conversation started.
This fun activity is similar to running a news agency. Act as the director of a news program and send your "reporters" out to record news stories relevant to your current lesson. Drama students can record reviews of popular or recently released movies while biology students can explain ground-breaking new researches. You have to encourage your students to research their topics, write stories, and record them as a news report.
If you are a newly appointed teacher, especially for online classes, these activities are perfect. Do give them a shot.