Educators celebrate their remote teaching wins of 2020

View all tags

2020 proved to be a challenging year for educators, to say the least. Many instructors, however, rose to the challenge by bringing creative and collaborative teaching ideas into their online classrooms.

To celebrate all the good things that happened in a tough year, we asked instructors to share their successes from the fall 2020 semester.

Here are 4 trends describing what worked well for instructors:

1. Keeping it short

For a generation of students growing up on social media, instructors found that bite-sized activities kept them most engaged and attentive.

Micro-lectures and short videos have also helped educators present difficult concepts in a straightforward and engaging way.

2. Getting to know students 1-on-1

The blank Zoom screens of students with their cameras off has left many instructors feeling distanced from their students. There’s nothing more dispiriting than teaching into a void.

These instructors found ways to get to know their students and have intimate conversations about what they need help with.

Not only has teaching in an online classroom made it difficult to connect with students individually but also to get feedback on what they don’t understand or found interesting.

As University of Victoria sociology professor, Bruce Ravelli, said:

“I miss that feeling when you’re giving a great lecture—when the students are indicating that they’re learning something they’ve never thought about before. When you can make them laugh, when you can make them have that deep thoughtful moment. I miss students diligently working, diligently asking questions, meeting their friends in class. I miss all of those moments.

While meeting 1-on-1 worked for instructors Georgina and Maggie, it may be difficult for some of you teaching large introductory courses.

Consider using an in-class engagement tool like Learning Catalytics to check student understanding with open-ended questions and adjust your class time to focus on areas they’re struggling with.

3. Giving students a space to build relationships with each other

Creating room for students to bond with each other is equally as important as building a relationship between you and them.

Instructors found community building to be a good way to boost morale and give students a way to help each other after hours.

4. Being flexible with assignments and grading

One of the biggest benefits of online and hybrid learning is the flexibility it can offer. As these educators found, flexible deadlines and exemptions helped reduce student stress during these unpredictable times.

Educators also experimented with using an ungrading model. Although some may say this model lessens academic rigour, it can create a classroom more focussed on the learning process than simply numerical grades.

Aside from these 4 areas of success, instructors found their remote teaching groove with these creative synchronous and asynchronous learning ideas.

This instructor found her new flipped class model so effective that she will be sticking with it in the future.

Other educators found success in taking advantage of the technology available to them and making the most out of its features.

Searching for edtech tools or activities to fit what you’re looking for can be time-consuming. Sometimes, a simple tool you are using for lectures or assessment may be more powerful than you think, like this instructor found with the Zoom chat.

If you’re teaching with MyLab, Mastering, and Revel this semester, consider assigning students some of these lesser-known fun activities, such as simulations, experiments, and current events, already built into the platforms.

This professor sums up the silver lining of 2020’s teaching upheaval best:

We hope these stories inspire you with new ideas for remote instruction that you can take into 2021.

Click here to explore more online teaching strategies and resources to engage students virtually.

Fill out the form and keep reading about how instructors are improving their online courses!

Pearson respects your privacy. View our privacy policy for more information or contact us anytime.