Just as learning online differs in many ways from the traditional classroom, so does teaching online or in the blended learning environment. Indiana University Bloomington’s Office of Instructional Consulting has an extensive repository of e-Teaching & Learning sources to help faculty.
Keeping Accessibility in Mind
According to WebAim, an estimated 20% of the population has a visual, hearing, motor, and/or cognitive disability. Although not all of these disabilities affect the student’s experience when accessing online materials, creating materials without accessibility in mind may not only exclude students, it may also violate the law.
To learn more about online teaching with accessibility in mind, visit WebAim’s Resources.
You may also check the user resources from your learning management system provider for tips for design, video, and screen reader programs.
Creating Video and Audio Files
To break up the monotony of text, you may wish to consider creating short (under 5 minutes) video or audio for your students. Your learning management system likely offers tools to easily create video or audio files.
Creating Screencasts with Jing
You may also wish to create screencasts (narrated video of your computer desktop). An easy-to-use and free application is Jing by TechSmith. To download Jing you’ll need administrative permissions. Contact your IT department if you need assistance with downloading Jing.
Creating a Personal Introduction
One way to assist students in connecting with you is creating a brief introduction using video or audio. As a general rule, simple and short video or audio files (under 5 minutes) work best for online learning.
The following tips may be useful for creating introductions:
Tips for Video
- Wear dark colors. Stripes and plaid can be distracting.
- Position webcams at eye-level. Laptop views are often directed at the nose.
- Make eye contact with the webcam instead of the computer screen.
- Keep head movements and gestures to a minimum.
- Use lighting from the sides. Lighting from behind makes faces appear shaded.
- Check both the aural and visual “noise.” Is there a whirring fan in the room or messy desk behind you?
- Smile when talking.
Ideas for Topics
- Include a welcome greeting to students.
- State your name and affiliation with the institution.
- Consider discussing your credentials, teaching experience, research background, alma mater, etc.