10 tips from a mom of an online college student who also teaches distance learning courses

By Robin Hendrix, Hawkes Curriculum Specialist

As a mom of an online college student and someone who also teaches distance learning courses, here are 10 tips based on what I have learned over the years. I hope some of these can help you with your online courses.

  1. Record audio or video to accompany notes that you post for students. Having a more detailed explanation in a recording can help ensure students fully understand your notes (especially handwritten ones) and make the experience seem more like being in the classroom.
  2. Give students additional examples and explanations outside of those in the text. Students have the textbook to reference and providing expanded instruction of your own content will help make sure they get the concepts solidified.
  3. Add more detail to traditional PowerPoints that you might post. Include the explanation that you would have provided if you were physically in class with annotations or using the notes area. Share more than an image or few words on a slide to help students get the most out of a resource that otherwise needs explaining.
  4. Point students to media resources that accompany their textbook or courseware.
  5. Consider allowing students to use notes on quizzes and tests.
  6. Reconsider requiring students to use proctoring services that cost additional money. Explore alternate options for monitoring like video conferencing at the designated test time.
  7. Provide a discussion board for students to ask questions and advocate its use. Keep the tone of responses encouraging to motivate students to continue to connect with you.
  8. Try to set up a weekly virtual meeting for students to ask questions at a time they would be online – 8 am in the morning may not be ideal!
  9. Provide individual feedback as much as possible to make students feel connected.
  10. Consider allowing students to do test corrections to improve their grade or allow students to submit a draft for feedback before turning in a project.

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