Day 14: Timesaver Tips for Teaching Online

Photo by Microsoft
Photo by Microsoft

Teaching online takes up your time in different ways, which can make it feel like it is taking more time. Van de Vord and Pogue (2012) found that “overall, face-to-face teaching required more time per student, but certain aspects of online teaching take considerably more time per student than in the face-to-face classroom.” So today, let’s look at some ways to save you time!

Organize Student Communication

  • We’ve already discussed ways to organize student communication via email.
  • Using online forums can save time if you answer most student questions “publicly” instead of individually via email. Some forums you may wish to include are:
    • News
    • Tech Help
    • Process Questions
    • Chit-Chat or Watercooler
  • Respond to student issues to the whole class instead of individually to each student.

Reuse Language for Weekly Emails

We’ve talked about the importance of weekly emails. But you can save time creating these as well. My weekly emails follow this pattern:

  • An overview of the upcoming content. I copy & paste my intro text from the course content into the email.
  • Issues, notes about grading, holiday information, etc. This part changes each week based on what is going on in the class.
  • A suggested schedule for the week. I use the same language throughout my class, so this is an easy copy & paste.
  • How to get help. This is the same language throughout the course as well.

I also save my emails from one session of the class to the next. This way I can easily reuse the text. But it’s important to read it over to ensure that all the text still applies!

Software Tips

At USDLA 2012, I listened to online teacher, Darcy Christianson, share several of her tips for busy online teachers. My full notes are online here.

  • Use a shortcut text replacer software to reuse text in writing feedback to students. For example,
  • Set up rubrics in Excel so that you can select the score and the comments are automatically filled in.
  • Use software like Jing to scroll through student work and respond verbally (with audio).

Your Turn

Reflect. How do you save time in teaching face-to-face? What ideas do you have for saving time online? What areas do you wish you had more ideas for saving time in teaching online?

This post is Day 14 of the 20 Day Challenge to Teaching Interactive Online Courses.

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