Online Instruction

A Virtual Class is a Real Class

OLLI Course Catalog coverTeaching and learning online took us by surprise in March or 2020.  And at first we thought we’d done well merely by surviving a Zoom class.  That’s not fair to our students.  They may not be able to articulate what was missing in our online class, but they’ll know it was not up to our standards for face-to-face instruction.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Most of the elements of a good face-to-face class can be carried over to its virtual version.

The two articles below are a good starting point, and we welcome your suggestions for other resources!

Online Instruction – Best Practices

Osher NRC Report on Distance Learning Research

With those as your guide to overall class design, let’s look at the tools you’ll use to create that class in an online environment.  You don’t have to read everything here.  Start with what is most relevant to you now, and explore further when your needs change.

Blue titles are Web links.  Red titles are PDF documents. Green titles are PowerPoint presentations or spreadsheets.


Zoom–The Basics

Zoom–Intermediate Skills 

Zoom–Advanced Skills

And speaking of PowerPoint…

    • PowerPoint is–for good or ill–even more important in a Zoom class than it was in a face-to-face class.  Which really means that good PowerPoint presentations are important in a Zoom class.  So we’ve created an entire page to help you create the best PowerPoint presentations possible.  And you owe your students nothing less.

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6 Replies to “Online Instruction”

  1. It seems to be simple. I have already participated in a Zoom Meeting although not as a host so I have navigated it before. It was a pleasant experience. Would be happy with online teaching.

  2. I’ve been happy with Zoom both as a host and as a participant.
    I’m looking forward to using the Breakout Room feature in my class.

  3. I did my first Zoom intro. It helps to have two monitors, so I could see my Presenter view on one and the participants on the other. I could see slides- would have been useful to have checked volume of Audio clip on the slide-
    Start Zoom on the monitor that you want your notes to show up – but there is tab to flip views on the Zoom bar on top-
    I always send out slides in PDF form with notes so I do not need to give out a handout and waste paper !

  4. I just used the breakout rooms feature. It was relatively easy and really worked well. I teach Italian . I divided my students into three groups. Each group’s assignment was to devise a conversation around a dining room table. They were then sent to 3 separate breakout rooms. Each group had 5 minutes to come up with a scenario. I let tnem know when they had one minute left. At the designated time I reunited everyone. Each group then presented the conversation to the whole.
    I’m hot sure where else this might be helpful, but it’s something to think about. This was actually an improvement over a live class!

  5. That’s a great endorsement of online learning and how to use breakout rooms as a tool effectively. Thank you for sharing.

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