Supporting students: transcript part 2
Being flexible with the way you asses students can be great for both staff and students.
It means you can move away from the standard test and essay processes and try something different.
It might mean breaking up a larger task into smaller chunks so that it's easier for the students to not get overwhelmed.
Setting realistic timelines for their assessment can be really beneficial for everyone, this might mean making it due at midnight on a Sunday rather than five o'clock on a Friday night.
And providing clear guidelines for extensions can be really useful, keep them open and broad enough for you to decide on a case by case basis.
It is important to advertise your consultation hours to students, so they understand how to get support from you outside of normal, class based hours.
Consultation times should be clearly advertised up on your office door, via Moodle, and consider using your course description also.
When it comes to weekends, public holidays, and mid semester breaks also clearly tell the students how they can contact you, and what the expectations are for them and for you when you're actually communicating back also.
Ensuring course material is available on Moodle early in the semester is very important.
Before the semester starts you should make sure that you have a news forum, a general forum, and the course descriptor, at least, available.
It's a good idea to add in any course notes, lecture notes,and assessment material as well, so that students can access this without having to come and see you.
It also minimises the questions that you may have,so that you can really concentrate on the topics that students have problems with.
When you're teaching face-to-face you get to know your students because you see them every week, but in the online environment you need to make a pointed effort to make sure that there's lecturer presence in the Moodle page. You don't want your students to feel lonely because there's nobody there in the Moodle page.
Here's a couple of ideas on how to get your presence into the Moodle page:
At the beginning of semester you might like to make a little video about yourself letting them know who you are.
Each week you might like to post a little discussion forum, letting them know where they should be up to in the content.
When there's an assessment task due, a little video about what's happening in the assessment task, and what the requirements are, and afterwards, you could even give them video feedback, and that could be as a class, or individual.
The last thing that you might like to do is put together a regular Lync, or Skype meeting.