Fall: It’s Not If You Teach Online. It’s When.
With Fall fast approaching, this 3-part “Checklist” newsletter series will help you prep for what will likely be an uncertain semester.
The first thing you need to do for Fall, no matter what your administration is saying, is…
Fully commit to teaching online.
In-Person will be Worse than Online
In normal circumstances, in-person classes are unquestionably better learning environments for most students. This Fall, however, the experience won’t be normal:
- You and your students will all be wearing face masks for the duration of your classes.
- Your students won’t be able to interact with one another. Separated by 6 feet, student-to-student interactions will need to be eliminated, and you’ll be asked to restrict your movement within the classroom.
- We’re about to enter cold & flu season when anyone, including you, with even a hint of any symptom – sniffles, sneezes, sore throat, etc. – will be asked to stay home. Combine those students with those that are simply uncomfortable attending class and your “in-person” class will quickly turn into a Frankenstein’s monster of half-online / half-in-person classes that’s the worst of both worlds.
These restrictions mean that your normally interactive entrepreneurship classes will be reduced to a series of lectures. This is not only boring for you and your students, but worse than that…
Neglecting the reasons our classes exist in the first place: to teach entrepreneurship skills.
Fortunately, the ineffectiveness of in-person classes won’t last long this Fall because…
It’s not if you go online. It’s when.
When you consider:
- It’s summer now, school is out, and COVID is still spreading rapidly.
- Come Fall, when students travel from across the country and start socializing on campus, in the dorms, and at inevitable parties, cases will spike at schools.
- As soon as any of your in-person students test positive, you’ll be asked to immediately transition online because you or your other students could already be infected.
Unfortunately, if you’re in the US…
It’s inevitable your classes will move online.
Fortunately, there’s some good news:
Online Classes Can Be Better than In-Person
The online experience your students had last year wasn’t great because you weren’t given adequate time to prepare. Of course, as we collectively demonstrated during the TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Virtual Conference, with a little preparation…
Online learning can be just as good (better?) than in-person.
When you teach online, whether synchronously or asynchronously, with proper planning you can replicate virtually all of the experiences you’d do in-person.
Key to Success: Start Prepping Now
As we’ve seen instructors embrace the fact that classes are going online in Fall, we’ve seen them simultaneously learn new tools while…
Dramatically simplifying their prep process.
And with the right tools, it turns out, there’s not an overwhelming amount of prep to do.
Step #1: Ask to Teach Completely Online
If you haven’t already, have a conversation with your department chair or dean about why online classes from day 1 will be better for your students than “hybrid” (half in-person / half online) classes that inevitably transition online. Try to communicate that, in addition to being a more safe, less stressful experience for you and your students…
Committing to online teaching now, will enable you to focus your prep and provide a higher quality experience for students.
More important than whether they take classes in-person or online, students want a motivating, engaging learning experience. The best way to provide that is to commit to one class format now, and start prepping for it.
Step #2: Prep Your Online Lessons
To avoid the suboptimal experience students had last Spring, it’s important to start prepping for online lessons now. To do that you can either:
- Start translating your in-person activities to be “Zoom-able” or
- Use a curriculum like ExEC that has already been translated online.
Using a structured set of lessons like the ones in ExEC enables you to have modular exercises you can integrate into your course to ensure your class is engaging whether its in-person, online, or hybrid.
Plus ExEC has full support to instantly create courses for you on:
- Brightspace / D2L
Click here to request a preview of ExEC.
Step #3: Start Now
No matter what tools you use to teach this Fall, the most important thing to do is start prepping now.
If you’re able to see the writing on the wall now and prepare to teach online, you’ll not only make your life easier, you’ll create a much more valuable and engaging experience for your students.
Next Week: Sample Online Syllabi
To help with your prep, we want to provide detailed synchronous and asynchronous online syllabi you can use to adapt your schedule.
Stay tuned for that! In the meantime, stay safe, and let us know how we can help you prep!