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Online Teaching – A Magazine Journalism and Publishing Perspective

A few quick suggestions to get you thinking how you might approach online teaching. These are some points I learned from the OU distance learning and teaching course from a few years back. 

1 Think about the unit in terms of teaching weeks.

Students do not have to do all the tasks at the same time as via classroom delivery – although they can if they want. And divide it into bite sized chunks – so deconstruct learning plans and make it transparent to students – including amount of time they should be spending on each part. This means getting all the key information up on Moodle beforehand Doing so will be very reassuring for students and they can learn at their own pace and at times most suitable for them. So make the most of the asynchronous nature of online learning.

2 Each teaching week will have a substantial presence on Moodle 

Moodle is the hub and the place to explain/contextualise the week. Each week present some brief context of what you are aiming to achieve in this session E.g. last week we looked at xxx and this week follows on from that by thinking about xxx What are key things you want them to understand this week? You might have a section on Planning your time – show how long each element might take so they can plan their learning. What are vital readings/sources and which are additional etc?.

Tell the students what you want them to do: ExampleTask 1 – should take 45 minutes

  • Listen to the lecture (with embedded link) or ppt on xxx. Basic PowerPoint with audio is fine for most lectures – it doesn’t have to have bells and whistles.
  • Read Chapter 8 in xxx (should obviously be an online source available in the library) or a link to website etc.

Have clearly labelled place/repository for useful resources e.g, Sage research methodology videos etc. In this way each Moodle section isn’t just a list of resources – it has a little more contextualisation. 

3 Find ways to help them record views/insights/opinions?

In BA Magazine Design and Publishing students have to produce a project log – we could ask them to post something there that reflects opinion or relates to their practical work in some way. Tutors could then fix up times to look at project logs and offer feedback – via email or tutorial. Offer scheduled sessions as part of learning. You could set up a forum or perhaps think about small independent study groups. Find ways for them to develop their learning so they don’t feel lost.

4 Be very clear about when and how you will be available.

Decide what works for your individual unit. Clearly flag up your availability. E.g. If you have any questions about this week’s lectures or readings …  will be available on BB Collaborate between 11-12. Or it might be you will respond to individual emails on Tuesday between 12-1pm – so if they have a question they need to submit it before then. That way they have clear guidelines about what to expect and when. This will help to manage questions/concerns and students know you are not available 24 hours. We present it as us helping them to manage their own independent learning. You do need to pick times that are accessible for people in different time zones. 

5 Think about how one-to-one tutorials will work and how many each 
individual student will receive and let them know so they can plan.

This way you manage their expectations and help them to get the best out of us and the time we have available. What material do you expect students to have generated for these meetings? E.g. Come to the tutorial having selected an essay question and with some areas for discussion – e.g. some selected readings.

6 Explain to each year group the rules of engagement – how teaching will happen online. 

Explain what technologies you will use and when live sessions will take place. You might want to manage their expectations around technology – it can go wrong.  You might need one initial live session to introduce the new approach? It might be a good idea to set this out on the main Moodle page.

4 thoughts on “Online Teaching – A Magazine Journalism and Publishing Perspective

  • Lucy Panesar

    Thanks Anne – helpful insights and good to read about your examples of asynchronous online teaching – and how to manage expectations and needs of students on different time zones – both really important in the current circumstances.

    • Andrew Slatter

      Ann this is very helpful, thank you for sharing with us. Hope you are well, Andrew x

  • Rebecca Pearce

    This is great, Anne, really clear and useful. Thanks! Rebecca

  • Jess Baines

    Just reread this today, its really helpful Anne, thanks so much for taking the time to put it together for us! V best, Jess


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