The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way education is delivered worldwide. The shift towards online education has been a significant aspect of the transformation, leading to the need for effective online teaching strategies. Synchronous online teaching, which involves real-time interaction between teachers and students, has become a popular option for delivering education. However, many educators and education professionals may find it challenging to create an engaging and effective synchronous online teaching environment. This article provides ten proven strategies for synchronous online teaching that can be used to ensure that students receive a high-quality education in a synchronous online environment.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Strategy 1: Establish Clear Expectations
One of the most critical elements of synchronous online teaching is establishing clear expectations. It is essential to communicate clearly with students about course expectations, learning objectives, and course policies. Providing a clear outline of the course structure, the expectations of the students, the instructor’s role, and the learning outcomes help students understand what is expected of them, and what they need to do to achieve success in the course.
Strategy 2: Create a Structured Learning Environment
Creating a structured learning environment is crucial for synchronous online teaching. The learning environment should be well-organized and easy to navigate, with clear instructions for accessing and completing coursework. The use of a Learning Management System (LMS) can help to structure the learning environment and create a cohesive learning experience for students. A well-designed LMS can also facilitate communication between students and instructors, allowing for real-time feedback and collaboration.
Strategy 3: Use Interactive Tools
Interactive tools are essential for engaging students in a synchronous online environment. The use of interactive tools such as chat rooms, discussion forums, and virtual whiteboards can encourage student participation and collaboration. Instructors can also use polling tools to gather feedback from students and assess their understanding of course material.
Strategy 4: Incorporate Multimedia
Incorporating multimedia is an effective way to enhance the learning experience for students in a synchronous online environment. Using multimedia such as videos, images, and audio can help to break up the monotony of text-based content and make the course more engaging. Instructors can also use multimedia to provide real-world examples and illustrate complex concepts.
Strategy 5: Provide Real-Time Feedback
Providing real-time feedback is essential for synchronous online teaching. Instructors should provide feedback on student work promptly, allowing students to make improvements quickly. The use of synchronous online communication tools such as video conferencing, chat rooms, and instant messaging can facilitate real-time feedback and encourage student engagement.
Strategy 6: Encourage Active Learning
Encouraging active learning is an effective way to ensure that students are engaged in the learning process. Instructors can use active learning strategies such as case studies, problem-based learning, and collaborative learning to encourage student participation and engagement. Active learning strategies can also help to improve student retention and understanding of course material.
Strategy 7: Foster a Supportive Learning Environment
Fostering a supportive learning environment is crucial for synchronous online teaching. Instructors should provide opportunities for students to interact with each other and establish a sense of community. The use of social learning tools such as discussion forums and chat rooms can help to create a supportive learning environment where students feel comfortable asking questions and sharing ideas.
Strategy 8: Use a Variety of Assessment Methods
Using a variety of assessment methods is an effective way to evaluate student understanding and engagement in a synchronous online environment. Instructors can use assessments such as quizzes, essays, and projects to assess student knowledge and skills. Using a variety of assessment methods can help to accommodate different learning styles and encourage student engagement.
Strategy 9: Communicate Effectively
Effective communication is crucial for synchronous online teaching. Instructors should communicate regularly with students using a variety of communication methods such as email, video conferencing, chat rooms, and discussion forums. It is essential to be clear and concise in communication, using plain language and avoiding jargon or complex terminology that students may not understand.
Strategy 10: Continuously Evaluate and Improve
Continuous evaluation and improvement are essential for synchronous online teaching. Instructors should regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching strategies and make adjustments as needed to ensure that students are engaged and learning effectively. Gathering feedback from students and using data to inform decision-making can help to identify areas for improvement and ensure that teaching strategies are aligned with student needs and expectations.
Synchronous online teaching can be an effective way to deliver high-quality education in a virtual environment. However, it requires careful planning and the use of effective teaching strategies to ensure that students are engaged and learning effectively. The ten proven strategies outlined in this article can help educators and education professionals create an engaging and effective synchronous online teaching environment. By establishing clear expectations, creating a structured learning environment, using interactive tools, incorporating multimedia, providing real-time feedback, encouraging active learning, fostering a supportive learning environment, using a variety of assessment methods, communicating effectively, and continuously evaluating and improving, instructors can create a synchronous online teaching environment that meets the needs of students and ensures their success.