With many educators transitioning to distance learning for the rest of the school year, some might feel overwhelmed or uncertain while navigating new tools, processes, and online pedagogy. The big question for many educators is: How can we continue to spark meaningful learning for students who are now outside of a traditional, brick-and-mortar classroom?

What is distance learning?

Distance learning allows educators to reach their students from anywhere through online instruction, interaction, and correspondence. While this method reaches learners directly, there are new components to consider outside of an in-person classroom.

Adobe spoke with expert educators to hear their proven and accessible  strategies for success. Dr. Shannon Pufahl (Jones lecturer in creative writing at Stanford University), for instance, emphasizes that “as teachers, we should take care to diversify our pedagogical tactics. Using both synchronous and asynchronous elements, as well as preparing students to use technology effectively, are essential to a well-run virtual classroom”.

From running online lectures to managing student discussion and engagement, see the tips and resources below to make your digital classes a success.

Cultivating digital class participation

Now that students aren’t in the same physical space, educators need to find alternative ways to deliver instruction and foster live communication. Keep in mind, a lot of the core pedagogical principles of your instruction can still apply, with adaptations to suit this new environment.

Dr. Pufahl notes, “We often think that moving a class online means we must minimize or overhaul our approach. But the virtual classroom is only one point of contact between students and instructors, and many of our most reliable strategies will work just as well online as in-person.”

If you plan to run live video discussions with your students, take some time to discover available free tools. This may include, Adobe Connect, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom. Many providers have created best practices for educators, such as this resource from Zoom.

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