Online tutoring and virtual learning will be the future of education based on current trends and global scenarios. Technological innovations have enhanced the virtual learning experience. Also, the flexibility that online education offers makes it easy for students and working professionals to learn relevant subjects. The onset of the pandemic has further increased the demand for online learning as 1.2 billion children are out of classrooms. Due to these reasons, many reputed universities and institutes have entered the e-learning industry.
Teaching in a virtual classroom setup has certain challenges. Creating a strong classroom culture is one of the many challenges that should be addressed. If neglected, students start dropping form the course midterm, and it doesn’t get offered again. It isn’t difficult to build a strong classroom culture in the online setting. By implementing strategies based on trust and respect, you can create a positive environment that will motivate students to learn and excel. Blending the traditional learning set up with the latest digital technologies will do the trick. Let’s go through some approaches you can take to create a community in a virtual setup.
Introductions are important as during the first interactive session for any virtual learning program. Students get to know about you and other students taking the online course. Instead of the usual round of introductions, make students play interesting games to know one another. You can ask students to share a drawing or an object that represents their personality. You can also get the introductions done by word games, short get-acquainted activities, or a quiz. Such lively engagements will help students open up in a virtual environment.
Classroom Rules and Expectations
Virtual classrooms are all about learning and creating a student community. Use a live virtual classroom session to define rules and agreements to guide virtual interactions. You can use a plus-delta chart or the Setting Agreements Activity to create rules. You can also use digital idea-sharing platforms like Google Jamboard or Mural to collaborate. To keep track of the agreements, and review them in every virtual session. Since students also get a chance to voice their concerns, the trust among them increases. Once the rules and expectations are finalized, display them on the virtual classroom board or course page.
Remote learning shouldn’t be exclusively digital. To make your student feel more valued, reach out to him/her personally to address their concerns. Going out of the way to connect with your students is a nice gesture. To connect, you can set up one-on-one sessions through Google Meet or Zoom. You can call your students, send them emails, or share feedback through personalized videos. This will help you to cultivate a culture of trust in the virtual learning environment.
Collaborative projects increase student engagement and put classroom culture into practice. So, you can give mini-projects as assignments in live sessions. These projects can range from an awareness campaign creation to solving community problems to art projects. Ensure that the students get to work in teams and collaborate with people outside the classroom. Once these collaborative projects are complete, let the students present their findings to the entire class. This will enhance the learning experience, and students won’t feel isolated in your class.
Include Parents in learning
Co-learning is a critical factor in improving classroom culture. Involving parents will add a different dimension to your online tutoring session. Students are comfortable in working with their parents. Thus, you can involve parents in activities and conversations. Run your ideas through parents and take their feedback to improve your virtual sessions. You can even ask some parents to share their life experiences. Real-life success stories can leave a positive impact on students. Take advantage of current times when family members are together to garner support for your students.
Relevant Course Structure
Students will be attending more than two to three classes each week. Some students might face difficulties with time management. Help students by setting clear expectations along with a structured routine to eliminate confusion. Proper distribution of responsibilities is an important aspect of building a strong classroom culture. The classroom rules and agreements will help your students in defining their weekly study schedule.
With the help of digital technology, you can create a real sense of community in your classroom. Thus, include a cultural strategy in your virtual curriculum to create a strong and supportive learning community.