How My Online Experience Will Inform Future Face-to-Face or Blended Instruction

Elfe Dona, Associate Professor of German, Wright State University

When educators first had to deliver their content online in early 2020, they scrambled to get their course materials online and did not pay too much attention to the advantages that such a move could have.

For some educators, the interruption due to the pandemic triggered them to reflect on how they had previously delivered content and how students actually learn best. After the “crisis teaching” (Fisher, Frey & Hattie, 2020), the on-campus return is imminent and we have to ask ourselves what we will take with us from our online experience into the classroom. In my case, although I have studied online course design for many years before actually going completely online, I knew that reflecting on my old teaching habits and strategies would be necessary. Initially, my idea of online learning was to digitize my documents, upload them in a learning management system (LMS), and use the online grading functions. Effective teaching, both online and in person, must establish a close connection to our students, show respect for their learning styles, and provide organized courses.

In the following paragraphs, I will share some insights into what strategies have worked well in the online course delivery mode, and what can be integrated into the traditional face-to-face classroom or, in my case, the blended learning classroom (50% online 50% in-person). The new connection I have made between online teaching and learning in a traditional classroom might be helpful for other educators. The ideas are categorized by benefits for the teacher and students in the online environment. The second part lists challenges when moving online content into the in-person or blended classroom in a meaningful way and how we can overcome the hurdles to create a positive learning experience.

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