Useful Resources for Online Teaching
First, we wish everyone as smooth and safe a transition as possible into this hopefully very temporary, new and strange paradigm we find ourselves in. As a Digital Humanities Center, we continue to focus on research and teaching, and while our Graduate program has moved online, we understand that online learning tools may not be as familiar to some academics out there. Here is a quick list of resources that may help you.
As libraries shut and access to resources becomes scarce, the important question is – where do students and faculty find material to study from? You could turn to libraries and ebooks. Additionally, the online learning platform Coursera Campus is providing free access, JSTOR has a partially open database, and the Cambridge University Press has made around 700 textbooks free. They recently tweeted: “We are committed to supporting our global community of teachers, researchers and learners during the coronavirus pandemic. From free textbooks and research, to advice, guidance, blogs and more, visit our website.”
As the days go on, more presses are following suit, and you can now access Project Muse content from the Johns Hopkins University Press.
You could also turn to the wonderful community of academics, who are offering to step into online classrooms. The list is on this Google Docs sheet.
Online Meeting Rooms
Zoom has emerged as an academic favourite as classes move online, and there is Blackboard as well. For alternative online meeting platforms where you can comfortably share screens, audio, and video for synchronous learning, we can turn to the management sector; tools include Join.me and BlueJeans.
If you are going asynchronous with learning, you may still want students to pool in resources, share notes, highlights and more. The wonderful tool, Hypothes.is, allows you to make groups so that annotations and highlights can be shared between members. For many, students are also timezones apart, and this would help with sharing information that is not lost in the clutter of other important updates, emails and more. They have also made it free for 2020.
Perusall is an alternative option to use.
Other important reads
Going online means invariably stepping into the tricky territory of Copyright Law. This document put together by specialists should be helpful in answering some of your queries.
If you need to hold exams online, you may want to go through this ready-reckoner on the subject. For general list of ethical edtech tools, here is an on-going directory, and now seems to be a good time to return to it.
It can be overwhelming to come across all the resources on the internet about taking pedagogy online, and it is important to remember that one does not have to learn everything at once.
This quick-step guide to thinking about going online, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education is important:
- Begin by going-over your course assignments [and deadlines, extensions] for the coming week
- How will you give feedback on their progress?
- How can you translate in-class experience to the virtual classroom? What do you use your class-time for and is it feasible to continue doing the same?
- What about exams?
- Consider course materials
- Communicate with students [have them communicate with each other]
Yes, there will be teething problems, and yes, the power of the community that drives the academic spirit may seem diluted. It is okay. The important thing is that we don’t stop learning, and thanks to the internet, it is possible to continue to do so.