In the past, I have attended a few "virtual" classroom sessions as a trainee and I always found it a little boring. I could notice the sincere effort that the trainer has put through but I couldn't control the feeling of boredom.
Are there any techniques specific to teaching in a "virtual environment" that can improve the pedagogical experience and keep students motivated? I do have a list for a normal environment but it is of little help in this new medium!
Thanks for helping.
When I read this question, I immediately thought of this TED talk.
In it, Peter Norvig, who taught a huge online course on AI, shares what he learned about teaching to a large virtual audience.
His main points:
- Mimic a one-on-one teaching style by positioning the camera overhead as you write and speaking as if it is a single student.
- Alternately, use a livescribe pen (I've had experience with this for a math class; loved it)
- Make short, <10 minute videos to retain attention
- Ask questions to check understanding (they will pause+answer) and then go over them
- Have due dates for watching the videos; students need motivation to watch them in a timely manner
- Encourage online forums because peers are great tutors they "remember what it's like to not understand"