Quick tips – Flexible learning part 3

Today’s tip around flexible learning and teaching is around developing your presence in the course.
When you are teaching in a class room, students have the opportunity to see you and ‘get a sense’ of you during the lectures, tutorials and possibly in the hallways before and after a session. In the online environment it can be a bit harder to  ‘put yourself’ into the course.

Tip 1: Include a picture

Add your picture – rather than being a coloured shape, add your photo to your profile.
When you log into canvas, select account, then profile.
On the profile page, click on the allocated image and then you will be able to upload a picture, take a picture (using your webcam) or import a Gravatar (globally aware avatar)
Cartoonify allows you to create your own avatar if you don’t want to upload a photo. (other tools to create avatars are also discussed in this post)

Tip 2: Lead by example

Lead by example, if you have a social, icebreaker or other information discussion topic in your course. Make the first post – set the tone for students, so they have an example to copy when they start the course.

Tip 3: Communicate

Plan out your announcements, you should be able to send a message to students at least once a week.
You might include information about:

  • links between topics
  • upcoming assessments
  • feedback on formative tasks
  • links between current topics and stories currently in the news
  • future opportunities
  • upcoming events (by professional societies, student clubs or others)
  • changes you have introduced based on feedback you have recived
  • updated materials.

Tip 4: Share yourself

When writing your announcements, think about them as a personal communication between you and each student. Consider being slightly less formal and more personal.
Consider trying:

  • starting with hello or Hi,
  • you (rather than student)
  • signing off with your name (rather than your job description)