Teaching and Learning Tips

Online Teaching Responsibilities
  1. Faculty are responsible for clearly communicating the course outline, objectives, expectations, and requirements.
  2. Faculty should engage students in online discussions and debates as Faculty are the social directors for the student-instructor and student-student interactions.
  3. For continuous improvement, Faculty should provide students with frequent feedback on their assessments.
  4. Faculty should clearly identify when and how students can contact the instructor.
  5. The course content and assignments should be developed in alignment with the online teaching setting in order to build a supportive online community.
  6. Faculty should be able to identify and differentiate the various learning styles of students and teach accordingly.
  7. Creating activities after each lesson as a way to boost learning, engage students and identify gaps.
  8. In the online teaching format, Faculty have the role of technology specialist therefore the online activities should be appropriate for the learning goals.
  9. Faculty need to create an active online learning environment in which students take ownership for their learning.
  10. Faculty should identify and explore various ways in which instructor participation can help enrich discussions
Online Learning Responsibilities
  1. Being familiar with the course outline, course requirements and assignments.
  2. Attending online classes regularly just as students would attend the traditional classes.
  3. Participating in online discussions and all academic activities required by the instructor.
  4. Students should be well-organized regarding managing the course requirements by meeting deadlines.
  5. Students have to be well-prepared for the course requirements by acquiring the needed resources such as textbooks, software and lab material.
  6. Students must maintain the security of their username, password and their personal information.
  7. Students should maintain their interactions with their friends and instructors in the online classes as they would in the traditional classes.
  8. Students should show their presence and trust to the online learning community and initiate discussions when needed.
  9. As online learners, students should identify and prioritize their skill gaps and set clear goals in order to improve and grow.
  10. To generate deeper level of understanding, students are required to work collaboratively.
Online Teaching Tips
  1. Weekly Research: Students should be asked to research the topic of the week before attending the class. This method not only gives students an opportunity to become more familiar with the topic, but also prepares them for answering questions on spot.
  2. Student Checklist: Instructors to keep students’ name list in front of them which helps to include all students within the class discussion.
  3. Teamwork Monitoring: The team leader allocates tasks to team members, then collects and sends to the instructor. The instructor will record their weekly performance based on their contributions.
  4. Ask Questions: The instructor should ask students questions about the delivered content throughout the session. Also, students can discuss what they prefer and what they do not prefer about the course subject. This enables students to demonstrate their understanding and helps the instructor to find the learning gaps.
  5. Homework: Instructors should prepare homework questions for each lecture which correspond to specific content of the course subject. This method aims to cover the most important concepts and stimulates dialogue among students.
  6. Recorded Lectures: Instructors should ask who listened to the prerecorded material and who did the homework. By taking a record, students will be encouraged to complete their tasks.
  7. Online Features: When a question is asked, instructors can allow students to share their screen to present their answer by using pictures, videos, diagrams, and etc. In this method, students will take over the class and encourage discussions between them. At the end, the instructor can provide students with feedbacks on their answers. Also, turning on the camera will ensure students’ presence and will enhance class participation.
  8. Formative Assessment: If students are not engaged or the attendance is very low, instructors can introduce graded online class participation and homework with low weights.
  9. Videos: Depending on the course material and nature of the subject, instructors can play videos, ask questions about the video and generate discussions to increase engagement.
  10. Frequent Quizzes: Assessing students with short frequent quizzes is a great way to keep them engaged. Kahoot is a free game-based learning platform that is highly beneficial for creating interactive class quizzes.
Online Learning Tips
  1. Choose Your Goal: Keep your goal in front of your eyes because it will keep you focused.
  2. The Place: Dedicate a quiet place to study. Have an inspirational quote either on your desk or in your room to keep you motivated (e.g. Challenges make me stronger).
  3. Devices: Make sure all your devices are well-fully charged, connected to the internet and use headphones as they help you to avoid any external distractions.
  4. Commitment: Attend your classes, participate in online discussions, never be shy to ask any questions, and interact with your colleagues and your instructors. We are physically distant, but we are not socially distant.
  5. Have a Study Plan: Make yourself a daily ‘To Do List’ and set time limits for yourself.
  6. Reward: Don’t forget to reward yourself by taking breaks.
  7. Food: Take good healthy snacks and fluids but not chocolate as studies have shown that chocolate will boost your energy for the first half an hour but it drops below average afterwards.
Teaching Tips
  1. Introduce yourself to your class Tell students about your background; how you became interested in the subject, how it is important to you, why you are teaching this course and genuinely convey your enthusiasm for the field and subject.  This will engage your students and create initial interest in the subject.
  2. Learn students’ names Learning and using students’ names will create a more comfortable classroom environment where you can encourage student interaction. Also, it shows your care and awareness of the class.
  1. Divide students into small groups Give groups small tasks such as brainstorming, discussions and interpretation. This encourages team work before you set them out on a team assignment.
  1. Validate comments and questions Make your students feel free and comfortable to ask any question in class without the feeling of being judged. It helps both the learning process of students and shows your sense of caring.
  1. Motivate It’s students’ desire to engage in learning and do well; it is the direction for energy and passion towards a goal. Students who did well in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically. Rather, they were the ones who were optimistic, resilient and socially adept.
  1. Rewards and consequences Instructors should use strategies to encourage behaviors they want to see or push students to complete a task. Rewards increase students’ level of interest and participation in classroom activities. Incentives motivate students to be more productive and have sense of achievement.
  1. Sense of belonging The feeling of “belonging in college” was a main factor that consistently protected against risk and distress. Find ways to value students in the college community and other social groups in college. In fact, research has shown that high standards and expectations give students the sense of caring from college and its staff.
  1. Feedback Students are motivated to take the extra academic step when they perceive their teachers’ feedback as a genuine desire to help them rather than as an expression of indifference. It’s been proven that feedback increases learning and improve students’ outcome.
  1. Paying attention by having an interesting lecture The more effort we devote on getting students to pay attention by giving real life examples and relating subjects to students’ benefits, the less likely we are to ask whether those assignments are actually worth doing, or to rethink an arrangement where teachers mostly talk and students mostly listen.
  1. Develop and maintain positive and meaningful relationship with students Students care when they feel cared about. Students are less likely to drop out and achieve higher rates when they have an ongoing connection with their instructor.
  1. Develop growth mindsets for students Brainology, is a curriculum developed by Stanford Psychology Professor Carol Dweck who popularized the concept of academic mindsets. Dweck’s research shows that students can turn fixed mindsets—the belief that intelligence is finite—into growth mindsets—the conviction that the harder they work, the more their intelligence will grow. Implant in your students the belief that ‘whenever there’s a will there’s a way’ and that there’s nothing impossible to attain as long as hard work is there.
  1. Be a role model and build character education Be a role model in respect to time, team work, organization and communication. Then teach students in ways designed to help them become ethical, virtuous, honest, and civic-minded individuals. This will produce effective contributors to the job market and society.
Learning Tips
  1. Make your own study notes The aim of taking notes is to summarize lectures in your own words which helps you remember the information and ideas easily.
  1. Underlining This is one of the simplest tips. First you should have a comprehensive reading of the text and on the second reading highlight the notable aspects. This helps you engage with certain aspects of the text.
  1. Case studies Some courses may have diverse and complicated theories and explanations. Case studies help you visualize and implement the theory in a more familiar context.
  1. Brainstorming Since many of the courses involve group work, sitting together and brainstorming is a great way to expand the ideas and topics. This helps you and group members to come up with greater ideas and solutions.
  1. Organize your study You need to have a schedule and plan for your studies. It should include the timing and goals you want to achieve at the end of each day or week. There is plenty of software online that can help you set up your timetable or you can do it yourself as well.
  1. Take breaks While you may think studying for long hours may benefit you and help you understand more, sometimes this can be counterproductive. Studies have shown that taking regular breaks can help you retain information and knowledge. However, do not forget that everyone has a different system and approach to studying. First identify your routine then allocate some time for your break. For example, if you prefer studying in the morning, start early and take a break by lunchtime, then continue studying.
  1. Practice variety of questions Practicing is an effective way of learning. Do not concentrate only on one type of question or scenario. Search for more detailed and complicated questions and try to solve them on your own.
  1. Use flowcharts and diagrams Visual aids can effectively help the learning process and makes it easier to understand the subject. Start by reading the topic then try to summarize all you understood by drawing a diagram or flowchart.
  1. Use your own words When studying do not try to memorize the concept, if you want it to stay in your long-term memory you have to understand it. First read the subject and then try to explain it to yourself in your own words. Make sure what you have understood has the same meaning as the topic.
  1. Be positive Your attitude can make a difference on your studies and learning. Being positive helps you to be less anxious and be more productive. Think about your strengths and how they can help you achieve your goals.
  1. Have good sleep before any assessment Overnight studying consumes energy, which means during assessment time you’ll be left with low level of energy which may lead to poor results.
  1. Don’t eat chocolate instead have a short walk before your exam It’s wrongly believed that eating chocolate before an exam may boost your intellectual energy; although chocolate boosts your energy for the first half an hour it will drop below average after that. Instead have a walk; studies have proven that having 20 minutes of exercise before an exam can boost your scores.
Time Management Tips
  1. Understand How You Currently Use Your Time:
    • In order to build an excellent time management habit, understand how you are actually spending your time.
    • Log and track your daily tasks to understand which task takes up majority of your time, then organize and prioritize them.
  2. Plan Ahead:
    • Allocate plenty of time to organize and plan your assignments due dates, course obligations, meetings, events, and workshops.
    • It is recommended to use a calendar system (physical or virtual) to keep up with your daily/ weekly plans.
  3. Don’t Multitask:
    • Multitasking can decrease your productivity.
    • Prioritize your tasks and pay attention to the first three tasks that require the highest effort.
    • Create a traditional to-do list or use project management tools to organize your tasks.
  4. Avoid Distractions:
    • Don’t get distracted by surfing the web.
    • If you struggle with procrastination, get website blockers to minimize online browsing.
    • Set a timer to study, work uninterrupted and take breaks.
  5. Create Balance:
    • Build a schedule that helps you to get into a routine that works for your lifestyle with full dedication.
  6. Use Checklist:
    • To avoid forgetting your tasks, write down everything you need to get done and tick them off once accomplished.
    • Psychologically, a checklist is a tool that gives you quick hits of happiness when ticking off the boxes.
  7. Set Goals:
    • Setting goals is a great way that motivates you to accomplish your tasks.
    • When setting the goals, identify how you are going to achieve them; focus on what needs to get done to hit and surpass that goal.
  8. Breaking Projects:
    • In order to keep yourself focused and prevent procrastination, break large goals into small daily tasks.
    • It is more likely to procrastinate when you have a huge project to complete.
  9. Learn to delegate:
    • While continue studying, identify household and routine tasks that can be delegated to your family members or friends.
    • Freeing up a little time can help you stay focused on your studies.
  10. Break Time:
    • Allocate some time for yourself to relax and reflect on what you are doing and its significance.
    • Having an unorganized mind will make you unproductive in the long-term although you might be allocating plenty of time for your tasks.