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Online Coursework

The unique situation, in which we now find ourselves, means that teaching on the university is reserved exclusively the internet. The situation is unfamiliar to all of us, we have therefore collected some tips for your online coursework.

Teachers and students alike must adapt to this new situation, and acclimatize to the new state of affairs. Under these new circumstances will have the effect that your teacher or fellow students may seem farther away or more detached than usual. Your teacher will undoubtedly share this experience with you. Bellow, you will find a list of good advice and best practices for navigating this situation, and taking charge of your own learning process and lesson plan. For you this might be structuring your workday, establishing an online study group or collaborating with a study partner.

Coursework moved online

Many of your accustomed study activities will continue to be relevant, though with some changes. You may still work in study groups, take notes, complete assignments, study for classes – now though with morning hair. In addition, the increased amount of online teaching will provide you with more flexibility in your everyday life, which in turn demands some more self-discipline and structuring from you.

Structuring your online workday

In an online course, the border between leisure and time for study may become harder to discern. The risk of being distracted is greatly increased in an online workday. But by structuring your time, you can focus on your coursework in a certain space of time, then “reward” yourself afterward with cat-videos or online shopping.

It does not matter whether you have all the time in the world and have a hard time motivating yourself, or if you are juggling a full-time job, kids and a student job, mapping out your assignments and coursework is a good idea. By structuring your workday, maintaining a balance between work-hours and leisure time is simpler, and it can help you to participate in meaningful study activities, such as working with your study or reading group.

Suggested activities

Make a checklist

When you make a priority checklist of your assignments and coursework, you can make your progress visible by marking, when you have completed each assignment. This can keep you motivated along the way. You can then look forward to “getting of work”, as you complete the list.

Divide the day into different segments.

It can be hard to maintain focus, when sitting in front of a screen all day. It may be an advantage to break the day up into study time, on the one hand, and breaks on the other. It is important to factor breaks in your schedule to avoid excessive procrastination

  • Have short sequences of studying.
    Use the pomodoro-method (PDF) to devide the the work day, and include breaks for food, going for a walk or browsing Facebook.

  • Make a schedule for individual days or the entire week.
    Remember to be realistic in your planning. Put your regular scheduled classes, group work and coursework(selvstudie) in your time table.

Make plans to meet regularly online with your fellow students.

You can, for example, meet up through a videoconference call or arrange deadlines to each of your study groups individual coursework. Having arrangements with fellow students can help by giving each other a sense of obligation, and in addition, it can also help to structure your everyday life.

  • Arrange daily check-in meetings.
    You could, for example, allocate a half an hour each morning to meet up with your reading group, to talk about the daily coursework. It could be a group project or your individual workload. In this way you will all have a commitment that will get you out of bed, that can give you a chance to get an overview tasks at hand and progress report on yesterday’s work.

  • Schedule regular coffee meetings.
    Arrange to meet with a couple of your fellow students on a group  telephone or video conference call for coffee or a lunch break. Hold et fast kaffe- eller frokostmøde med et par af dine medstuderende på videomøde eller fælles telefonmøde. The transition to an online course can be challenging at times, and it is therefore a good idea to carry on with your daily social contact. In this space you can share thoughts and discuss your coursework. Daily get togethers will give you a chance have other social inputs, even though it is with your fellow students.

Stay focused

If you are easily distracted, there are multiple apps that control, which sites you can visit in a certain time. By using programs such as selfcontrol or fokus it will be easier to get a hold on your urge to procrastinate.

Take a break

It is important to take breaks during your day and to allow yourself to take time off. This can, for example, be done as social online lunch breaks with some of your fellow students. You can also take a walk, get some food, clean the apartment, call your grandmother or participate in an online Friday bar.

Online collaboration

When teaching is relocated to the online space, there will often be a greater need for you to collaborate with your fellow students. This can give you social obligations and moreover structure in a workday that is spent mostly alone. Group work centred on projects and assignments can be conducted online through written collaboration tools.

Suggested activities

Match expectations in the group for your online collaboration.

Should you meet every day, delegate the work or just talk about texts, projects or teaching? How should you meet, when in the day and how often? Should you discuss as you are working or should work be delegated out followed by a discussion, when you have done each of your parts? How will you share the workload between you? Find inspiration in our article good collaboration.

Conduct daily video-conference meetings at a specified time.

You can arrange, for example, to meet up with your group on a video call every weekday at 11 am. That way you can all get something done before the meet up, then discuss your findings during the meeting and agree who should do what before the next meeting.

Divide the texts between you and make notes for common use.

By dividing the tasks your workload can be reduced. This will offer you the possibility of focusing on certain texts while only skimming others. You can then all together review the texts and share your notes in common. Read more about reading and notetaking.

Online video conferencing during work.

In connection with certain types of group work, it may be advantageous to discuss and talk while you are working on your coursework. This way you can continuously discuss the questions, possibilities and challenges of the assignment.

Make an agenda for your video meetings in a shared document

That way, you can make notes continuously, whether you have questions about day’s coursework, or what deadlines you have and how to solve the tasks.

    

    

Online teaching sessions

This situation is new for all of us, and we are all learning how to deal with it. There are many ways to teach online - some teachers will conduct their classes over video conferencing, while others record their presentations and post them online along with individual or group assignments.

Suggested activities

Be prepared for the class.

Since the teacher can’t read the atmosphere of the room, in the same way as with physical attendance, it is now even more important to be well prepared. Online lectures are structured around, and will often rely heavily on everyone being well prepared. Read more about how to be well prepared

Interact with your teacher

Many teachers are finding themselves in a new situation, and online teaching does not allow for the same instant nonverbal feedback, that regular teaching does. Your constructive criticism and feedback can be the basis for your teacher to make the right adjustments and improvements for a better teaching experience. 

  • Set expectations with your teacher

    In order for the teaching to work for all parties involved, it is helpful for the teacher, that you talk with her about both your expectations to each other in the online course. Does your teacher, for example, want an ongoing comments or mails? Is your teacher available at certain times of the day or week? Can a discussion board be created in Blackboard, with the possibility of anonymously submitting questions or suggestions? Should the classes be recorded?  Should the students have the possibility to freely interrupt the teaching questions, or should there be an established procedure for how to speak in class?
  • Give your feedback to your teacher

    It can be helpful to the teacher, to say what aspect of the classes are going well and where there is room for improvement. This may be achieved by setting up a discussion forum in Blackboard with the possivility of submitting questions and comments anonymously.

    You should specify which needs you may experience. Should there be questions for discussions in group work? Should assignments be more or less individual? Should the teacher provide additional material, to help with self-study?

Coping with the absence of your teacher

It can be frustrating that your teacher seems farther away or absent than normal. Your teacher will most likely have the same experience. Therefore, feel free to contact the teacher, but use the channels and times your teacher has proposed.

Be an active participant

You can help your teacher along the way in the class by being an active participant. For example, during the video conferences, you can use your body language or nod to indicate that you understand the content or are otherwise engaged in what is being said. Also join the chat and use the features afforded by the program, such as chat, discussion forums, menti-polls. Teaching online will make the teacher feel very isolated, since there is no one present in the room. The teacher therefore relies on your feedback before knowing if the content makes sense and whether you are engaged. Read more about it in the article below called ’how to have successful online meetings’.

Talk to your study group after each online teaching session 

Talk to your study group after each online teaching session. By discussing the academic content presented in the teaching session, you and your study group get to understand each of your outputs from the teaching session. You can also discuss the parts of content you had trouble understanding or if you have understood something differently. In this way, the online group meetings after class can help reducing the risk of academic misunderstandings. Read more about how to use your study group.

How to have successful online meetings

Minor details can be frustrating during an online meeting or in online teaching. It is therefore important that everyone makes an effort to create a positive culture for online meetings.

Suggested activities

High quality sound

Ensuring that you have as high-quality sound as possible during online video conferencing is important. You will need to limit background noise and possibly use a headset with a microphone.

Mute your microphone

In a crowded teaching situation, you should mute your microphone when you do not wish to speak. Listening to paper being ruffled, sipping coffee, or a dog barking in the background can be disruptive.

Webcam

For starters, switch on your webcam, so the other participants can see you. The experience already feels detached, so showing your presence can give everyone a better online meeting. You will also give the others in the online meeting eyes and ears to talk to and give visual confirmation that you are listening actively or what has been presented makes sense. If there are many participants or there is poor connection, it is a good idea to turn off the camera.

Sharing your screen

Screen sharing is a visual element that can help fellow students understand / follow your pointers. Share your screen or relevant documents with teachers and other students - remember to coordinate screen sharing with the teacher. 

Bad connection

If you are experiencing a poor connection, it can help to close the video, so that you are not wasting your bandwidth on a fuzzy image. Therefore, close your videolink so that the audio comes through more clearly.

OBS: This site is currently under construction and will be updated continually.


Technical guides

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