Online teaching is increasingly becoming a standard part of any educator’s job. While online teaching has been growing in popularity for years, the pandemic has accelerated interest in this style of learning opportunities. But all online teaching platforms are not created equal, and teachers need to consider many factors when it comes to choosing the best solution for their needs.
- How Teachers Should Choose Their Online Teaching Platform
- Further Considerations When Choosing an Online Teaching Platform
- Top 5 Online Teaching Platforms For Teachers
- Online Teaching Best Practices
How Teachers Should Choose Their Online Teaching Platform
Having the right online teaching platform for your class needs is essential. Here are some of the issues teachers should consider as they make their choice.
Online teaching platforms should be easy to use
Teaching is hard; setting up your virtual classroom shouldn’t be. You’ll want to choose an online teaching platform that’s simple to use. This means no complicated software installations, special hardware, or other obstacles between you and your students. Look for an online teaching platform that allows teachers and students to enter the classroom with a single click.
Online teaching platforms for teachers need to be technology agnostic
Today’s virtual students attend online classes from a range of platforms and operating systems. Desktops, laptops, tablets, and even mobile phones are common. You’ll want to make sure your students can access your virtual platform with the technology they already have. For this reason, it’s essential to choose an online teaching solution that works with the wide variety of student technology out there.
Interactive features are essential to online teaching platforms for teachers
Online classes are different than in-person classes. But that doesn’t mean they need to be any less engaging. Not only will your skills as an educator keep students engaged, but the online teaching platform you choose will also be part of what keeps your learners tuned in. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure to select an online teaching platform that gives teachers a range of ways to engage their students. This can include live interactive quizzes and polls, opportunities for students to ask questions or even lead the class, and text-based chat right alongside your presentation.
Collaboration tools are where the best online teaching platforms truly shine
Shared note-taking ability. Break-out rooms. Collaborative whiteboards. These are just some of the interactive tools that emphasize collaboration that are available in some of the online teaching platforms for teachers. If teaching your students how to work together is a top priority for you, solutions with these options should be at the top of your list. Collaboration is also a great way to boost student engagement and build bonds between your students.
Security Features Are Also An Important Part of Any Online Teaching Platform
While it’s important your students have easy access to their virtual classroom, you don’t want anyone who shouldn’t be there to show up and you don’t want your class disrupted by bad actors on the Internet. You’ll also want to make sure student data and your class materials are protected. For all these reasons, you’ll want to look into the security features of any online teaching platform you’re considering.
Analytics Can Help You Better Understand Your Students’ Needs
Online teaching platforms for teachers generally include analytic features that can help you track student performance and participation. What content is popular? What resources are being neglected? Are students remembering to download their assignments? And are they watching pre-recorded lectures in full? These are just some of the things that online teaching platform analytics can tell you. Make sure you choose an option that allows you to most effectively support your students.
Further Considerations When Choosing an Online Teaching Platform
In addition to considering all the issues above, those looking for an online teaching platform should also consider the three additional issues below.
Consider Online Teaching Platforms That Offer LMS Integration
If your institution uses an LMS, you’ll want to be sure you select an online teaching platform that can integrate with the product you already have in place. This will enhance the benefits both of your LMS and the online teaching platform for teachers that you select.
How Many Simultaneous Classrooms Can Your Online Teaching Platform Support?
Maybe your institution hosts only a handful of online classes a week; maybe it hosts hundreds. Be sure to consider your capacity needs when evaluating online teaching platforms.
Can Your Online Teaching Platform Also Capture In-Person Lectures For Online Class Use?
If your institution is currently offering – or looking to offer – hybrid and hyflex classes in the future, you’ll want to be sure to consider online teaching platforms that can also work with lecture capture solutions.
Top 5 Online Teaching Platforms for Teachers:
Kaltura’s Virtual Classroom checks all the boxes in terms of what teachers should be looking for in their online teaching platforms.
One-click online classroom access means it’s easy to use for students and teachers alike regardless of the type of device people are logging in from. Interactive features keep students engaged, and collaboration tools support group activities and student-to-student connections The platform can also help students access a wide variety of resources including video, presentations, and reading assignments. Security features keep the online classroom protected, and robust, finely sliced analytics allow teachers to truly understand how resources are being used and which students need more support.
Kaltura Virtual Classroom is built with you, the teacher, in mind. The best way to see what kaltura Virtual Classroom can do for you and your students is to give it a go with a free trial so you can test all of its useful features before committing.
WizIQ offers an online teaching platform that is video conferencing focused. It does offer some interactive and collaborative features, including polls, surveys, and whiteboards. Some analytics are available as are basic security and moderation options.
BrightSpace is a virtual classroom tool. Like other offerings, it allows some sharing of resources with students, including PDFs, videos, and live-screensharing. Basic interactive and collaborative tools are available. Its security features have recently been upgraded and its analytics can help teachers assess student participation.
Online Teaching Best Practices
No matter which online teaching platform for teachers you choose, you will want to keep some best practices in mind. These include:
- Always do a test run of your equipment and set-up before the first day of online teaching.
- Be sure to set up your online classroom space in advance. This includes both the shared virtual space students will be logging into and the location from which you’ll be teaching and communicating with students – after all, it will be on camera!
- Transferring traditionally in-person classes to online will result in some format changes. Be prepared to develop some new materials that take full advantage of your online teaching platform’s capabilities.
- Consider pre-recording lectures for students to view on their own time, so classroom time can focus on questions and discussion.
- Don’t limit your use of your online teaching platform just to classroom hours. Consider holding virtual office hours too.
- Collaboration and group projects are a great way to keep students engaged in online classrooms. But to have the most success, be sure to educate students on group dynamics and problem solving and to check in on group projects regularly.
- Offer students opportunities to lead the online classroom on specific topics you assign. Teaching is a great way to learn. It also provides one more way for students to get to know each other in the virtual setting.
- Regularly review analytics and act on your findings. If students keep reviewing the same material, perhaps they need additional support in learning it. Also, look to see if students are getting to the end of pre-recorded videos. If they aren’t consider breaking up the material into smaller pieces. Analytics are less about looking for student bad behavior than they are about making sure your students are having their needs met. Analytics can also help you improve your teaching.
Choosing an online teaching platform as a teacher is a big step that will shape how you connect with and teach your students. But the right platform can help you become an even more dynamic instructor and support your students – no matter where in the world they may be.
Looking to set up your online teaching platform? Try Kaltura for free, today!