The Challenges of Teaching Online

teaching online during a pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic hit many businesses and institutions, throwing the traditional teaching methods into disarray.

Throwback to early March 2020. The coronavirus pandemic hit many businesses and institutions hard, throwing the traditional teaching methods into disarray. Most institutions closed or moved fully remote, making students and their professors adapt to new modes of learning. The situation has led to many educators teaching online for the first time, where technology and the internet are being used to pass information from teachers to students, and vice-versa. Regardless of its usefulness during this pandemic, online teaching has its challenges. Read more to find out the challenges and ways to improve the effectiveness of teaching online.

Tips for transitioning to online teaching

Transitioning to online teaching has been extremely difficult and challenging for most educators and students. Most schools and professors have had a hard time making the concept work since they may face many challenges, including unreliable internet connections, lack of gadgets and effective tools, and adapting new learning methods. If you are a professor and are already teaching online, here are some tips to make the transition smoother.

1. Be clear on priorities

First, you need to know your priorities and that of your students. You don't have to cover the basics or information that's readily available online. Ensure you have a good foundation and take time to communicate with students about their challenges. You also have to consider which tools to use when teaching online, including broadcasting equipment and how to possibly record lessons and lecture content for students who are not always online. Save time, improve the quality of peer assessment, increase the amount of feedback students provide, and increase the accuracy of assessment by utilizing our repository of customized rubrics.

2. Communicate and keep students engaged

Ensure to reach out to your students on your expectations and know of any challenges they are facing, including the technology breakdown. This idea avoids the challenges of moving to fast to teaching online. Ensure everyone is on the same page and understand each student's level of engagement. [1]

3. Facilitate remote collaboration

Collaboration between students is essential. Unfortunately, that's not achievable due to social distancing measures and students staying at home. It's vital to enhance collaborative problem-solving by giving students specific tasks and focus on constructive feedback from the class. Professors are using team-based learning and other unique activities in Kritik to facilitate remote collaboration.

4. Keep your students Active

Ensure students are active in breadth, depth, and quality during their online learning. You can enhance this by encouraging them to do independent research to develop skills. You can imply more marks to research to promote this idea.

5. Time Management

you need to manage your teaching time well. Students will likely have more queries, taking much of your office hours and other time. You can have specific class hours and provide emails for sending assignments and other questions. Kritik enables a simplified workflow for professors which saves them time. Also, Kritik's use of peer assessment that is accurate and quality ends up saving professors 100+ hours per term on grading.

What are the challenges of online learning?

Several challenges are happening in online teaching. Some of these challenges facing professors include:

1. Work organization and time management

Most teachers are required to move to online teaching almost immediately with no training and tools. Most of them have to use numerous e-learning tools making the whole process overwhelming. [3]. They are supposed to attend to students virtually, handle bulk information, and prepare for their teaching strategy. Most stay up to ten hours carrying out teaching practices, including cleaning up messes, streamlining processes, and affecting learning, which is intimidating. Kritik saves 100+ hours per term on grading due to calibrated peer review and streamlined workflows.

2. Technology shortage

Not all students and teachers have gadgets to enable them to learn and teach online, respectively. Some are sharing laptops, while other students lag for totally missing these gadgets. Such is giving professors a hard time keeping all students at the same pace.

3. Connectivity

Currently, around the world, there is massive use of internet and streaming services, making it tough to stay connected. There is an increased use of video streaming software, online learning systems, and digital tools. This overloading has led to internet problems, poor quality video and audio, downtime, and connection losses between teachers and students. Most teachers are trying to manage the connection issues, affecting the learning process.

4. Computer literacy

Most teachers, parents, and students got caught unaware and did not know about learning management or streaming systems. With the data and setups required, the whole process is becoming overwhelming to teachers and students.

5. Hard of hearing students

Most hard of hearing students find it difficult to study since there are no interpreters online for their needs. This situation makes them undergo a double problem of what average students are experiencing. At Kritik, We believe in equal learning opportunities for all and comply with all WCAG 2.0 guidelines. We are driven to continuously design and iterate our website and product suite to remain accessible for all users.

6. Data privacy and insecurity

With hackers and other cyber crimes, it's becoming unsafe learning online due to data infringement and hackers sending harmful content during class streaming affecting teachers and students. Most students also don't know how to protect their devices, making the whole class prone to cyber-attacks. Kritik takes data privacy and security very seriously and is FERPA compliant and hosts our servers in the US or Canada, depending on the institution we work with.

How to make online learning more engaging?

As a professor, there are many ways you can make an online class engaging. Some of these include:

  • Ask for Feedback: You can ignite feedback from your students by imposing relevant questions requiring immediate answers. 
  • Let students choose their learning way: selecting topics and units and then picking what's relevant to all. This idea will make everyone engaged in what they need to learn. Ensure it's within their scope.
  • Make the learning social: You can put some social touches to your teaching by sharing and commenting on topics discussed, making everyone interactive. 
  • Invite learners to contribute to teachings: Do not be the only one to talk during the whole teaching online session. Let the students contribute.
  • Encourage Peer Evaluation: Let students view everyone's work to understand what each one is doing. This idea also creates a sharing culture among the students while learning online. Teaching online is now more important after covid became part of our everyday life. Kritik's innovative and calibrated peer evaluation platform that ensures students are rewarded for providing meaningful and quality evaluations of their fellow students. [3]

Institutions and professors need to be upgrading with technology to ensure their students adapt to this learning method, which might stay forever as long as the pandemic is here. With its success, the module can get embraced and remain even after the pandemic.




Carine Marette
Carine is the Co-Founder of Kritik.