I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on related to teaching online. It is clear to me that you can’t just take classroom content, out it online, and get good results. There’s a skill to it, a revision of practices, a new set of considerations.
It has been equally clear—and is now official—that fall classes at most Ontario institutions will be delivered online. There may be exceptions for labs especially as restrictions get slowly lifted, but they will be limited. So for me that means putting my classes all online.
It doesn’t bother me. In fact I find the challenge exciting. I enjoy the mindful transition of putting material online when I have hybrid classes or when it snows at 830 am and I want students to have options, however, I’ve never taught a class fully online.
This is that opportunity.
A few years back at the Celebrate Great Teaching retreat I was invited to attend, I got my hands on Small Teaching by James Lang and read it in one go under a tree by a lake. It reinforced a bunch of things I’d been doing right and introduced me to new ideas. It’s on my recommended books for pedagogy.
So having been introduced to Flower Darby, an online educator on Twitter, and upon discovering she collaborated with James Lang, it was an easy decision to buy Small Teaching Online which I’m currently about halfway through.
And when things get tough or answers seem elusive, I retreat to my terrace and immerse myself in these books, reminding myself that no matter what lies ahead, it’s important to stay grounded. This pedagogical refresh is a valuable way to re-center my understanding of what it is to teach students in an uncertain world.