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Tackling Online Classroom Challenges

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Lujean Baab, the director of M.Ed. programs at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa., discussed some of the challenges that arise in the online classroom and some strategies to help overcome those difficulties in a session called "Managing Mayhem" today at NECC. Although she made it through only the first part of her presentation, Baab explained that an important part of running an online classroom is establishing a relationship between the teacher and the students, as well as the students with their classmates.

One way to accomplish that, Baab said, is to create a student photo gallery so students can put a face to a name when chatting with their classmates. In addition, starting each course with a "getting to know you" questionnaire can help spark discussions and build connections between students.

Another important aspect of being an online teacher is remaining a "facilitator" without stepping over the line to "delegator," said Baab. Online teachers can keep themselves in check by asking students for anonymous feedback throughout the course to evaluate what kind of teaching method they are using and how it is being perceived by their students.

Much more information about this subject is in the PowerPoint presentation Baab used in her session.

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I'm very intrigued by these ideas. I teach 2 sections of an EDUC 100 class which meets only once a week and I've been trying to find ways to integrate more online participation as a way to improve engagement. I love the idea of creating the photo gallery, because most of my students are first years and don't really get to know one another. We do many ice breaker activities in class, but doing something online would also be beneficial. Thanks for including your PowerPoint.

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