Think of it as Social Media
Teaching an online class is similar to building a social media presence. You have an audience, a platform that requires frequently updated content, and an influx of comments and questions. All of this can be overwhelming as any famous Youtuber can attest, but with a few tips you can handle everything on your plate.
“I feel like I have to answer everyone’s questions all the time.”
No, you don’t. As the questions come in, choose a time for you that’s best to sit down and answer them. Take an hour out of your day every day to scroll through emails, discussion boards, yammer posts, and/or tweets and gather up the common questions. Unique questions can be answered directly to the student, but make use of Sakai’s announcements page to post one answer to all students for the common theme questions.
OR… Post a daily digest answering all the questions you received in the past 24 hours. That way, students can browse the post and see answers to questions they may not have had the nerve to ask.
Address Questions in Your VSI
If you have a quiet class during your virtual synchronous interaction session and you find that you don’t have enough content for the full hour, you can spend some time answering questions received throughout the week. Maybe students have been struggling with a specific concept or theory and it showed in the latest assignment. You can give further instruction during this face time session. This shows that you are paying attention to students’ needs and encourages in-class discussion.
So the next time you find yourself with an inbox full of student questions, you can take a minute to figure out the most efficient way of dealing with it. If you would like to know how to make an announcement post on Sakai, watch the video here.