Time Management Tips for Online Instructors

Online instructors understand the need to manage their time effectively. There is much more involved than reviewing papers and participating in class discussions. Classroom management involves continuous interactions that support students’ success, and creating conditions in the classroom that are conducive to learning. At times you may feel prepared and ready to meet the demands of a busy class and there may also be times when it feels as if you are running behind. The key to development of an effective time management plan is finding tools and techniques that maximize productivity and minimize any potential stress or missed deadlines.

Examine Your Current Schedule

For the next class week, keep a record of your time, duties, and classroom activities. What requirements were met ahead of schedule, on the required due date, or were late? How did you feel during the class week and at the end of the week? Did you experience stress at any time? Did you have any additional projects scheduled that were set aside for the next week? What were your strengths and areas of development? Summarize your week by carefully examining what worked well and what did not. This is the most productive method of developing a revised time management plan.

What are Your Teaching Goals?

You can develop a time management plan that works for you if you anchor it to the goals you have established for yourself as an instructor. For example, do you want to meet the minimum requirements necessary to facilitate your class or do you want to allocate additional time to find and share additional course materials and resources? How will you provide feedback? Many instructors find that they are more effective if the feedback is divided up over several days during the week as a means of avoiding the last minute rush to complete it. If that is applicable for you, your teaching goal might include allocating time each day for specific duties. The overarching goal is to meet or exceed the faculty expectations.

Time Management

As you create your time management plan watch out for any daily or weekly activities that can be eliminated. If you are doing anything that might be busy work, consider how much of your time it takes and how you might minimize it. The most common time waster is procrastination, which can be avoided if you have an organized plan for your classroom facilitation. A method of planning your time effectively is to begin your facilitation tasks early in the week.

As you schedule time for your facilitation duties each week, determine what is most important or rank your teaching goals according to the level of priority that you have assigned each one. Projects that have required deadlines, such as feedback or instructor participation, should be given top priority each week. You can make it manageable if you plan ahead and divide up larger tasks into smaller duties.

Time management tools that can help you organize your week include a calendar, to-do list, or schedule. Some instructors prefer to use a traditional paper planner and others utilize technological tools to stay organized. Whatever your preference may be, find something that will help you be mindful of the tasks that need to be completed so you can stay focused and meet all required deadlines. And if you discover any pockets of unexpected time, use it to review your schedule and work ahead.

Downtime for Renewal

As you develop and manage your schedule you will likely feel better prepared to meet the required facilitation duties and this in turn will reduce the potential for anxiety and stress. One method of proactively addressing stress is to consider your overall well-being, which includes your attitude, the way you eat, the method you use to manage your time, and the amount of sleep you get. The better you feel, the more likely you can cope effectively with stressful conditions.

Another method of addressing and eliminating stress is to analyze your energy level throughout the day and consider when you are the most productive. If possible, match the time of day that you have the most energy to the most difficult tasks because they will require the most concentration and focus.

It is unlikely that you can completely eliminate stress. There are going to be times as an instructor when classroom management, deadlines, and student interactions feel manageable and other times when all of these demands become too much. But you don’t need to let it get the best of you. Learn to become proactive by recognizing signs and symptoms. Schedule downtime to allow yourself a chance to feel renewed and increase your productivity.

Be In Control of Your Time

There are many expectations and requirements in place for an online instructor. Meeting the facilitation duties and deadlines each week can be challenging at times, especially for adjunct instructors. Develop a list that includes everything needed to be completed each week, along with any additional projects or time you want to devote to creating a meaningful learning environment. Develop a plan that schedules or allocates a specific amount of time for each duty and stay focused on your teaching goals. You will likely feel better prepared and in control so that teaching is enjoyable and not always stressful.

Tips for Effective Delivery of a Live Online Class

Online teaching is a demanding process, requiring your utmost attention for the delivery of the most suitable online class. In case you want to know how to sell a training course, first, you need to make it effective and appealing to the vast majority of students. If you cannot keep them engaged and motivated, there is no reason why they should continue using your own videos. Instead, they will look elsewhere. Here are some things that you will find intriguing when it comes to sell training options:

First and foremost, you ought to make sure that you prepare the online class as well as you can. This means that you need to transform some of your class material because not all fits in an online course. You do not want to bore your audience with uninspiring educational material when you can adjust your resources to the contemporary needs of your students.

Another thing that you ought to focus on is the ongoing communication and frequent feedback as to the progress of each student. You must be kept approachable, as this is the backbone of how to sell a training service. With feedback and notes on progress, every student is able to see how he performs in the class. As a result, students will know if they are doing OK and if they can do anything to improve over time.

You need to assign projects and exercises to the students, obliging them to complete them and send them over for evaluation. If you do not stress out the mandatory character of these assignments, chances are that not many students will actually complete them. Keep in mind, though, that more time is needed for online assignments to complete than it would in a regular course.

Motivate your students and be strict as to deadlines. Online classes can either turn to be tedious or chaotic, in terms of deadlines. Make use of the timeline you have set on your mind at the beginning of the class and stick to it. Let your students know in advance when their assignments are due and when they will take their final tests. Offer them motivation and increase collaboration among them.

Finally, keep things simple. Even though you may be tempted to use sophisticated modules and advanced technology for your online class, you will be better off with something simple and straightforward. When you sell training material online, you ought to be sure of the impact on your students. Do not baffle them with overly difficult interface and details that do not matter to them.

Top Four Tips to Succeed in an Online Class

Enrollment in online education is at an all-time high. More students are going back to school to complete their degree or pursue higher education than ever before. Adult learners love online classes due to their convenience, flexibility, and cost savings. One of the main concerns a new student has is if they can handle an accelerated online class along with work and their family obligations. In this article we are going to discuss four tips to help a new online student succeed in a course.

First and foremost, make sure you have enough time set aside per week to complete your assignments. Many students are overwhelmed in their first couple of classes because they are not prepared. Students should ask their advisor how much time an average students spend per week in a class. If you are a new online student you should add 5-10 hours on top of that. Make sure to have a set schedule of when you will be studying and completing your assignments each week.

Second, students should have the support of their family and friends. Things will come up when you will have to ask for some help from loved ones. You may need a babysitter so you can concentrate on a big paper or just a friend to talk to. Make sure your family and friends know about your online classes and will support you throughout the program.

Before classes begin make sure to have all of the reading materials you need for the class. If you need to purchase a book, make sure you have it shipped well before the first day of class. If you need access to online lectures, videos, or articles make sure you know how to access them prior to the first day of class. Also, make sure you have all of the up to date computer software you need to be successful. If you have a MAC make sure the online course is compatible. If you have a PC make sure you have updated windows and Microsoft Office.

Once classes begin you should have easy access to important contact information. You want to be able to call or email your professor, academic advisor, and classmates. You also want the number to the IT helpdesk in case you experience any issues.

As you can see online courses are very popular but can be a very daunting experience if you are not prepared for them. Each class is a little different, but hopefully these tips help you along your journey.

Online Learning – Training Webinar Success Tips

If you think that face-to-face training is the best way to do training, think again. New research shows that a blended approach produces 35-69 percent better outcomes than face-to-face alone.

What’s a blended approach? It’s a mixture of delivery modes, put together in a pattern to create the best result. For example, a blended course might involve one full day face-to-face, followed by several one-hour webinars delivered sequentially across a number of weeks. Another example might include a self-paced DVD program, followed by three two-hour webinars, followed by a live one-to-one coaching session.

The blended approach delivers even higher value than its impact on results in the workplace. It’s also an important part of reducing the need to travel for the training. Time in training sessions is time away from the job, so many employers are happier with training at the desktop that lasts only an hour or two. In addition, corporations worldwide are eager to eliminate travel, weather across town or halfway around the world. So, when your business offers part or all of its training online, you have a competitive advantage that companies that hire you will value.

So if your business delivers training services, it’s important to take a fresh look at how to restructure your training offerings to provide a significantly higher impact. If you plan on doing some live online training via Web conference technology, here are some success factors to help.

  • Keep your online learning session short.

    For training webinars, limit each session to one to two hours. One hour is best, but two hours works well when the training is interactive enough.

  • Tell students not to take notes, but instead to enjoy the experience of learning together.

    Promise your student participants a handout at the end of the session that captures all of the notes on the slides. If your slides are proprietary, you don’t have to give them a copy. Instead, give them a high-value handout that details the critical points, lists, and actions that are required for your participants to be successful. In an online learning environment, a short and focused PDF handout is better than long and comprehensive book.

  • Design your training webinar for vigorous, relevant, and continuous interaction.

    The toughest audience in the world is one that links from the desktop. At any moment in time, people are seconds a way from multitasking.

    The only way to keep people from multitasking is to create

    (1) extremely high value content,

    (2) delivered at a brisk pace,

    (3) intermixed with constant interaction that adds value to the experience of learning at that moment.

    When online trainers can’t see the students’ nonverbal cues, s/he has to be even more deliberate in building high quality interaction throughout the session.

  • Have students meet from individual desktops, not a conference room.

    To get the highest level of interaction, it’s best if each student links separately to the Web conference online learning session. That lets every student be able to participate easily and quickly in polls, chat discussions, imitation feedback, and voice interaction. When students meet from a conference room, sharing a computer inhibits rapid interaction that is needed to keep everyone else engaged. No one must be disadvantaged by location from being a full and equal participant in the learning.

  • Design your slides for brain appeal.

    Your students cannot see your face. But they can be very engaged by the PowerPoint slides that you use in your training webinar. Avoid standard Microsoft PowerPoint templates. Instead, find commercial templates that better express the theme of your training. Avoid clipart. Instead, use commercially available photo art and photo images. Avoid standard formatting. Instead, skillfully learn how to create and design slides that engaged the attention of your desktop students.

  • Team teach online learning sessions when you can.

    With experience and training, a single person can manage all aspects of an online learning session. But it’s better to team teach in your initial training webinars. For example, while one person instructs, the other annotates, manages polls, sets up chat discussions, observes the participation of the students, and asks questions to keep interaction going.

  • End with an online version of a standing ovation.

    You know that when you have delivered an excellent learning session. Students are eager to say how much they enjoyed the experience of learning with you. In an online learning environment, many trainers don’t get that feedback. Before you end the online learning session, ask students to use chat to tell you what they learned that they will apply. Encourage them make several entries. Then a moment later ask them what they enjoyed most about the class. They will be able to share their comments with the group or with you privately, as you specify. If you ask your student participants to share their comments publicly in chat, everyone will see dozens of positive comments that reinforce the high-value of your content as well as a very enjoyable interactive session, too.

  • End the online learning session with a three-minute online survey.

    Most Web conference platforms will allow you to drop the student off at a website where you can poll them on the metrics that show the value of your online learning program or session. If a company hired you (vs. individuals), summarize the information from the feedback form, and send it to the client. If students registered independently, neutralize the feedback and post the data on your website, along with quotes (of course, by permission).