Teach Talk: Remind, Routine, Randomize.

Like all of my colleagues, I was forced to move class content to an online format when the pandemic hit.  I encountered a few stumbles along the way and learned some valuable lessons.  While the conversion was far from perfect, I think I got a few things right. 

Here are my 3 R’s of teaching online during a pandemic.  R1: Remind.  Especially when the pandemic first hit, everyone was overwhelmed with information.  It was easy to forget assignments and due dates.  Reminding students through Canvas announcements, emails, and verbal messages was more important than ever. 

R2 (skip the D2): Routine.  How can a student manage an increasingly chaotic world?  Besides multiple reminders, having a weekly routine can be comforting.  I had the same pattern of assignments each week- a quiz on Tuesday then two assignments on Friday.  Then repeat, for 15 weeks. 

R3:  Randomize.  An unfortunate side effect of an online environment is the propensity to cheat.  GroupMe (better known as CheatWithMe) and other digital forums became havens for sharing answers and violating the honor code.  Randomizing questions and answer choices was a key for minimizing undesirable behavior.  I continue to tweak and update policies and content but the 3 R’s are cornerstones of my courses.

Dr. Calhoun is a Lecturer in the Department of Economics and the Assistant Director of the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education at Florida State University. You can learn more about Dr. Calhoun here.

The feature image is from Pexels.

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