lifevests

You know Pareto’s 80/20 principle. Well, it applies in online teaching in so many ways. We are going to focus on just one. In the online environment it’s easy to sink a lot of time and energy into work that has little benefit. Why? Because we don’t get the immediate feedback we are used to in the face-to-face classroom. Because of this, some of our students (typically 10-20%) can fall between the cracks.
The good news is that most students just need to to:

1) See them

2) Give them encouragement and a targeted way to improve.

But to see them and throw them a life vest,  we first have to know how to identify them.

There are two metrics we can use to do this:

1. Last Access Date. Go into your course participants list and sort it by last access. Look at the bottom 20% of students, the ones who have not logged in for a while. At the college and graduate level, anything past 5 days is a red flag. Teaching High School classes, it was 3 days. This will really depend on the expectations you and your learners have developed.

2. Grades. Pop into the online gradebook and note the course average. Sort your gradebook by grades, and note the bottom 20%.

By doing both of these, you’ll have a snapshot of your class. I like to think of it as a three minute triage.
From there you can email students, encourage them, and give them targeted ways to improve.
More on that in Tip #2

Photo by Nomad Tales

Aaron Johnson


I want to see online educators move technology into the background so that they can do what they do best--teaching. My hope is to help teachers transition from face-to-face settings to the online classroom with a sense of confidence gained through the competence they develop.

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