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7 Tips for distance learning

While students in LVPs and PIs usually know exactly what is expected of them, distance mode is a new format for students as well. Hence, it helps if you formulate your expectations explicitly (participation in synchronous meetings, timely submission of assignments via MyLEARN, collaboration in virtual groups, etc.). You can do this, for example, directly as an addendum in the syllabus, as text information in a content page on the first level of “learning activities” or as an “announcement” in the course with the setting "show it permanently". This way, students will see the central information on the homepage of your course whenever they access it.

In order to help your students to organize themselves during the semester, you can manually create important appointments (e.g. new synchronous activities such as chat, forum activity, team meeting, web streaming, etc.) in the calendar of your course on MyLEARN. Whenever you create mandatory learning activities in your course, students will see them in their ToDo-list on MyLEARN.

Plan your course over the semester in a way that you are in contact with your students at least once a week, e.g. by e-mail or via web conferences. By doing this, you can compensate at least a little bit for the lack of the personal exchange which automatically happens in the classroom. It is important that you meet each other in virtual space, regardless of the tool you use.

Although asynchronous formats are preferable in the current situation, you should think about scheduling occasional synchronous formats as well. Take a close look at your course and consider which contents could be particularly suitable for a synchronous format. Giving feedback to small groups, for example, can be done in short video meetings. Short inputs followed by a discussion can be managed well in synchronous settings. For synchronous formats, you can use Microsoft Teams.

In contrast to classroom teaching, where you can meet students regularly and supervise their group work, for distance mode it is advisable to plan smaller work assignments. With the help of milestones, you provide a stronger structure for the students, which makes it easier for them to "keep up" with the task. If you create work assignments via MyLEARN, they will appear in the students' ToDo list, making self-organisation easier for them.

It is easier for students to stay on track if they receive regular (even automated) feedback on their work. In this case, short comments on student performance, automated scoring or regular short MC-tests are sufficient. With the grade book, MyLEARN offers you an easy way to inform students about their individual performance.

In order to enable students to cope well with the specific challenges of distance mode, it helps if they regularly receive assignments that require interaction with others. You can achieve this through team and group work, or through interaction and communication assignments in chats, forums, virtual meetings etc. Interaction promotes a sense of community and, as a result, motivation and commitment.  Please keep in mind that virtual group work requires more effort of the students than face-to-face-group work.