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Workload & Time Management (pt 2)

October 10, 2019

Hello and thank you for viewing Manage Your
Time & Reduce Your Workload, part 2 – a presentation brought to you by Sloan-C. We know how busy you are so we want to provide
you with some strategies and techniques to help you save time and reduce your workload. These tips and strategies come from experienced
online teachers who have tested and refined their strategies over the years. We think
you will find them extremely practical and valuable. Whether you teach face-to-face, blended, or
online courses, good teaching takes time! As face-to-face teachers, most of us already
have strategies in place to reduce workload and save time. However, in the online and blended learning
environments, many of those strategies don’t really work. So, it is time for some new strategies! In part 1 of this presentation, I shared some
time-saving and workload-reducing strategies that you can use as you are developing and
organizing your online course. Now, in part 2, I’ll move to tips and strategies
to help you save time and reduce your workload while you are actually teaching your online
course. There are many things you can do while teaching
to reduce your workload and save time. During this part of the presentation, we’ll
be talking about how you can save time and reduce your work by having a clear communication
plan, using course announcements and a Help forum, and through specific discussion facilitation
strategies and feedback techniques. Having a clear communication plan, and sharing
that information with your students, is a big time-saver. Your communication plan should include which
tools you will use to convey what types of information and how you will manage those
communications Email, forums, announcements, instant messaging,
and chat are four primary communication tools you have in your Learning Management System. Some of these are useful for group communication
while others are better for individual communication. For example, choosing to use a forum to communicate
information that will benefit the entire group is more preferable than answering the same
question in email from several students. Additionally, some communications benefit
more from a synchronous tool while others benefit more from asynchronous tools. Once you’ve decided what communication tools
you will use in which circumstances, provide that information to your students. You should let them know which tools are appropriate
for which types of communication. Additionally, you should tell them about your availability
and expected response time for each. You should definitely leverage course announcements
as part of your communication plan. Course Announcements are a great way to keep
students in the loop for what is happening and coming up in class. It is a good idea to provide a weekly announcement
that summarizes key concepts for the week and also alerts students to upcoming assignments,
informs them about past performance, and addresses frequently asked questions. Weekly announcements can definitely save you
time by keeping the group on track and by answering questions relevant to everyone. To really leverage course announcements, you’ll
need to develop a strategy. Length, timing, and tone of message as well as format (i.e.
text, audio, video) of the message are important considerations. Keep a record of which announcements get positive
results (increased engagement, timelier assignment submissions, fewer administrative questions…)
to help you determine your optimal format. Another excellent tool for your communication
plan is the help forum. This is a great place to have students ask their questions so your
responses can be viewed by everyone. To really leverage the help forum, you should
let your students know exactly what types of questions can be asked, who will be responding,
and how soon students can expect a response. You should also provide tips on how to effectively
ask and answer questions. The types of questions to be addressed in
a forum is up to you. Some teachers prefer to have one help forum for all types of questions;
others prefer to have separate help forums for different types of questions. For example, they may have a “technical
help” forum, an “assignment help” forum, and others. Either works fine, but just be
sure to state exactly what type of questions are appropriate for the forum or forums that
you’re using. Help forums can really save you time if you
also enlist the help of everyone to respond to those questions. This is especially true
for those technical questions about the Learning Management System or other tools you’re
using. Just give everyone some tips on how to respond
effectively! Discussions can be fantastic for learning,
but facilitating those discussions can take time. However, there are quite a few strategies
you can use to facilitate discussions effectively and efficiently. Three strategies for reducing workload and
saving time include using small group discussions, group replies, and audio or video replies. One way to manage discussions is to break
students into smaller groups, let them discuss and then have one person post a summary of
their discussions. You would reply to the summary post instead
of replying to individual students. Another way to save some time is to read through
everyone’s posts and take notes. Then, craft a reply to the whole group and in that post,
cite various student ideas and respond to those ideas. Each discussion topic you could highlight
different students’ ideas so that, by the end of the course, you’ve mentioned each
student. Finally, you could opt for audio or video
replies. It often takes less time to do a good audio or video response and, as a bonus,
it helps increase teaching presence! Of course, there are many strategies for managing
discussions and you can find them with a quick Google search. I encourage you to spend some time learning
about this since discussions can play such a major role in online courses. Knowing how
to manage discussions better will definitely save you time. Assessment and feedback from the instructor
are very critical to student success in an online environment. Of course, these things take time. However,
it is possible to give some really great feedback in a small amount of time if you keep a few
things in mind. First, consider the possibility of group feedback.
There are many times when a message to the entire group using announcements, email, discussion
posts, or even synchronous chat is useful. You can let everyone know at one time how
the group did as a whole on particular assignments and also point out any problem areas that
everyone should focus on. You can also use audio or video for feedback.
For example, you could use a screencasting tool to capture yourself marking up an individual
paper and then send that recording to the student. Often, this is quicker than trying to type
up a bunch of feedback notes AND it is often feedback that is more understandable to the
student. Synchronous feedback is another option for
either groups or individuals. Using the chat tool or a voice chat tool to communicate with
large or small groups or individuals about specific assignments is quick and easy
and gives the students an excellent opportunity to immediately ask for clarification if there
is something they don’t understand. Finally, rubrics are always excellent time-saving
strategies because they often have quite a bit of feedback built right in to the descriptive
criteria. As with discussion techniques, there are many
more feedback strategies you can use that will save you time and reduce your workload. I encourage you to explore this topic further
since feedback is a part of any course and having some great strategies will really save
you time! Thank you for your time. I hope you enjoy
implementing the time-saving and workload reduction techniques and strategies discussed
in this presentation.

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