Activity time in the online classroom

One of my students this semester made an interesting observation that had not occurred to me. She highlighted that she appreciated it when I gave a time limit for activities. I usually do this when I ask students to explore a new technology – I suggest that they set a timer and stop, otherwise that exploration could take up their entire study time for the week.

My student teaches language in a face-to-face classroom. She made an astute observation about activity time. In the face-to-face classroom you can easily limit the amount of time students spend on an activity. It is something that the instructor has control over. However, in the online classroom this isn’t the case. In the online classroom you rarely have a sense of how much time a student is putting into an activity.

Since I teach busy adult learners, this tells me that I need to share with my students how long I think various activities will take. I don’t need to share everything, and I know there will always be variability among students, but if it is an activity that is an exploration, then setting suggested time guidelines can be useful.

Ever since she made that observation I’ve been thinking about it. I suspect that the many K-12 teachers who are forced to teach remotely due to Covid are struggling with this aspect of their teaching, as a lot of what they do is classroom management and time management.

What aspects of teaching online surprise you?

Feature image by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

I'd love to hear your thoughts

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