Tips for Online Classes


Transitioning from an in-person classroom setting to a virtual learning platform requires more than just having a laptop, good internet access, and a can-do attitude—although those certainly help!

Our Wise Guys health educators and curriculum trainers got together for a brain sesh and wanted to share with you some of the tips we found most helpful when it comes to engaging in a virtual classroom because the more we can support each other, the more confident we become, and the more our students win.

If you already employ some of these practice tips, the intent here is to help you think more comprehensively about what else you can apply to your online teaching experience. And remember to think about what you do well in person because chances are, you can apply those same things to your online classes too.

Our Top 11 Tips:

  • Educators should practice so that they have full command of the lesson and technology ahead of time. Do your research and really play around with the technology, knowing your online classroom platform will help you make your classroom the best it can be.
  • Helping participants feel comfortable with the new online learning environment.  Some educators may start by asking students to share their concerns about the situation with COVID-19 or calling on students during the lesson to share ideas, feedback or questions about the topic being discussed.
  • Make sure students buy into the concept of the class.  This means checking in to see if students have questions and providing examples for students to respond to in order to ensure they have mastery of the lesson.
  • Set a schedule.  Let students and parents know that the classes will be offered at the same time of day each day or week.  With all of the other things that can occur during the day, it can help students remember when a class will be offered if a permanent schedule is set up ahead of time.
  • Visibility is important for improved communication and connection to the rest of the group.  Encourage students to use their cameras and be visible during the lesson.  Some students may not have the technology or feel uncomfortable being on camera.   The educator can set a good example by being on camera too, and encourage students to do the same.
  • Parent Support.  Keep parents aware of the schedule for online lessons and encourage students to share material with their parents.  Homework assignments can be sent electronically to help build or maintain parent-child interaction.
  • Invite student engagement and feedback often. Asking students what they hope to get out of the online course, and how you can best serve them, offers instructors ideas for teaching and gives students ownership of the process
  • Check-in with students often. If you can’t see a student’s face, it’s impossible to tell if they understand the material. Consider interactive elements such as short quizzes using the online teaching system, a slide, or verbal quizzes.
  • Maintaining a trauma-informed lens is even more critical in the online space. Checking in with students can be critical for this step.  Be aware, be alert, and directly address anything that you are worried about.
  • Practice self-compassion. While this is a top priority at all times, it is even more so in times of deep trauma and stress. And everyone is experiencing deep trauma and stress right now. Even if you have spent years in the classroom, what you are doing now is new. Do the best you can and look at it’s a new learning experience for and the students.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. As the instructor don’t be cautious about asking other educators for help with online classes. Many are facing similar struggles and are happy to share ideas and solutions.

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