Three Types of Content for Virtual Courses
If you’re suddenly transitioning your face-to-face course to a virtual environment, you may be unsure how to share class materials with students. While you were previously able to add to lectures using handouts and your whiteboard, virtual education relies on different sets of resources. But different doesn’t mean less engaging. There is a spectrum of tools that can help you deliver an impactful virtual learning experience. In this article, Adam Shaw, Faculty Development Specialist at Wiley Education Services, shares popular options and how they might serve your needs.
If you’re accustomed to presenting in-person lectures, sending written lectures to students might seem unfamiliar. But developing this reading material offers an excellent opportunity for organizing your thoughts on topics. It’s also a just-in-time resource that students can review on their schedule and keep on hand to refresh their knowledge throughout the course. Simply put, developing written lectures allows you to take your expertise and character—the heart of your course—and package them in an accessible format. If you create these resources, consider the following tips:
Use a Hierarchical Structure
Most content development platforms let you organize written lectures by establishing multiple levels of section headers, such as Heading 1, Heading 2, etc. This feature is more than visually appealing; it helps students recognize the structure of your lecture. Additionally, students with visual impairments rely on headers to navigate content using screen-reading software.
Use images to illustrate concepts and reinforce important points. Pixabay, Pexels, and other websites offer a plethora of royalty-free pictures to add to lectures—but be sure to attribute the person or company making the image available.
Remember That Appearance Matters
Long blocks of text are daunting to some students and may diminish their opinion of your lecture. Don’t hesitate to write what’s needed, but try to divide lengthy paragraphs into shorter ones.
Screen capture platforms allow you to give virtual tutorials and demonstrations as well as illustrate step-by-step processes. These video recordings of your computer screen typically include narration and can be uploaded to your learning management system, a video-sharing platform, and other student-facing applications. You can use screencasts to deliver PowerPoint presentations, walk students through a program or resource, review infographics, and share other visual content. For help recording a screencast, review the tips in our DIY guide.
Video lectures play an essential role in establishing or maintaining instructor presence in virtual courses. Much like when you speak with students in face-to-face classes, creating videos lets you demonstrate important course concepts while providing your unique perspective. When you appear in videos, you also remind online students that the course is taught by someone who is there for them. An added benefit of recorded lectures is that students can pause and rewind to review important concepts. To learn more about the logistical considerations for creating video lectures, consult our quick-start guide.
When you move from a face-to-face to a virtual environment, you can engage your students through a variety of immersive class materials. Our suggested tools and resources can help you create quality learning experiences. Plus, access more resources that review best practices for virtual learning in our Virtual Resource Center.