Our Approach to Online Learning
Our online methods
Interestingly, we did not begin our online journey due to COVID-19. We have actually been working with online teaching for over three years now. We have been developing online content that is open and free for all students on our own website. We have also been taking online classes for over a year. Very few teachers actually have the experience of teaching in such a manner online.
The class is conducted online in the format of a video conference, but using tools that allow easy teaching. They are outlined as the following tabs below:
This allows the student to join in the class using a laptop, desktop or smartphone. Provided a camera and microphone is available (built in smartphone, and present in webcams) they can have conversations with the teacher or the classmates. Keeping videos on creates a real classroom like environment which engages the student more. Also the teacher can observe the students more closely. Especially how much attention they are paying in class. It is helpful to have the application on computer and smartphone.
This is a powerful tool developed by google that can be used to manage batches and classes online easily. Here we will share test papers, assignments and also check them and return marks. All documents required for the entire course will be provided through google classroom. We also recommend students add the classroom app to their smartphones so that they can see notifications when assignments are given and also when the marks are returned.
We make a number of announcements for students in general in these facebook platforms. Especially ones meant for all students. It also acts as a community hub for our previous students and current students of all classes. In special cases we do take live sessions on facebook. For those sessions students should be linked to the group and page.
In the case of a zoom server issue, we shift to discord temporarily. It occurs very rarely, but it is always good to have backup plans always ready!
Even though we appreciate phone conversations, it is not possible to share all student details via call. Hence we have kept a secondary method of communication with guardians. This is important to notify the guardians about the progress of the students in a periodic manner. Report cards will be sent to this mail. We recommend that you check mail regularly to stay informed and up to date.
How we assess the student's performance
Online classes are very different than the in-person ones. The learning environment is totally different. Hence as teachers we have to be prepared to take care of our students in a different but comprehensive manner online. As the student is not sitting in front of us, it may be easy to miss when a student appears confused or wants to ask a question. Students in these situations usually remain quiet and let the problem remain. They sometimes consider it a bit embarrassing or just want to avoid the hassle.
As teachers it is our responsibility to ensure these matters do not hamper the learning progress of the student. We use the following indicators to monitor the performance of a student closely. We have a separate team who have the responsibility of constantly keeping their eye on these and to notify the teachers and guardians if there seems to be a problem in the student’s learning.
How we ensure exam validity
One of the concerns with online exams is that students who are inclined towards cheating can do so easily. Unfortunately students have always been trying to come up with new ways of cheating, in class and online. It is our job to maintain the quality of exams given online. We achieve this in the following methods.
Along with these factors, we also provide instructions to students so that they can give the exam in a quiet and controlled environment, as close as possible to a real exam hall.
These are checked online automatically by google servers when google form is used. The results are published immediately after the student submits their paper. The marks are also recorded in a manner that we can focus on individual weaknesses of individual students.
We provide an online copy of the paper the moment the online exam starts. Students can see the paper on screen and answer on a blank page. Alternatively, they can print out the paper we provide and answer in it. This is not a must, as we understand printer access may not be always possible. Upon completion, we ask the student to take pictures of the papers and upload them to google classroom immediately after the exam is finished. This requires nothing more than a smartphone and internet connection.
How guardians know about the progress of the students?
One of the biggest challenges of online classes is making sure whether a student is truly attentive during the video calls or if they have turned off their camera and switched to another tab. Truthfully speaking, there isn’t much a teacher can do at that instance, however we do have measures in place to tackle this issue.
A monthly report card will be sent out from RT to the guardians. This report will contain a few important parameters: At the start of the call we ask all of our students to turn their cameras on and take attendance not only at the beginning of the class, but also at random intervals. This ensures the students are actually present during the whole lesson.