Online teaching has skyrocketed as schools decided to adopt distance education as one of COVID measures. Consequently, as a teacher, in order to continue to make a difference in the lives of the learners, I have worked hard to learn everything about online teaching.
A simple question that I want practical answers to is, “How often should I interact with my online students?”
Interacting effectively with your online students should be part of the plan and preparation you make for each day. It’s a proven way of increasing student engagement and motivation.
“How are you today?” It’s a simple question that makes students feel they are important. And that, you have a great responsibility of making students feel comfortable in the virtual classroom.
Practically, we have seen the important role of interactions in online teaching and learning for the students to thrive and to sustain their engagement.
Moreover, the sharing of ideas in the virtual classroom is the best way to establish good relationships between you and your students and among students. You kindle minds and ignite passion.
Hence, as a virtual classroom manager and facilitator of learning, you should always be effective in raising questions for interactions and responding to students’ academic needs. Otherwise, your students will get demotivated and unconnected.
Let’s talk about it here and delve into the important question we ought to answer sincerely. How often should we interact with our online students? Haven’t figured out this yet? Keep reading!
The Role of Human-Level Interaction in Online Learning
Human-level interactions aren’t only for face-to-face learning. It should be observed as well in online learning where students rely too much on online tools. Your digital activities should uplift sound conversations and encourage students to participate.
Make them respect and love you from the way to talk with them and handle student conversations. The more they like you as their teacher, the more willing they are to interact with you because they feel comfortable being in your class.
As online learning becomes more attractive these days, although schools are planning to return to in-person learning, you should build a community in the virtual classroom to make students feel at ease in their new learning environment.
Hence, interacting with your students in real-time or even after class should be part of your daily plan. This way can empower your students to persevere in their studies even at a distance.
There are a lot of reliable online platforms that allow you to connect with your students and establish human-level and personal interactions. Doing so can help your students have meaningful virtual learning experiences with you.
Furthermore, human-level conversations bring about more intimate interactions with your learners that can help boost their confidence and can make them more excited to attend their online classes.
Why Use the Best Online Resources and Tools?
Using the best online teaching tools, you can reach out to your students to help them increase their focus and engagement which can foster collaboration and good relationships in the virtual classroom.
Mostly, online teaching and learning impose conditions that challenge you and your teaching. However, if you always aim to always connect with your students, surely they will benefit from interactive learning and get closer to their learning goals.
Provide opportunities for your learners to interact and collaborate with one another. Using Padlet or Quizziz, for example, enables your students to collaborate in real-time and have fun!
All you have to do is comb the net or ask for suggestions from your colleagues. This can be done the hard way at first, but with consistency and persistence, you and your students can get along by and by.
How Often Should I Interact with My Online Students?
Fostering a community in online teaching is very necessary. Just like in face-to-face classes, online teaching should promote open communication as much as possible.
Conducting classes via video conferencing requires your optimum presence so your students can feel your support in the online environment. Yet, at times, you can find interacting with students in the virtual classroom really a big challenge. Questions like how to deeply engage students in the discussions and how to make them active participants in the learning activities really arise.
Significantly, I’d like to share my best answers as to how often should I interact with my online students.
1. I should interact with my online students most often.
Plowing through online teaching and learning requires maximizing your best plans so you can attend to your plants dearly and most often. Your students are your plants in productive land. They’ll bloom if they are well-tended to.
How can you make the virtual classroom productive? First of all, you should enhance communication in the virtual classroom. Establish norms and set expectations right from the start so your students know what is expected of them.
Most often, you should communicate with your students whether asynchronous or synchronous. Creating Group Chats on FB messenger, for example, can really help answer students’ queries even after class. Best of all, students can interact with one another most often if you’re designing an avenue for them to do so.
2. I should interact with my students more and more.
Interactions can flourish into meaningful communication. Hence, interacting with your students more and more can help establish rapport in the online setting. This is vital for the success of online teaching and learning.
When there is open interaction in the online environment, students are given more and more opportunities to hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
For example, if you are utilizing breakout rooms in your discussions and you are initiating group tasks, your students can feel your supportive efforts that will make the online environment even more productive.
When students are satisfied, they are most likely to get more interested in their studies and will participate in learning activities that result in high-quality student learning.
Therefore, you should extend your best efforts to communicate with your students more and more. Likewise, student-student interactions have to be maintained as well.
3. I should interact with my students more frequently.
So, how often should I interact with my online students? Well, by all means, I do it more frequently.
Research has shown the crucial role of high-level and frequent interaction in the success of an online learning environment. Moreover, creating a dynamic and satisfying virtual classroom is your critical role as an online teacher.
Therefore, interacting with your online students more frequently is highly needed. Even after classes, there should be a perfect avenue for students to interact and communicate with one another. They should be given opportunities to share resources and to comment on ideas.
The sustained high levels of interaction in online teaching and learning avoid the feeling of alienation among students. Hence, you should allow your students to interact not only during classes but also on online platforms after formal class conversations. To do this, you should design interactive activities that promote skill development and communication.
Again, all this is possible with effective planning. As a teacher, you should plan in advance and design activities that highly involve your students in order to promote a satisfying learning environment even at a distance.
For this reason, you should interact with your students more frequently.
How to Interact with Online Students?
Accordingly, online teachers should sustain social interactions in online learning using different techniques and resources. If you are using Zoom, for example, you should be well-adept using this online platform and make the most of its breakout rooms for group tasks and discussions.
Make interactive presentations that arouse your students’ curiosity. For instance, making your motivational activity interesting by using video clips, intriguing questions, or by making students perform can get your students hooked and engaged from the very beginning.
Best of all, you can leverage technology to strengthen interaction in the online learning environment.
In the same way, holding regular interactions with your students just like creating a Facebook page or Group chats give your students opportunities to share their ideas and help one another.
Your best role is to set up a Facebook group and establish norms and rules on how to utilize them. The purpose of having a Facebook Page or group should be made clear to your students so they are aware that they should not post inappropriate content or messages that can become sources of ridicule and cyberbullying.
Therefore, you should make yourself available in the group you put up.
Likewise, participating in conversations can encourage your students to share their ideas, experiences, and struggles. This can intensify the human element in online learning.
Your students can go a long way if they feel your care and concern thus making them more confident learning content and developing their skills.
For more details about adding a social element in online learning, watch the video below to improve interactions in the virtual classroom.
Impact of Student Interaction on Learning
When interaction in an online learning environment is notably clear, good student relationships are reinforced. Moreover, student interaction to the highest degree impacts student learning.
Remarkably, when students enjoy having conversations with one another, the online learning environment you design for them will serve as a magnet that brings students closer together.
Additionally, fostering student interaction in distance learning builds meaningful relationships which serve as a strong foundation for productive online learning. The good relationship you build in the virtual classroom is a keystone for student-to-student interaction.
Students will be more confident asking and answering questions if they feel your support and they will work harder if they know that you really care.
And the best part? Whether real-time or after class, you can establish connections that create meaningful online learning experiences for your students.
Impact of Student-Teacher Interaction in Student Learning
The students are the center of the educative process with you as the manager of student learning. Thereupon, finding greater opportunities to interact with your students should be one of your teaching goals. So, right from the start, you should let your students feel that they belong to a positive learning environment.
Introduce yourself and share your story. It’s a great way of winning your students’ confidence and trust. By doing this, your students can have an idea of what their teacher is like and perhaps they can begin thinking that they can trust you.
Equally important, giving immediate feedback on student performance, for example, can help students monitor their progress and can keep them motivated. You can do it through instant messaging on the online platform you use or you can personally message the student about his class standing.
For this matter, always consider giving constructive feedback and extending compliments for these are important ingredients to developing a student’s confidence.
If students are more confident in sharing their ideas with you, this can typically yield student success. This can be seen in how you carry out informative conversations with your students without them feeling hesitant.
Still, your extensive planning plays a crucial role on this end. Creating enriching opportunities for interactions can lead to an uplifting virtual learning space.
How often should I interact with my online students? Well, I do it most often if not always!
We can’t deny the crucial role of interaction in virtual classes where you are teaching behind the screens and your students are also learning the same way. Having a productive interaction with online students can make online learning thrive.
Your role as a teacher should go beyond being the dispenser of knowledge. You are there to establish good relationships, establish rapport, hone students’ potential, and boost their self-esteem.
Also, the good interaction you initiate in the virtual classroom can uplift students’ moods which in turn gives them the enthusiasm to learn at their best and to inspire them to be more active participants in learning.
Exactly! Students can do their best work in a positive and inspiring learning environment. This gives students opportunities to reframe their thoughts on what really is an online learning environment.
Now, how often should you interact with your online students? The ball is in your court. Let’s establish an uplifting space for good interaction here! Shoot your best ideas in the comment section below.