HealthEd

Online Teaching Practices for Health Educators: A Webinar With Osmosis and ACUE

Osmosis Team
Published on Aug 24, 2020. Updated on Sep 15, 2020.

This month Osmosis teamed up with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) to present a webinar on how faculty can use online teaching best practices (from ACUE’s Online Teaching Toolkit) in their instruction in health-related disciplines and others. ACUE’s Laurie Pendleton, Executive Director, Curriculum and Assessment, and Julie Candio Sekel, Director of Video Production, presented the webinar, and Catherine Johnson, Senior Director of Institutional Engagement at Osmosis, moderated.

Pendleton and Candio Sekel delved into each of the six practices:

  • Welcoming students to the online environment

  • Managing your online presence

  • Organizing your online course

  • Planning and facilitating quality discussions

  • Recording effective microlectures

  • Engaging students in readings and microlectures

Using insight from both instructors and students, they explained why each practice is essential in creating a quality online experience. For example, Pendleton noted that using videos can give students insight into you and your course and help students get to know you as a person. She referred to a student interviewee (for ACUE’s Effective Online Teaching Practices course), who remarked, “We should get to know each instructor and why they love to teach this course.”

“Show that you care,” she said, adding that online social forums can also help students build connections. “Make sure students start strong.”

Pendleton and Candio Sekel also touched on how to hold discussions in an online environment. During the webinar, a poll asked participants to indicate whether they found it challenging to hold discussions in their classes: sixty-seven percent responded ‘true.’

“[Online discussions can be] a challenge for everyone,” Candio Sekel said. “We hear that a lot, especially from non-humanities faculty.”

She recommended a handful of practices to help make online discussions an effective and engaging component of any online course, including reinforcing real-world applications and leveraging students’ experiences. “Ask questions about ethics,” Candio Sekel suggested, based on a prompt one instructor uses in her courses. “What would you do in this scenario? How would you improve your professional practice?”

During the Q&A, one participant asked about how to best gather and utilize data. The presenters recommended leveraging LMS capabilities and looking at how often and when students are engaged, even sending a message if the student hasn’t logged in or checking in with students who may benefit from specific resources.

Another asked about the greatest challenges about the transition to a digital environment in health courses in particular. Johnson noted that hands-on learning is often replaced with simulation-based activities. Pendleton said that these courses require some creativity. Candio Sekel added a handful of recommendations she’s curated from faculty interviews and participants shared, in the chat, a few suggestions. 

Pendleton and Candio Sekel also had participants engage in short tasks, putting the information into practice. In the chat, participants shared their own strategies for welcoming students into an online course, with one participant suggesting having students create their own videos. 

Ultimately, it’s about building that connection. “Be human,” Pendleton said.

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As higher education made an abrupt transition to emergency remote instruction this past spring semester, many faculty were left scrambling across disciplines. To support instructors, ACUE released an Online Teaching Toolkit with resources and recommendations for teaching in a digital environment. To date, the videos in the toolkit have been viewed over 100,000 times.

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