Excellence in Virtual Teaching

Exploring how the foundations of excellent pedagogy may be applied in effective and creative ways in a virtual classroom

May 26, 2020
By: Shmuel (Stuart) Klammer, Ed.D., Dean, Touro College Jerusalem Israel

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (link to full article)

Even prior to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, the virtual classroom had become more widespread in schools and colleges. The prevalence of synchronous, virtual learning requires a close look at what constitutes effective teaching and learning in this context.  This paper explores three key elements of excellent teaching—checking for understanding, goal setting, and skilful use of multimedia—and shows how they may be applied in unique ways in a virtual setting. Drawing on research on teaching and learning, this paper emphasizes how the foundations of excellent pedagogy may be applied in effective and creative ways in a virtual classroom.

There are many effective ways to check for understanding in the virtual classroom.  This article lists five research-based strategies, along with many variations of those strategies. For example, it explores different approaches to using “dipsticking” a term coined by famed educator Madeline Hunter to describe how a teacher checks whether students are following a lesson, much in the same way that one checks the oil in a car to see if it is at the right level. Several different ways to use “break-out rooms” are also discussed.

Next the article suggests ways of keeping focused upon the goals of the lesson within the context of a Zoom class. Incorporating goals into presentations, discovery of goals and other strategies are discussed.

The third section explores skillful use of multimedia, including video, polling, screen mirroring and virtual reality.  This article gives a variety of practical approaches to enhancing a remote, virtual classroom to achieve excellence in teaching and learning and greater interest and participation of students. By using the ideas suggested, your virtual classroom can be very engaging!