Many of the approaches, techniques and tools introduced in the other sections of this guide can be applied or adapted to teaching synchronously (i.e. present with learners at the same time) in an online environment. There are however differences in teaching synchronously online, this page introduces tips, tricks and case studies most pertinent to this.
Tips and tricks
Case study example
Creating interactivity in synchronous critical reading training using Padlet: Our critical appraisal sessions involve sending attendees an article in advance to read. The face-to-face classes consist of one of us (the trainers) facilitating a discussion of the article, using various critical reading tools as a framework. The idea is that the trainer speaks very little, just provides prompts and lets the students do the bulk of the talking.
Due to the pandemic, we had to move all our teaching online, and critical appraisal — with its heavy emphasis on discussion — was more difficult than some of our other classes. We found after trial and error that asking students to respond to the prompts verbally didn’t work well — it affected the sound quality, some students were uncomfortable, and it was harder to manage the flow of conversation — so we now use Padlet as a way to facilitate discussion. We ‘pin’ a series of questions, and during the training session, we send the link to the board, and direct the students to post their responses to each question. They use the chat function in Zoom to ask any questions outside of the prompts on the Padlet board.
Padlet can also be used in this way to enable interactivity in face-to-face synchronous teaching settings where it might otherwise be difficult (such as lectures), so it has applicability beyond online teaching as well.