Ideas for Empowering Online Learners

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Puneet Sharma (Guest author), Professor of Mathematics in the School of Business at Conestoga College and faculty member at the University of Waterloo, shares examples and ideas on practices for promoting effective remote teaching and learning. His work can also be found on his blog.

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Puneet Sharma, PhD

I have taught for over 18 years in mathematics and physics at Conestoga, Kitchener, and internationally. At present, I teach Business Mathematics and Business Computer Applications courses in the School of Business in International Business, Bookkeeping, Supply Chain Management, and Office Administration programs.

While I have experience teaching out-of-country business mathematics courses to international students studying remotely in an International Business program, it was a huge transformation from fully in-class to online mode of delivery with the start of COVID-19 in mid March this year.

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Tips poster (download below)

The infographic poster, Tips for Student Success in Remote Teaching and Learning, which may be downloaded below, is derived from my first-hand experiences with online teaching. My goal has been to give back to the community by sharing some discoveries and tips from my teaching experiences.

For instance, the Instructional Plan for my course has been adapted to suite the new online teaching and learning mode. We adjusted the length and complexity of the topics to assure that students continued to enjoy learning, but without adding more stress for them. As I write in my blog, many students underestimate the importance of the instructional plan (IP) for how it covers all essential elements for learning in their courses. It is essential that we continue to reference this plan in class. I advise all of my students to keep a copy available for quick reference.

It is easy for students to feel overwhelmed if remote classes are new to them, and they may be more likely to disengage from the course. This response is understandable, as remote learning is often challenging for new online learners. That is why in my classes I share with students the tips for managing their time, like marking important dates in their calendars. I also encourage them to connect with each other through student groups, and to me through virtual office hours. When I share these strategies/tips with students, I find they listen carefully and benefit from reaching out.

I also talk to students about what guiding principles will lead to their success in their personal and professional lives. Our role as faculty is to facilitate and mentor our students by discussing key parameters for desired success, such as planning, implementation, practice, self-discipline, passion, and a keeping positive attitude.

A Model for New Areas of Learning

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The WHICEP Model

I developed a model to introduce to students to strategies that develop lifelong habits of learning. This six-part model is introduced to the students in my class through a brainstorming session. In this session, I facilitate a conversation in which students share their ideas how they could master any new domain. To conclude, I discuss the model’s strategies in detail and ask them for provide feedback how they implemented it successfully.  

This model is based on my academic, teaching, and research experiences so far, and is currently available on my blog. I created the WHICEP model to master new domains, and it may be adapted to different levels and subjects. My hope is that students who apply this model will stay motivated, focussed, and positive during their online (and face-to-face) learning experiences at Conestoga, and beyond.

I am privileged and honoured to be a part of Conestoga and University of Waterloo communities. My heartfelt thanks to my students, colleagues, supervisors, and support staff for making this lifelong learning journey an amazing experience!

You are more than welcome to explore and share my previous video presentation and blog series on online learning covering challengesproblems and solutionstips for success, and tools for collaboration.

Let us keep on learning together. – Puneet Sharma, PhD

Downloads

The poster is based on the blog post, Tips for success in online course delivery. Tips for Student Success in Remote Course Delivery by Puneet Sharma, PhD, is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.

The image, Effective Strategies for Mastering New Domains, by Puneet Sharma, PhD, is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0.

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2 Responses

  1. I appreciate Conestoga College for recognizing my contribution to teaching and learning through this teaching success story! It is a pleasure working here. Implementing these tips and the WHICEP model, our online learners would enjoy learning new domains, and accomplish desired goals in their personal and professional lives.

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