Melanie Kyle’s best practice suggestions for online teaching

Melanie Kyle’s best practice suggestions for online teaching

Like many VE students, Melanie Kyle’s students come from linguistically diverse backgrounds who are looking to develop learning strategies for tertiary studies in Australia.

Melanie understands that need for clarity in training and assessments as she teaches both the Certificate IV in EAL (English as an Additional Language) and Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation which has four streams: Engineering, Science, Business, Legal.

Melanie has given us some notes on what has worked for her when online teaching.

Before class

In preparation for class Melanie regularly checks and updates content in Canvas modules providing a class outline for each weekly session.

An announcement is sent with a link to the upcoming Collaborate Ultra session with pre-work which could require students to watch a video or read a short text giving students an overview of the topic before starting the class.

This is reinforced at the beginning of class with brainstorming on the topic on the Collaborate Whiteboard or sometimes Melanie will use a Kahoot quiz for students to work through reinforcing their knowledge.

In class

For the first class of the semester, Melanie will encourage all students to turn their cameras on and say hello. She also asks them to sign into Collaborate Ultra sessions with their full name and a nickname and aims to get to know each student by name (typical class size is 20-30 students).

She greets each student, helping them to feel engaged and valued. This also helps in tracking attendance, results and each student’s progression.

Melanie often uses breakout groups in Collaborate, these are non-assessed and can be spontaneous. She can jump in and out of the groups and observe how things are going. She uses Microsoft Teams for assessment task preparation, group project work, small group discussions and for students to work together to complete activities.

Melanie checks and responds to questions in the chat box regularly throughout the session and aims to spend the last 15-20 mins of class time answering questions and providing feedback.

Students can submit draft work via the chat box for immediate feedback, similar to the feedback she would give when walking around the classroom reviewing and speaking to individual students. Melanie has also set up non-assessed work submissions in Canvas assignments for students to post draft work for feedback.

After the class

Melanie posts a class announcement with the Collaborate Ultra recording and the links for the week’s study, enabling the student to find all the information for that week in one place.

Other strategies to ensure positive student experience

Melanie tries to check in with students regularly, identifying those that may be falling behind and ensuring she follows up with them.

She has regular meetings with teachers delivering courses in the same cluster to share information and discuss student feedback.

Long term teaching impacts (when on campus learning resumes)

The move to online teaching has meant Melanie has flipped the classroom model. Having students do pre-readings and/or pre-viewings of videos gets them on topic and cued in before class.

Keeping Canvas updated, with clear instructions that students can access before and during class along with providing after-class reminders has been successful. Melanie plans to continue using Teams for collaborative work.

Melanie says that “students appreciate the flexibility and adaptability of online delivery, the use of different tools and receiving or submitting information in different modes”.

27 August 2020


27 August 2020


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.