Faculty that have taught an in-person course(s), have had the experience of students raising their hands when they don’t understand something. It is during these times that faculty rely on examples to help the students better understand the content. Faculty come up with examples from different areas of life. For example, their own personal experience, professional experience, or current events that are taking place. These examples help the students to better understand the information in a way that is meaningful to them. The examples used in online teaching are even more important to your students.

A variety of examples can also benefit students that are completing their courses online. A couple of suggestions are:

  • Locate existing videos that present topics from a different perspective.
  • Record a brief conversation with a guest speaker that allows students to hear from an expert in the field.
  • Create opportunities for students to explain/explore the content together. Students are more likely to develop explanations that make sense to their peers A good example of this is to create small semester-long study groups (or community of learning groups) that will allow the students to discuss course concepts along the way.

Faculty will need to find the right balance, when it comes to the numbers of examples provided. Whether the examples are presented in the form of videos, slide presentations, or additional readings faculty should make it clear what is required and what is optional material. There will be need to be careful so this isn’t received simply as “busy work”.

Showcasing the work of students that have taken the course previously is another way to help students better understand the content. Examples of work submitted by students in previous semesters can be done in a couple of different ways. Perhaps, the less complex projects can be shown in full, while the more complex projects can show examples of certain segments of the overall project.