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Online or Remote Classes

What is the best way to teach an #online or #remote class?  Given the recent #coronavirus in China, we are being asked to teach our English classes remotely.  We have roughly 25 people in a class.  One class we teach is Academic Writing and another is English Speaking, Listening and Critical Thinking.  Ideally, we would like to teach in an interactive fashion.  We are in the US, while our students are in China.  What suggestions do you have?

7 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @michael_smiley  

I also teach language courses; and while it is Medical Terminology, language is language.

My suggestion is to leverage the the video recording options available to both students and teachers in Canvas classrooms. The ability to hear language spoken, and practice speaking language is very necessary in language courses and helps replicate the interactive experience of the traditional classroom. You can provide videos you have created and assign video as a submission type for assignments and assessments.  And, of course, Canvas also makes it very easy to upload and present video content from external sources such as You Tube and Vimeo. To further expand this functionality, external tools with greater editing capabilities can be easily integrated with Canvas. Tools like Panopto offer a very dynamic and rich suite of tools that are incredibly easy to incorporate into language instruction. Audio/video submissions can even be used in Canvas Quizzes providing yet another assessment option.

A synchronous conversational  audio experience can also be created using the Conference tool available in Canvas; and, just as with AV recording functionality, Canvas also easily supports third party tool integrations such as Zoom.

Finally, the available  Microsoft Immersive Reader is extremely valuable for language teaching and learning. Making it even more powerful for your needs, in includes five Chinese language translation options.

I hope this helps get you off to a good start.


Do you think it would be effective to hold a conference of say 20 students using Conference?

You could do that, but my question is, have you taught online before? What is your comfort level when it comes to teaching online?

I have only taught in a classroom, not online.  So, online is all new to me.

Community Member

 Michael Smiley another resource would be Canvas's "Studio" (formerly called ARC). My colleague teaches Spanish for Healthcare Workers using this tool. The use of video that Kelley L. Meeusen mentioned is a huge asset for language, as it allows the instructor to hear the student pronounce new language. Conference tool is great, but it can tough to manage with everyone talking. Studio allows both teacher and student to easily record and submit a file. 

Check out this video example of Canvas Studio/ArcMedia:  

Community Team
Community Team

 @michael_smiley ‌, I just came across this article and thought it might help inform your school's process: How to Build a Global, Online University - In Three Weeks | Duke Today 

Hi again,  @michael_smiley  !

Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you.

The are some additional helpful ideas at Online Foreign Language Course Ideas, but it seems like your biggest challenge is translating your in-person pedagogy to the online environment. This is much more challenging than most people understand. Here are some resources you might find helpful,  from both this Community and external sources.....

My biggest tip is to keep it simple! Do not try to get tricky and all complicated until you are much more comfortable with the technology. Then, after becoming comfortable, continue to keep it simple! Believe me when I tell you that your students will not be impressed with your technology skills (unless you are teaching a tech course, and then only for that topic); but rather, will be impressed with your teaching skills, and technology is still just a tool to deliver instruction.

Good luck on your grand new adventure!