Developing Online Materials
The key thing about the materials you need to develop for use in your online teaching jobs, whatever they may be, is that you will need to design them carefully. Ideally they need to be tailored carefully and appropriately for the online medium and crafted to make the most of the possibilities that it offers. Though some teaching can be done much as it is in a conventional educational setting, there are some obvious limitations in the online medium, as well as some opportunities to be innovative and make online learning both effective and fun.
Interactive content is high on the list of things to consider when designing content to use in your online teaching jobs. Software (some available free) is online to help you in this task. You don’t have to get into designing and creating educational video games. Simple things like interactive graphics and quizzes can spice up your teaching or online tutoring sessions. They can also be used as part of a wider strategy to encourage learners to work by themselves, as well as in interactions with you.
Using interactive images can be useful because visual materials can be more effective teaching aids than text, while the act of interacting with the image helps learners to remember more efficiently. Interactive quizzes can have the feel of a game rather than a test. Sometimes simple interactive aids are more effective than more complex ones in inculcating knowledge. A full-on video game may be fun but the game element can swamp the educational content unless it is carefully designed.
If you are creating your own online content for use in your online teaching jobs it is important to keep the material tied to learning objectives and information delivery at all times. It is also worth keeping in mind that some aspects of a subject may be better communicated by interaction with you, the teacher or tutor, than through interactive materials. Sometimes there is no substitute for human input. That is something you will have to judge for yourself.
It can also be useful to design materials to develop learners’ research skills. In your online teaching jobs you don’t want to hand students answers on a plate. Encouraging them to find the answers for themselves by searching online (or going to sites you recommend) is something that can be built into online teaching materials. Bear in mind that you want to test their ability to gather and process information. It’s not to teach them how to use a search engine.
Online Content Development: Miscellaneous Issues
It’s easy for people to underestimate how time-consuming developing course content and interactive materials for use in your online teaching jobs can be. But if it works and engages learners then it can be time well spent. You will need to monitor how effective your self-created content is but, as a rule of thumb, building in variety and interactivity, while staying closely focused on learning objectives, is a winning strategy.