In Uncommon Sense Teaching: TEACHING ONLINE we’d like to help you to move toward fresh approaches to online teaching that build on the latest insights from scientific research. We’ll use insights from movie-making—not to mention from odd visual tricks in Barb’s kitchen—to see how students learn, both independently and together. We all know, for example, that social learning is valuable in helping students grapple with tough concepts as well as in making learning more fun. But if you understand what is happening in the brain during social learning, you can also understand why certain approaches commonly used in online learning, such as discussion forums, can sometimes pose a challenge. As you will see, we can use insights from neuroscience not only to motivate our students, but to help them change their very identity.
Our course is designed for university professors, vocational instructors, K-12 teachers, coaches, business trainers, parents, and in fact, anyone who is trying to teach concepts or skills online. We’re not just talking about traditional academic materials—if you’ve ever considered teaching a course on Udemy, putting up a video series on YouTube, or launching your own educational blog, this course is also for you. An essential and exciting point is that students can learn even BETTER online than they can in the traditional face-to-face classroom. That’s whether you’re teaching synchronously—that is, live, via a platform like Zoom; or you’re teaching asynchronously—that is, any time—by having videos and other teaching materials accessible to students whenever they want.
You can take this course independently from the other two “Uncommon Sense Teaching” courses in this specialization—some of the neuroscience- and cognitive-psychology-based insights we’ll mention here in simple ways are explored more deeply in those other courses. So feel free to take the other two courses in the specialization in conjunction with or after this course. If you’ve already taken the other two courses, you’ll find that this course reviews and extends the practical insights from neuroscience you’ve already received in unexpected new directions. And you’ll find even deeper insights we haven’t covered before.
In TEACHING ONLINE you’ll be joining a trio of experienced online instructors who have taught millions in some of the world’s most popular online courses. One of our deepest goals for this course is to help YOU to teach others to improve their ability to reach and teach students. We’ve loaded the animations and visuals we’ve developed for this course online in PowerPoints (licensed under Creative Commons) in the assets under the videos, as well as in the resources section. You can rework these PowerPoints as you wish to reteach this material to your colleagues and students. Your sharing and resharing of this material is one of the best things you can do to help us all move teaching and learning forward to a visionary future. YOU are the foundation—children, adults, and society as a whole can leap ahead because of your desire to learn and spread these new ideas!