Almost two years ago people all over the world got stuck at home due to pandemic problems. On-line teaching and learning posed a challenge. Most of teachers felt like thrown at the deep end. We knew little about both technology and methodology of on-line courses.

Initially digital literacy was the biggest concern. First of all, I thought about my skills and qualifications which were rather shallow. My institution equipped me with MS Teams – a skillful device to handle online meetings as well as Moodle – a complicated but comprehensive system to support asynchronous teaching and learning. I spend a lot of time studying functions and exploring the unknown depth of virtual reality.

Here important questions arose: What about students? How will they manage to feel at home in virtual space? What should I do or prepare to support them with basic functionalities of the systems? The answer appeared to be quite simple. They are computer natives and I am only an immigrant. Things that were difficult for me were easy for them. Moreover, they didn’t have to prepare learning materials. They were only users. The offered systems occurred to be so user friendly that none of my students found them difficult to handle.

However, life appeared to be more complicated than that. The biggest challenge we had to face was social literacy during on-line courses. Is that possible at all to build social space through the screen? After three semesters of on-line teaching, I have learnt that one of the most important matters is a good preparation and introduction of the course.

First of all, what matters is building the atmosphere of unity within the group. Starting with introductory meeting and letting students share their personal life to the extend they feel safe is very helpful. Searching for similarities but at the same time pointing unique features of every participant of the course, allowing students talk about their anxiety during meetings these are crucial aspects for further development as a group. As a result, a created feeling of trust and lack of fear lead to having cameras on. Consequently, my students were eagerly discussing numerous problems, they were ready to support each other as they knew that differences do not matter.

Secondly, clear summary of the course, requirements and regular update of the course content build self-confidence and limit the fears and feeling of impatience. It is good to equip students with the above even before the first meeting so that they have well-defined expectations. What is more, if any questions arise, participants of the course are ready to ask them asynchronously even before the first meeting.


Thirdly, making lessons engaging and positive is a crucial factor both on and off line. Moving online doesn’t change a key factor of teaching and learning: the value of a positive teacher-student relationship. Personalization at every moment of the course is important especially when students and instructors are separated by screens. Using the first-person language in online lectures, along with friendly gestures, facial expressions and eye contact are reassuring and build the feeling of reality which is not only virtual. The instructor’s tone also plays a significant role in helping students learn online. It’s important to show positivity whenever possible.

Finally, the last but not the least – building natural motivation seems to be a key aspect in any type of learning environment. Motivators drive a person forward. Motivation convinces a student to keep doing difficult tasks. Clear goals contribute to self-assurance. Setting them at the beginning of the course gives students feeling of control and lowers insecurity. They should know that what they’re doing here matters. Reminding students how their new knowledge and skills will help them make progress and a difference. The purpose behind the course and the true meaning behind the certificate they get help to measure their future success.

There are obviously many other different factors that can contribute to on-line success like diversity of tasks, devices offered or giving students a sense of control and influence on the course content. All of them prove one simple truth that no matter how skillful with technology you are and how many clever digital tools you use, without well designed and build learning environment the results may not be satisfactory.

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