Internal - Faculty & Staff

Asynchronous Tools: Guidelines for Using Them Well

Use a variety of asynchronous tools to deliver course content. Your online course should have variety. It will be hard for students to stay engaged in the content if all the material is simply written text on a webpage. Instead, use VoiceThread to create narrated PowerPoint lectures, create mini-lectures or demonstrations with Tegrity, make a Wiki to build a living document, share articles on GoogleDrive, and more!

Presenting Material Well

  1. Use a variety of methods to deliver course content.
  2. Chunk course content into smaller, manageable segments.
  3. Plan your content early. Based on your experience teaching, decide what content will work well in an online format, what is best for self-directed learning assignments, and what material should be presented live during a synchronous webinar.
  4. Have your students take an active role in the learning process.
  5. Choose the right tool to meet your objective and best present the specific material.
  6. Use templates to make the creation of new presentations easier.
  7. Save wrap-up content that can be used semester after semester.
  8. Recognize that although there are many options and variations for using these tools, it is important to start slowly.  You and your students will have more success if you focus on mastering two or three tools very well and then you can add to that over time.

Advantages and Challenges

Advantages
  • Convenience!
    • Instructors can create presentations when and where they want for use at any point in the course.
    • Students can access material on their own time when it works for them. Further, they can go back and review it later to refresh learning or to study.
  • Students can take in content at their own pace and in their own way. Students can pause a lecture while they take notes, watch a demonstration more than once, or absorb the content in smaller chunks to meet their individual learning needs.
  • Once presentations are created, the hard work is done. Instructors can reuse and revise presentations semester after semester.
  • Developing presentations can be a creative and fun process.
Challenges
  • There is no face-to-face interaction when using asynchronous tools, making responsive teaching more challenging.
  • Unless special effort is given to providing regular, individual feedback, students can feel disconnected from the learning.
  • Students who struggle to be self-motivated can fall behind quickly with the self-directed work in an online course.
  • Students who lack strong time management skills may fall behind without support.
  • Takes time up-front to create and develop presentations.