Using Background Memos as a Teaching Tool

Last week, I concluded a successful ViaX workshop on policy responses to COVID-19. One important component of this workshop was a policy simulation, where the students developed possible responses to COVID-19 in Pakistan.   A key challenge with this simulation was background knowledge. I specifically chose to focus on a country that was mostly unfamiliar … Continue reading Using Background Memos as a Teaching Tool

Discussion Forums in Online Teaching: Pros and Cons

An important advantage of online teaching is flexibility. Students can participate from almost any location around the world, and the use of asynchronous instructional techniques can increase temporal flexibility. People may have different schedules and time zones, so temporal flexibility is an important complement to geographic flexibility. In this post, I discuss the use of … Continue reading Discussion Forums in Online Teaching: Pros and Cons

Assignments for Virtual Courses: A Survival Guide for Faculty

One key challenge for virtual courses is assignments. Because students and instructors do not have face-to-face interaction, managing the process can be quite a challenge – and doubly so in these trying times. Here I offer two simple suggestions for effective management of assignment. Suggestion #1: Use an Online Learning Platform   To receive assignments, … Continue reading Assignments for Virtual Courses: A Survival Guide for Faculty

A Virtual But Captive Audience: Student Presentations in an Online Environment

Online learning offers flexible tools for a wide variety of interactive learning techniques. Student presentations can strengthen the feeling of community and engagement in an online course. Here I describe two possible approaches to effective presentations.   Approach #1: In Real Time   There is no reason why students could not present their original work … Continue reading A Virtual But Captive Audience: Student Presentations in an Online Environment

Social Distancing for Academics: Transitioning to Online Teaching

At this time, the coronavirus wreaks havoc in higher education. Dozens of colleges and universities, including my own employer and the world's leading public health research institution, Johns Hopkins University, have banned in-class teaching. In this situation, my latest vlog discusses the challenge of transitioning to online teaching: https://youtu.be/ryYIfKaxTX0   About the Author Johannes Urpelainen … Continue reading Social Distancing for Academics: Transitioning to Online Teaching

Teaching Basic Research Skills in Online Workshops

The typical workshop at ViaX focuses on a substantive issue. In my case, for example, I teach classes on China’s Belt & Road Initiative and US-China Relations. But students also benefit from general improvement in their academics skills, from data collection to writing.   Teaching research skills in online workshops presents a set of specific … Continue reading Teaching Basic Research Skills in Online Workshops

Problem-Based Learning For Busy People

People are busy these days. The entire higher education industry is facing growing pressure to develop more flexible methods to complement traditional, multiyear degrees with full-time residence on a campus.   At ViaX, we deal with this issue all the time. Our students are mostly enrolled in a full-time degree program elsewhere, so their ability … Continue reading Problem-Based Learning For Busy People

Five Tips for Online Teaching

On a basic level, online teaching is not any different from traditional classroom teaching. The instructor imparts knowledge to students using a variety of methods, ranging from lecturing to discussion and group assignments. However, the use of online technology does require paying attention to a few specific challenges.   To help my fellow instructors take … Continue reading Five Tips for Online Teaching