About This Resource

Over the last few weeks, more than 300 million students around the world have had their traditional education disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Today, many schools are accepting the reality that the sudden shift to remote instruction that was initially supposed to last a couple of weeks, will now likely be the manner in which they finish the current year. In these uncertain times, it is imperative that learning continues, even if it must take on a new form. 
At Sevenstar, we recognize the unprecedented paradigm shift that this is, even for the most tech-savvy of teachers. We have been providing online education for 14 years and have developed some expertise in the many disciplines central to realizing success. Here, we share tips in hopes that they help you accomplish your goals of serving students well.
Our providing links to the following resources does not necessarily imply endorsement by Sevenstar

​Tips for Teachers

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." —Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)

Define Your Objectives

Well-planned online learning experiences are materially different from courses offered online in response to a global pandemic. Teachers (a.k.a. superheroes) working to maintain instruction right now should give themselves grace. For comparison, the average Sevenstar course contains 69 lessons and 1963 assessment items that are developed over 640 hours of lesson writing and 450 hours of review time. Being suddenly thrust into emergency remote teaching, you do not have ideal conditions to offer this same level of course. Your task is to continue instruction to students in a time of global uncertainty by doing the best that you are able.

Read this article for more insight

Think "Flipped Classroom"

If you've ever been to a professional development conference, you've probably attended a session about flipped classrooms. Now is a great time to employ those techniques. Send students resources (texts, videos, podcasts, etc.) to provide background knowledge that they can apply in group or one-on-one discussions. For resources, explore education resources like Khan Academy, TeacherTube, Newsela, BranPop, Smithsonian Learn Lab, and others. There is no shortage of free resources during this pandemic.

Sevenstar's Instructional Services Specialist expands on this idea here

Centralize Class Communications

Maintain a communication “hub” where you can update information for your students and parents. If your school is equipped with an existing learning platform, like RenWeb, Buzz, Canvas, Blackboard, or Moodle, utilize your class site(s) to provide information there. If not, consider online tools like ClassDojoPadletGoogle Classroom.

Click here for an article about effective communication
Read tips from a veteran Sevenstar instructor

Encourage Collaboration

Lesson plans should include opportunities for students to respond to questions in a discussion board format to encourage collaboration and idea sharing. Request that students read and comment on one another’s work. Be sure to communicate expectations and norms for students’ posted responses. Design assignments using online, shareable documents (using tools like Google Docs or Office365) so that students can collaborate in small groups.

Click here for strategies for online discussions

Tips From A Seasoned Online Educator, Dr. Mark Beadle

Sevenstar's Founder and CEO Emeritus

After founding and serving as the CEO of Sevenstar for 13 years, Dr. Beadle now serves as the CEO Emeritus. Having taught all levels of students (elementary, middle school, high school, and college) and in public, international, missionary, and Christian schools, he is recognized nationally as a Christian school leader and an expert in the use of educational technology.  In addition to assisting the Gates Foundation and the Ohio Department of Education on technology projects,  he has worked on projects for: the Association of Christian Schools International, the Council for the Advancement of Private Education, and the U.S. Department of Education. Following his retirement from Sevenstar, he remains involved with home schoolers, universities, and international schools. 

Remember- this is a journey and one you had not even planned or likely been trained on.  You are dedicated and will do your best, but everyone realizes there is a learning curve. There are many legitimate outside distractions-some with a higher priority (like your own health or your family’s needs).

Also remember that your students are real, whole persons, and that their sudden pivot to online learning is likely to be at least as stressful initially as it is for you.

Focus on meeting the instructional goal for each of your courses and think creatively about how to ensure you meet those goals, even if it means changing up what you had planned to do. Resist the urge to do things that are easy for you, just fun or cool.  (Put some of that in the lessons for sure!)

It is very possible to be the strong spiritual mentor/teacher online.  Ask for prayer requests and pray for them.  Give grace.  Show love.  Be humble.

Read these tips written by one of Sevenstar’s most experienced teachers who is also a favorite of our students and a teacher of Latin (and 2 other languages). He has 40 years of teaching experience from elementary school to university in MS, CA, CO, and Canada; Mississippi Virtual, and Copiah-Lincoln Community College; and been an online instructor with Sevenstar since 2009. 

Resources from others:

Please Do A Bad Job Putting Your Courses Online
The name says it all, but the main idea here is that we are doing this shift in a big hurry, and the reality is that this version of online teaching is not typical. We should be able to lower the pressure on ourselves.
Joint Response Regarding COVID-19 and Advice on Transitioning Face-to-Face Courses Online 
This one is a joint statement by four of the leading online education organizations in the US, and it provides some helpful guidance for understand what this emergency pivot to online learning is and is not.
So You Want to Temporarily Teach Online
A piece from 
Inside Higher Education. Really good, practical advice for teaching online when you weren’t planning to do so.