Hjörtur Jóhannsson 5 best tips for teaching online

Hjörtur Jóhannsson five best tips for distance education

Friday 27 Mar 20
by Rikke Høm Jensen


Hjörtur Jóhannsson
Senior Scientific Consultant
DTU Wind
+45 45 25 36 15

The coronavirus has impacted daily life. But for Hjörtur Jóhannsson, the teaching situation, as it so often is - is online. Here are his best tips for distance learning.

"Can you hear me? Otherwise, write a message in the chat window,” Hjörtur Jóhannsson tells his class.

The sound goes through clearly. The picture is sharp. The Adobe Connect program, which sets the framework for the virtual classroom, has been tested before the online lecture. He presents the theory and shows his power point presentation and videos on the screen.

A student presses the program's "hand-raising-button". Hjörtur sees on his screen, that she is first in line. He turns on her microphone so she can ask her question.

“A lot of teaching can be done online, but it needs rethinking. For example, it does not work very well to help the students with tasks that are calculated by hand, make laboratory experiments or that the teacher asks open-ended questions in class, as discussion is difficult."

Instead, he regularly asks a question in the program's quiz feature. He prepares the questions in advance. Everyone must answer. There are multiple response options.

To ensure a broader spectrum of learning, only 10-20 percent of his teaching are lectures.

“The rest of the time, students work actively with the theory that I have presented at the lectures, for example by solving assignments or writing reports. This is how they learn in depth. ”

Hjörtur Jóhannsson states that associated individual guidance often works better online than face-to-face.

“When I log in, they are ready from the get-go. Oftentimes they are better prepared, have found documents and thought about what they would like to show me and discuss. ”

Hjörtur Jóhannsson 5 best tips for teaching online:

- The Adobe Connect tool works well for online lectures.

It offers the opportunity to use a "hand-raising -button", has a chat function and enables you to set up quizzes to activate the students as well as you can talk with a student in a separate virtual “room” and guide her 1:1.

- Have the technique in order so that it does not become a disruptive element.

For example, buy a usb microphone and consider whether your computer should be connected to a wired internet connection instead of wifi. Install the Adobe Connect desktop app. Login well in advance of the lecture. Test if you can share your screen, etc.

- Take a break after 25 minutes of online lecture.

An opportunity is to make a short quiz on the topic with a question and multiple choice. Or give them a 5 minute break where you put a countdown timer on the screen. Search for "countdown timer" on Google.

- Plan B: Record the lecture in advance and make it available online (e.g. via YouTube).

Many universities and schools now use the online teaching tools at the same time, which can overload them.

- Be sure to set tasks that can be solved on a computer

This way you can support the students with individual guidance on e.g. Skype, Zoom or Adobe Connect. Provide access to drawing tools such as Microsoft One Note, Power Point, or Xournal to illustrate your points.


Find Hjörtur's extended online teaching guide here. Also check learninglab.dtu.dk

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