Essential Agreements for Online Teaching

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed academia, forcing schools and universities to move to virtual instruction models in a matter of weeks. This rapid transition has been difficult for both teachers and students, but the good news is that there are many tools and technologies available to make online teaching a success. However, one key factor that is often overlooked is the need for essential agreements for online teaching.

These agreements are a set of clear expectations and guidelines that outline the responsibilities of both teachers and students during the online teaching process. They help to create a learning environment that is safe, supportive, and conducive to academic success. In this article, we’ll explore some of the essential agreements that should be in place for online teaching.

1. Communication agreement

The first agreement that needs to be established is a communication agreement. Teachers should clearly communicate how they will communicate with their students, including what channels will be used, how frequently they will communicate, and what information they will be sharing. Students, in turn, should communicate how often they will be checking their emails, how they prefer to be notified of changes, and how they will communicate with their teacher.

2. Participation agreement

The second agreement that needs to be established is a participation agreement. Teachers should define what constitutes active participation and engagement, including things like attendance, engagement in online discussions, completion of assignments, and participation in group projects. Students, in turn, should commit to actively participating in the course and abiding by the agreed-upon participation guidelines.

3. Netiquette agreement

The third agreement that needs to be established is a netiquette agreement. Netiquette refers to the etiquette guidelines for online communication, such as proper use of language, tone, and behavior. Teachers should establish clear guidelines for netiquette, including how to address one another, how to give feedback, and how to remain respectful and professional. Students should agree to adhere to these guidelines and maintain a positive online atmosphere.

4. Technical agreement

The fourth agreement that needs to be established is a technical agreement. Teachers should clearly define the technology requirements for the course, including hardware and software requirements, internet speed requirements, and recommended browsers. Students, in turn, should ensure they have the necessary tools and technology to participate fully in the course.

5. Assessment agreement

The final agreement that needs to be established is an assessment agreement. Online teaching presents unique challenges for assessment, and it is essential to have clear guidelines in place. Teachers should define how assignments and exams will be administered, how grades will be determined, and how academic integrity will be maintained. Students, in turn, should commit to ethical behavior and academic integrity.

In conclusion, essential agreements for online teaching are vital to ensuring that the virtual learning environment is supportive, effective, and enjoyable for both teachers and students. By establishing clear expectations and responsibilities, teachers and students can work together to create a successful online learning experience.

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