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Tips for Teaching Remote Workshops?

Megan Sullivan
I like learning new things and teaching others how to use tech to improve the world. Previously: developer consultant at ThoughtWorks; educator at Girls Who Code, Code.org, and City Year.
・1 min read

I'm used to running workshops in person, where it's easier to interact with attendees and gauge whether folks are following along.

Now that most workshops are being run remotely, I'm curious what strategies facilitators are using for maintaining student engagement.

Some ideas I'm considering so far:

  • Keep lectures short, and get students doing stuff quickly. If there’s a lot they need to know, break it into chunks. (Talk a little, they work a little, talk a little more, etc.) Only explain content that students will need to successfully complete the next exercise.
  • Have a moderator watch the chat and call out questions or areas of confusion.
  • Use polls to get a quick pulse on whether students are following the material or they're lost.
  • Provide opportunities for students to share their work with each other, via a virtual "gallery walk." (Students add links to their projects to a shared Google Doc. They spend a few minutes looking at other people's work and leaving comments about things they like.)

Are there any other tools or tricks you've used (or seen an instructor use) to keep learners engaged?

For folks who have participated in a remote workshop, what did you like/dislike about the experience? (Think less about the content and more about the way it was taught.)

Discussion (4)

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a_sandrina_p profile image
Sandrina Pereira

I felt the same struggle when I did the shift. Here’s my two extra tips:

  • I now also provide the solutions with detailed explanations, on a separate folder and say: ‘Check solutions as a last resource. If you take a peek at the solution before even trying, you'll be sabotaging your own learning. It's okay to struggle while you try to solve the exercise, it's part of the learning process.’
  • I do interactive quizes after each module to recap the materials, as a summary. People find it very entertaining and a fun way to retain the knowledge
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meganesulli profile image
Megan Sullivan Author

Thanks for sharing! I love the way you set expectations re: the learning process. Letting them know that it's supposed to be challenging is a great way to help people feel less stressed when they run into problems.

Do you go over the solutions with them as a group when they're done working on it themselves? Or do you expect them to check their work as they go?

How do you structure the interactive quizzes? Are they multiple choice? Do students answer in the chat?

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a_sandrina_p profile image
Sandrina Pereira

Yes, I find it very important to setting expectations, especially when you don't have a clear picture of the attendee's level and can't help on-demand each one of them individually as before.

Solutions: Yes, after each exercise we always go through the solution together. This is the time for them to ask questions too.

Quiz: I use online platforms to do the quizes, like Kahoot.

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meganesulli profile image
Megan Sullivan Author

Nice, thanks for the tips!