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Teaching for the first time: is reaching out to each student acceptable?

Teaching for the first time: is reaching out to each student acceptable?

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manpreet Tuteehub forum best answer Best Answer 1 year ago

I work as a programmer as a full time job. Since I'm an experienced programmer and have some teaching aptitude, I've been asked to give a 40-hour course in C# programming to a computer science group of 70 students.

I've given two lessons so far (4 hours total), mixing lecture and practice sessions. I think I'm doing just fine but I'd like to reduce the number of students I'll lose along the way. I thought I would make each student more engaged if I established a conversation with them, even if that might prove to be time consuming. I already have an ongoing conversation with (roughly) a fourth of them, since they reached out to me to ask questions and be advised on practical matters. Plus, they did the excercises I assigned to them.

How should I act with the rest of the students? Today I thought I would be sending a message to each of them (we're in a Slack team) just to check if they've understood the lessons and be helpful in giving advice in case they were stumped by simple matters they might be too shy/afraid to report. On the other hand, I understand they are adults and that I should not babysit them. What would you do?

Thank you in advance.

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manpreet 1 year ago

Having taught online for many years, I can say that you will get a large proportion of students who will not engage with you. Some of these are good students. Some of these are low-performing students. As long as the students know you are available to talk, that's what is important.

For instance, for in-person classes, I have office hours and only a small number of students will visit me during them. However, I regularly announce reminders of my office hours and when particular students are falling behind, I will reach out to them to see if they would like to visit me in my office. I do not schedule an individual meeting with all of the students in my class.

My advice is reach out to students who are falling behind individually and send full-class reminders that you are available to talk/video chat with about their questions or concerns. I actually think that having a quarter of students actively engaged with you without it being required is actually pretty good. Good luck!

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