Dealing With Difficult & Disruptive Students In Online Classes
When confronting difficult or disruptive students in an online class, it is really helpful to have a set of pre-planned strategies to employ. But, instead of waiting for student problems to occur, it is worth considering the factors can influence student behavior in class and how intentional course design and pedagogical approaches can prevent or minimize problematic issues in class.
Difficult and disruptive students in our online classes pose several challenges. At face value, the hours spent dealing with these students takes time away from the real work of teaching and we know that the stress associated with confronting disruptive students is something most teachers don’t enjoy. Difficult and disruptive students can also have a negative impact on the experience and learning of the rest of the students in the class. And, we shouldn’t forget that these difficult students are probably not learning as much as they could either. This webinar will address all of these challenges.
Difficult and disruptive students are, at best, an unwelcome annoyance. At worst, these disruptive students can undermine the learning for everyone and cause untold stress for their teacher and fellow students. Many teachers rely on their innate style or they emulate teaching mentors when strategies for dealing with difficult students are needed. But, even teachers who are confident in dealing with disruptive students in face-to-face classes can struggle to translate their strategies into online classes. Further, the online environment presents new possibilities for student difficulties and disruption. Few teachers are experts in online course design, and many are new to online teaching. And, nearly all students are novices at online learning and need to figure out the technology and course design along with the course content. Online communication, primarily text-based and asynchronous, can seem cold and anonymous and lead to an empathy gap that promotes student disruptions and makes dealing with problem students more challenging.
In this webinar, we will consider practical strategies for designing online classes that support both student and faculty success in minimizing or eliminating the factors that lead to student difficulties and the disruptions that students can cause. Some highlights include:
- Ways to minimize confusion for students
- Ideas for icebreakers and tone-setting
- Rules of virtuous discourse
- Discussion design
- How to engage students
- Building trust and creating safe learning environment for students
We will also talk about what to do when difficulties arise, including how to spot sparks before they become flames so you can try to turn a disruptive student into an ally. Finally, we will address what to do when things get out of hand and you have to deal with a problem student.
- Assess and clarify our ideas of what a difficult or disruptive student is and why
- Review some statistics about online students that might offer context to why some online students have difficulties and become disruptive
- Examine and evaluate sample documents intended to minimize and preempt student difficulties
- Explore online course design issues and how they can promote or prevent student problems
- Consider how instructor presence and engagement with the class can develop a virtuous online classroom and help close the empathy gap that can lead students to be difficult or disruptive
- Address specific strategies for dealing with difficult or disruptive students such as how to handle offensive posts made to discussion topics and how to respond to emotionally-charged or disrespectful emails
- Discuss when it is time to get outside advice or help from lead faculty, department chairs, counselors, or student services
- Share your stories about disruptive students and your ideas for how to deal with them
- 2-year & 4-year institutions
- Academic Affairs/Instruction
- Online Learning Administrators & Staff
- Faculty who teach or plan to teach online/hybrid courses
- Instructional Designers
Teachers complain about their students not reading and about how much grading there is to do but it is disruptive and difficult students that can lead us to contemplate quitting.
Eric Salahub has been at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins Colorado since 1999 where he teaches philosophy and serves as an instructional coach. In his coaching role, Eric has worked with hundreds of teachers helping them improve their craft in face-to-face, online, and hybrid classes. Over the past 5 years, Eric's main teaching and research focus is in Active Learning and he is the co-creator and director of the Active Learning Institute. In 2018 Eric was named the Colorado Community College's Outstanding Faculty and in 2019 he was awarded the Jerome Wartgow award for Excellence in Teaching with Technology.
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What is TutorLingo?
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The CRLA is a group of student-oriented professionals active in the fields of reading, learning assistance, developmental education, tutoring, and mentoring. In 1989, the CRLA created a training program that is considered ‘best-practice’ for tutor training. A fews years ago, Innovative Educators partnered with the CRLA to create supplementary training modules. Our training supports learning centers in achieving level 1 certification through CRLA.
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