The most challenging part of teaching remotely was not having the feedback I get in face-to-face (f2f) lectures from looking at my students’ body language. I left it up to each student whether they wanted to use their cameras or not, and most chose not to. However, I found that the chat & audio options were good sources of info about how they were taking in my lectures, for some people chat is a good option to participate in class.
Using the discussions as a way to interact with the students and as an assessment tool was something new we tried. Weekly discussion posts were part of the final grade and tailored to the content presented in the lecture, students had some days to prepare their post and truly make it relevant for their experiences & interests.
I tried to keep my students engaged by explicitly acknowledging their hard work & their increasing knowledge in the topics we had covered. When teaching f2f, I have more opportunities to do this verbally or informally; with all of our interactions being online this term, I found ways to share my positive feedback with the whole class, both in my recordings and in my posts on Canvas.
The most successful part of teaching remotely was the feeling of building a unique learning community - where everyone found ways to interact and share their points of view & knowledge - in the middle of the pandemic and through remote instruction.
As for any advice I could give aside from the academic goals of each class, keep in mind the potential for networking with your peers & instructors. Even if we are in separate locations, we will interact with each other throughout the whole term and there are many opportunities to build friendships & connections.