3 tips for effective online teaching

With nearly a decade of experience in developing large scale online, interactive learning programmes we’ve learnt a thing or two about what works well online and what doesn’t.

“When taking stock of the key principles behind our online course designs we realised we were exploring a shift of focus from content to people,” says curriculum expert Dr Sophie Millner;

“There is a tradition of placing learning materials at the centre of teaching. This results in quite a burden on the shoulders of the educator to produce lots of content. Shifting this focus to learning outcomes allows for greater creativity in the classroom and for more student engagement.” 

Not to say that content isn’t a crucial component, but it is one element in a set of other equally important elements. In fact, in the virtual classroom or learning space, these other elements actually grow in importance.

Here are three tips for successful and effective online learning experiences: 

1. ‘Less is more’

As for many other things in life, ‘less is more’ goes a long way. Curate your materials so that what you deliver is short but really valuable and stimulating. 

2. Activate your learners 

It’s not all about content, so why not give more time for learners to interact and engage with the material by designing interactive assignments. These will help learners feel engaged and increase their sense of ownership.

3. Invest in relationship building

Especially, but not solely, in these detached times. Establishing relationships between instructor-students as well as amongst students is not only good for wellbeing but also enhances student learning and skill development.


Learn more about these and more elements like how to set students up for success, creating engaging content in the training ‘Going Virtual’  (9, 16, 23 February) 


Subscribe to our newsletter.Stay up to date about our activities and more.

More from our blog

Stimulating virtual international collaboration in education, ‘the Dutch way’

Since last year, the Dutch Ministry of Science, Culture and Education is offering subsidy for Dutch higher education institutions to develop innovative virtual projects that foster collaboration amongst Dutch and international students. Any institution that has been granted this specific subsidy is also offered a range of activities to build capacity for designing effective and successful virtual projects.  Let us tell you why this is such an exciting initiative.

Read more

Toolkit for Integrating Virtual Exchange in Higher Education

The FRAMES Toolkit provides key information, inspiration, tools and case examples of the approaches that HEIs can take to integrate and accredit Virtual Exchange. The Toolkit is a usefull one-stop-shop for educational professionals working in higher education.

Read more

Your different virtual personas

Being in front of someone ‘in real life’ obviously assists in clear communication, as it allows us to pick up on small social cues, to establish eye contact, and to have a clearer sense of prosody, tone, and body language. The truth is that we can still pick up on most or all of these in online dialogue, but this requires those involved to make an effort and use the digital tools at hand deliberately. 

Read more

"Take care of yourselves and the planet"

Towards the end of the 9-week virtual exchange 'Climate Movements', participants reflect and express their gratitude towards the group for the experience and the learning that happened. Facilitators invite participants to bring a ‘(virtual) parting gift’ to their last online session as a way of saying goodbye and celebrating their achievements. Over the years our facilitators have seen this exercise lead to wonderful expressions from participants, like digital cards and even musical performances. This spring iteration, one virtual gift stood out in particular for its relevance to the subject matter of ‘Climate Movements’. 

Read more

Innovating European Higher Education with Virtual Exchange

Sharing Perspectives Foundation is joining forces with partners to foster a harmonised implementation and accreditation of Virtual Exchange (VE), as an integral part of (blended) mobility approaches, among European Higher Education Institutions. The FRAMES project (Fostering resilience through Accredited Mobility for European Sustainable Higher Education innovation) aims to make the European Higher Education Area more innovative, intercultural, and resilient.

Read more

Collaboratively confronting challenges in virtual learning

The norms we can take for granted in a classroom setting often get lost in cyberspace and a virtual setting brings with it the opportunity (and challenge) to rethink them. Educators can anticipate and respond to emergent challenges in virtual learning and engage students in the process. In this blog we share discussion guides and tips for collaboratively confronting challenges in virtual teaching.

Read more

Insights from our partner 'ESIEE Paris'

From bonding over a shared passion for dancing to deep realizations on climate action; A few weeks into the Virtual Exchange ‘Climate Movements’ all involved are already experiencing plenty of highlights.  We approached Helen Eve from our partner ESIEE Paris to share thoughts on the relevance of Virtual Exchange for her students; "Young people today need several international experiences in order to be ready for a globally-connected workplace."

Read more