The COVID-19 global pandemic has made us all aware of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). But did you know about SPOC (Small Private Online Course)? If not, this is something you must be aware of in today’s digitally-driven scenario.
What is a SPOC?
SPOC is an abbreviation for Small Private Online Course. Like MOOC, SPOC is also an online educational program, except smaller in size. To define them, SPOCs are e-learning classes with limited enrolment. Universities often offer these classes to employees within organizations or individual learners. SPOCs also is a reason to celebrate e-learning or online teaching techniques that work wonders with a smaller group. Both students and teachers alike can gain advantages from these small online classes.
Benefits of SPOCs
- A SPOC works as a stepping stone for teachers to scale their courses.
- Teachers or faculty can connect with more geographically detached students via emails or other digital means.
- They can maintain a better balance between work and life.
- They need not travel far for teaching or training.
Main principles to run a successful SPOC
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind while starting this online course is to have the right mindset. It is a crucial principle for both the presenter and the participants.
- For teachers: As a presenter, you must embrace the virtues of digital teaching rather than grimacing about what it lacks. Instead of regarding digital courses as a short blip in time and wishing for traditional teaching styles to return soon, invest some time comprehending what makes face-to-face interactions engaging. Figure out how you can bring the brighter points of offline training into your existing online courses to make them more engaging. Virtual teaching is the new normal – embrace it!
As part of making your virtual environment engaging, don't just deliver informative SPOCs that learners need. Make sure to also actively motivate students for self-development.
- For students: As a participant, you need to be a self-motivated and self-driven learner. Unlike a face-to-face class where the presenter keeps tabs on you all the time, and you can't take a back seat, take the accountability to get actively engaged in the virtual learning environment and get the most of your online course.
Once both teachers and students have the right mindset, nothing can stop SPOCs from succeeding.
Learn new skills:
As a presenter, you would have years of traditional teaching experience. It is good to be experienced in the traditional teaching style, but you need to learn some new skills to successfully operate a SPOC.
For instance, to be comfortable in the virtual teaching environment, you should have the technical knowledge of the online platforms and their functioning, a basic idea of getting the right audio and video, confidence to face the camera, and speak in front of an audience. Once you develop these basic skills of the virtual world, you can thrive in your SPOCs.
Invest your time and money in the right technology:
When looking for the technology to run a SPOC, you will find limitless variables, which may confuse you about which one to count on and which to ditch. While the choice of the technology is a personal one, look for some key elements before making the final move:
- Use a central setting to store content: For your digital course to be easily accessible, relying on a cloud-based storage platform like Google Drive. It will help you and your students easily access all content, anywhere, any time.
- Rely on the trusted webinar hosting platform: If your SPOC involves running live sessions, using a reliable platform is key. While there are numerous webinar platforms, not all are the same. Look for a trusted and efficient platform to hold an easy and undisrupted session.
- Use a social site for constant communication: Conversations are integral to learning, whether traditional or virtual. In the traditional method, you can do it orally, but in the virtual world, social networking sites make it quick, easy, and smooth. When setting up social pages for your SPOC, pay attention to the privacy of your students.
Virtual learning is the future of education. Digital learning not only saves time and money and reduces your carbon footprint but also does away with the need of travelling to deliver classes and attend classes. While nothing can replace the importance of the traditional education system, e-learning has been the order of the day, particularly for working professionals and employees within organizations.
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