How to Teach Programming Using Online Learning Platforms?
- June 13, 2020
- Posted by: Girish Margam
- Category: How to
Learning how to code can be a difficult process, and a teacher monitoring the entire class can slow down the learning process. Programming requires meticulous mentorship, something that physical classrooms may not be able to satisfy completely.
Today, online learning platforms make teaching programming without the need to study with a group of people in a single room. Features of virtual classrooms also allow for focused teaching, resulting in better performance of students when it comes to understanding concepts and applying their learning through actual coding.
Here’s what you need to know about how to teach programming using an online learning platform.
What is a Virtual Classroom?
A virtual classroom is an online learning platform with tools which allow teachers to conduct classes about a variety of topics. Functions vary depending on the software that you are using, but usual capabilities include live streaming for voice and audio communication, file sharing, chats, and also screen sharing.
Virtual classrooms can also handle one-or-one or one-to-many classes. However, one-on-one teaching is still the best in the case of teaching programming online especially when actual coding is being done.
While communications software such as Zoom and Skype can technically be used for teaching programming online, the lack of features, as well as the workarounds that you will need to do to successfully teach the class, can be quite troublesome.
As such, it would be better to invest and utilize a virtual classroom capable of providing some or all of the features listed below as well as the other basic functionalities that you can find in an online communications application.
What Features are required for Teaching Programming Online?
A Shared IDE
A shared IDE, or Integrated Development Environment, will allow students to code directly into the software where it can be compiled and run. Not only can teachers immediately see the code, but they can also correct and edit accordingly through screen sharing. This also removes the need for a separate application to be downloaded by the student.
Take note, though, that different types of programming languages exist, and not all codes can be handled by a single IDE. As such, you should make sure that your teaching software is capable of running programs using the language that you are intending to teach.
Sharing of Files and Notes
A good virtual classroom can upload and share files of different types so that students can review lessons even when class is not in session. Files that can be uploaded should include reference materials, snippets of code, or entire applications that can instantly be run in the Code Editor.
Files can range from simple text files to large projects requiring Gigabytes of data. A shared database of files, as well as a repository for your use that can also serve as your portfolio of notes and assignments, can help you organize your class materials.
It can be very difficult to capture everything that the lecturer is saying, and some important information can pass students by despite their attempts to focus on the lesson at hand. It may also be important to look at certain codes again to fully grasp concepts.
As such, a function that records sessions and makes them available for playback at a later time is essential as well. For teachers, they can also use these recordings to further improve on their teaching methods and future lesson plans.
Collaboration tools such as group editing of documents and projects are another great feature that virtual classrooms can have. This can also include revision history, rollbacks, and file locking. Aside from these, a virtual classroom can also include public bulletins for the class group and the ability to create threads for discussion.
Collaboration tools are good for advanced learning as fresh insights can be acquired not only from teachers but from fellow students as well.
Online learning provides many benefits for students and teachers alike. For those who want to teach programming online, however, the correct software can make or break a lesson. By having the right virtual classroom and along with a well-designed curriculum, you can teach students effectively and provide an environment much more conducive to learning.