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The Study Hall

Tips and Tools to Build Engagement in Remote Teaching

Distance learning has shifted from being a nice-to-have to a need-to-have, propelling us to ask: What does it mean to be a remote teacher? 

Transitioning the in-person educational experience to online while maintaining student-to-student and student-to-teacher relationships takes more than just placing a webcam at the front of a classroom, or interacting via video between two computers. 

This is especially true when it comes to the physical network-building skills that are a core part of the Cisco Networking Academy experience.

With today’s technologies and the help of distance learning experts, there are alternatives that allow many learning outcomes to still be achieved and even optimized. Building online learning experiences often reveal new ways of interacting, collaborating, and fostering student engagement that might not have been used previously. Here are a few of our favorite tools and resources to help you level-up your online courses:

Network with Packet Tracer

Packet Tracer is a networking simulation tool widely used across Cisco Networking Academy for providing and receiving feedback. It enables students to manipulate devices and networks in a virtual environment, a reasonable “microworld” model of our complex networking reality. As an alternative to physically building small computer networks, students can select networking devices, examine a physical representation of those devices, connect them via cables or wireless, configure protocols, and create a working model of a network. 

Additionally, Packet Tracer has a “physical mode” that enables students to route cables and move Wi-Fi devices in and out of range. These technologies are also being investigated for adaptive learning and virtual reality.

Transform Learning Experiences

Visualization and simulation tools like Packet Tracer are intrinsic to the practice of all modern science and engineering. These tools offer many possibilities to create effective online courses platforms and distance learning programs by combining simulation tools with online collaboration and synchronous videoconferencing tools. For example, WebEx can create powerful online learning experiences, and keep students engaged while they learn in remote and hybrid environments

Today, Cisco partners with 12,000 learning institutions around the world to deliver the Cisco Networking Academy curriculum via the NetAcad.com platform, and most of them are using Packet Tracer for curriculum and assessment. 

In addition to the Packet Tracer simulator, students might also be able to use their home computing and networking devices. And for those who want to practice their skills on more sophisticated real-world equipment, they can take advantage of more advanced tools such as NDG’s NETLAB+, which enables Cisco Networking Academy partners to host real Cisco lab equipment and curriculum online to provide remotely-accessible equipment pods.

Empower Remote Teaching

The current pandemic has contributed to the rise of remote teaching, and we’ve seen an amazing response from individual instructors, institutions, and professional societies. If you have not already sought out peers, resources, and communities of practice, they may be supportive sources of insight as you navigate this shift in education. We have found that relationships and presence are the keys to teaching. Mindful experimentation with forms of synchronous collaboration that may be new to you –from standard videoconferencing to VR meeting spaces–can prove effective as we adapt to the new normal.

Education may change more this calendar year than it has in decades, so it is vital that we find ways to maintain the human connection between teachers and students. With the continuation of distance learning, we have the opportunity to digitally translate the importance of those physical, in-person, hands-on skills and wisdom that come from encountering the physical reality of the engineered world.

Hungry for more content like this? Discover the #EducationNow series with Cisco and learn more about Cisco’s solutions for Education.

The world of education is rapidly changing, and current events have only accelerated this pace. To help navigate new hybrid and distance learning experiences, hear from industry experts and customers on how to create a secure hybrid learning experience and where the future of education is heading. Join Cisco Webex for The Future of Education: Hybrid Classrooms on September 2, 2020.