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At the start of Fall Semester, we introduced the new Online Instructor Standards. They were talked about in meetings and online discussions which helped solidify our understanding of their meaning and purpose. Our wonderful instructors went forth into the semester doing their best to meet these standards and we were amazed at the results! Instructors came up with inspired and effective ideas of using the standards to bless the lives of their students. 

We were so pleased when we saw this happening that we wanted to capture these ideas, share them with all instructors and then let the list continue to grow as we go through Winter Semester. To do this, near the end of Fall Semester, we polled many of our instructors and asked them what practical things they did that helped them achieve each of the instructor standards. We took all of their ideas and combined them into a list that we hope can give you some ideas to begin with.

However, this list is meant to only “prime the pump.” We want all instructors, both new and experienced, to contribute ideas so we can truly “teach one another” as instructors. Once again, the goal is to give examples of specific things an online instructor can do to achieve each standard.

We will be starting with the first standard, “Build Faith in Jesus Christ” and then periodically post the other standards’ lists throughout the semester. By the end of the semester we hope to have an incredible collection of teaching ideas that everyone can benefit from in future semesters as well as things an online instructor can do to achieve each standard.

Check out the following ideas shared by your fellow instructors and then share how you have applied any of these ideas in your own class or share a completely new idea that you have used or are planning on trying!

Build Faith in Jesus Christ

"Demonstrate that faith is a principle of action and power, and build testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ"

  • Share testimony relating to the topic being discussed.  Include aspects of your testimony on assignment feedback, and point out students growth and expression of their own testimonies.

  • Include a Mormon Message or a spiritual message from a church leader each week in instructor notes or before online meetings.

  • Love the gospel and share your experiences with your students.  What do you do to keep the spirit in your life?

  • Pray for your students.  Show genuine interest in their personal lives.  Your students will feel the love of the Savior through your sincere communication.

  • Incorporate a spiritual Q & A in lesson notes.  Share your thoughts on the topic and invite students to do the same.

  • Respond to students questions or posts with appropriate spiritual insights and thought provoking questions, inviting students to investigate further.

  • Instruct students to use the guidance of the Spirit in completing their assignments.

  • Encourage gospel centered discussions each week.  Be sure to thank students for their insights.

  • Take notice of the spirit and testimony the class brings and help students recognize it. Encourage continued discussion and participation that brings the spirit.

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  • Dear Friends,

    Did you catch devotional this week? Considering Instructor Standard #1, Elder Tingey's message was just for us! Here is part of the email I sent to my students yesterday:

    I hope you are taking advantage of all the learning opportunities your BYU-I education has to offer. For example, are you watching devotional each week? You do not have to be available every Tuesday at 2:10 p.m. in order to participate in this spiritual learning experience; the recordings are available all week online. This week’s devotional was amazing as the speaker, Elder Earl C. Tingey, testified of Christ and encouraged us to strengthen our faith in Him. In speaking of this university, “which is sponsored by living prophets” he said, “What I suggest you obtain as a result of your education at BYU-Idaho is a strong, bold testimony of Jesus Christ.” Did you know that my number one goal as your instructor is for you to Build Faith in Jesus Christ? It is, and I sincerely hope I have made that goal evident through my communications and service to you. Here is a highlight of this week’s devotional: http://youtu.be/jFbUcLe1J8I and here is a link to the entire talk, which will be available until it is replaced with next week’s address: http://stream.byui.edu/live/. I hope you take the time to watch this powerful message.

    • Dear Torri,

      Thank you for sharing. I know watching devotionals will make a difference in my teaching, and help me feel more connected to my students, so keep sharing the things you learn--it will one day result in me becoming a faithful devotional watcher:).

      • That's my goal for you and for my students. I hope that after enough devotional reminders my students will start taking me up on my invitation to watch it! 

  • Kimball -

    My favorite is to share a personal favorite scripture.   Tell why it is your favorite and what you have learned from the scripture.   I also think it helps to bear testimony about the principle you are teaching.   Hope this helps. 

  • Two of our instructors, Randy Booth and Sara Young, excel in this area.

    At the beginning of class, Randy asks the students about the weekly devotional. He invites them to make connections between the devotional and that week's lesson material.

    Sara Young prays for students in the meeting and uses their names. Her students are muy impressed.

    And both are edified together.

  • One of the most important things I learned is to pray for students. This is such a powerful concept, not just pray when we enter our classrooms, but for specific students. It also carries over to work situations -- to pray for co-workers!

    • I love this Mike. Praying for our students, even when we are not "on the clock" shows how much we care for them and the same goes for co-workers!

  • One thing we've incorporated into our course in the past year or so is praying before our Instructor Q&A meetings.  I love hearing the students offer a prayer for us as instructors and them as students.  It reaffirms my faith that they are striving to do their best and invites the Spirit into our meetings.  I'm sad to say that the idea came from a student's suggestion and not one of our own, but I'm proud to say that we embraced it wholeheartedly.  I thought the student that made the suggestion mentioned that prayers are offered before classes on campus.  I can't recall from when I was there 25 years ago if this was the case. Was my student correct or was it just for religion classes?  Do any of you do this with your online student meetings? What's been your experience?  I think it is a pretty neat thing to do with our online students.  It really bridges some gaps that are created by distance and unifies us as sons and daughters of God. 

    • Melissa, I did this with my live class meetings for GS 101 and it really does bring you closer as a group and brings to spirit into the course. Thanks for your idea!

  • Okay, this is AWESOME, (yes I know I used all caps and it sounds like I am shouting, but this is so great!) I have been thinking of how I can better inculcate and incorporate the instructor standards into my work and my associations. This is such a great list. I particularly loved the "Take notice of the spirit". I love this concept, looking for the spirit in our work. How have we seen the hand of the Lord in what we are doing? This is pure brilliance. 

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