Posted by Debbie Weissmann
We had our first meeting for the Academic Year of 2020-2021 in September on Zoom. Our topic was 'What's working for you? Teaching CS Online.' We found out that we had lots of strategies from classroom teaching that were working well teaching online. And we suggested strategies for issues identified.
The good news we discovered in our Inland Empire Chapter Meeting is that lots of strategies we had been using in our classrooms were working online. 
Assessments. Asking students to explain each line of code is a great way to assess their understanding. Asking students to make projects rather than take a test or a quiz is another strategy that works well online. 
Reducing Stress. Checking in with students at the beginning of class. Take the 'temperature' of the class by asking students "How are you feeling about your coding work/progress/project?" Encourage students to connect with each other through their coding activities. We share new strategies for teaching online too. We found it is working best if we pare down our focus to the core principles our students will need to progress to the next level next year. And we found that collaborating online has been helpful for our students.
Collaborating Online. Make breakout rooms for students to collaborate. Pair them up by skill. One idea was a room for each pair: experience & novice. Another idea was one room for experienced coders to work on a more complex project and one room for novice coders to work on a less complex project. 
Online Collaboration Tools. Figma, GoogleDocs, and now CodeHS has a synchronous collaboration tool. 
Coding Environments. We talked about the IDEs we had been using and highlighted the ones that are working well. PyCharm for Python, Mu for Python with a visual debugger, CodeHS has an environment for nearly any language you'd want to teach, and It was mentioned that has changed its classroom tool, so using it in conjunction with a different classroom app was suggested. 
Our biggest concerns were keeping our students safe from being shamed online. One suggestion was to provide students devices in which backgrounds can be blurred. Another suggestion was for students to turn their cameras off when they turn their microphone on so they are not recorded. Another suggestion was to not to use camera, but to require students to demonstrate they are engaged in the class by responding in the video-meeting chat, polling, in a separate GoogleDoc, or contemporaneously using collaboration tools such as PearDeck, Padlet, FlipGrid, EdPuzzle. 
Want to share your strategies that are working for you? Join us at our next Inland Empire Chapter Meeting. Every 3rd Thursday of the Month at 5pm. RSVP on our Events page.