Many students find it easy to put off assignments and fall behind in their work. This is especially true in the online class. Since there isn’t a teacher standing over them in class it can become very easy to put off classwork when something else comes up.
A synchronous session is a great time to introduce concepts that are often misunderstood and deal with common misconceptions. It is an easy way to discover misconceptions right away and correct them.
A synchronous session brings an additional element of connection to the online learning environment. If students need to join their teacher and other classmates on a regular basis to learn and discuss what is going on in class they are much more likely to have their work completed before the session starts. I feel this is even more likely if there is something that they need to have completed already for the session.
This also gives students a sense of community to the class. There are faces and voices to put together with the names and avatars that they see in posts and discussion boards. It’s a time to get questions answered in real time and for teachers to get a quick idea of what students do and don’t understand. Students feel that they are real people to the teachers and their classmates and they can feel more involved in the class and more invested in the work needed in the class.
Here is a copy of my Synchronous Session lesson outline. It is about reducing waste in landfills and is part of a unit on pollution.