Teaching Massage Therapy Online

Contribution by Jacob Thomas | @total_being_massage

Jacob Thomas teaches massage therapy at our Milwaukee campus. The Institute of Beauty and Wellness and Aveda Institute Madison started distance learning in March 2020, and now programs at both campuses are doing hybrid learning, which is a combination of online class and in-person clinical training. This blog was originally written on April 24, 2020.

I write this blog, not on a riverboat on the Rhine River, as I’m supposed to be there now celebrating my wedding, but instead, from home at my kitchen table with my fiancé and three cats. I know I am not alone; like many of you my life has changed over the past several months, and one of the biggest changes has been how I teach.

I imagined myself teaching remotely at some point, but I certainly did not plan for it to be this year. I was originally scared and confused when we were told we would be teaching online, but then I felt so thankful that we could continue in some capacity. I have been exposed to many new tools and ways to teach – no longer is it just about KAHOOT and PowerPoint. I have found many tips, tricks, and apps to make the transition to online classes easier for both my students and myself, as an instructor. Below are some of the tools and techniques that I have incorporated into teaching massage therapy online.

Tools & Techniques for Online Class

Devices for Teaching
I use both iPad and a laptop. I primarily use my laptop to teach. I use my iPad for checking on students and testing to make sure my games will work on their iPads.

Streaming YouTube Videos
If I need to play YouTube videos on a teleconference (like Microsoft Teams), I play them from my laptop instead of my iPad. YouTube videos streamed on my iPad have no sound for the students.

Record Ahead of Time
It’s okay to record part of your lecture in advance. Sometimes it can be better for you and the students to demonstrate certain topics by recording a video that you can edit (with pictures and clips from different angles, for example) than trying to do everything live on your computer’s webcam. Prerecording tutorials or “how-to” videos also allows you to troubleshoot any problems you may have.

Develop Rituals
These are unprecedented times and we all have limits. We need to find our rituals that keep us grounded. I know for myself, I have had to increase the amount of time I spend meditating.

Plan Ahead
Even if you have taught the subject matter 1000 times before, things can still go wrong. Have alternative activities premade – it helps to save time and headaches should technology issues arise. I also use OneNote to keep my links and activities organized for students so they can go back and reference that material later.

Applications or Websites for Online Class

Class Marker
This is a website I have used for multiple purposes. The website is free to use but limited on features unless you purchase the upgrades.  Features include multiple choice, matching, true/false and short answer.

This is a mind mapping website. Free to use but limited on features. I have students use this app when talking about content they have already learned.

Play Factile
I have found students love Jeopardy. This is a virtual way to play Jeopardy with your students. However, in order to use virtual buzzers, you will need to upgrade the plan. When I signed up, they offered a free trail.

I find this website is best to use when you are looking for group participation and have a large class. Sometimes having a large class is overwhelming, so Socrative helps you test what students may or may not know, in the here and now.

Poll Everywhere
This website is fantastic for a large amount of activities. WordCloud making, quizzes, competitions, surveys, discussion and lots more. Great for exploring new content.

Self Care Ideas

I mentioned before that you need to know your limits and you should have a self-care plan in place every day. Throughout this experience of teaching online, I have found some helpful self-care websites or videos that help me get through the day.

Mister Chakra
This is Aveda’s own meditation and self care retreat online. Useful in understanding a bit more about the chakras and how they are affected by the world around us. Misterchakra.com offers tips and tricks on how to balance the chakras.

Bubble Baths
Take a bubble bath or Epsom salt bath – baths are a great way to relax and unwind. To help make the experience even better, add your favorite essential oil. Adding Epsom salt is a great way to help get nutrients back into the body.

Not only does exercise increase energy and body awareness, it also helps to boost the function of many parts of the body.

We don’t really have any other option but to go forward in this situation. There are many ways for instructors and students to adapt to online classes and even discover amazing new ways to teach and learn. I hope you will join me in continuing to grow and learn during these times.

If you are interested in learning more about our massage therapy program, schedule a virtual tour to meet with one of our admissions coordinators.