Online Teaching

Today, I started an online class entitled “How to teach an online class.” In the past, I have had no direct experience with online teaching, but I am very excited to see what this course will bring. My own thoughts on online teaching are evolving. On the one hand, I am a firm believer in the value of daily and personal interaction. One of my favorite things about being a teacher is that I get to personally interact with students every day. I enjoy getting to know them, hearing their opinions on various issues, and trying to help them become successful students. In the past, I always thought that these things would not be possible in an online setting, but the more I research this type of instruction, the less sure I get.

Instead, it seems to me that today’s students are used to (and in some cases thrive on) different kinds of interaction. They are just as comfortable interacting with you in person as they are online. They find ways to get to know their teachers and peers through various online mediums, which leaves me with the slightly uncomfortable feeling that it is me, and not them, who makes incorrect assumptions about online teaching.

Is online teaching different from what I have always done? Yes. But, I am willing and excited to try it to see how I experience it. An online teaching or learning experience will undoubtably be different from a traditional one. However, I am starting to believe that in the right circumstances, and done in the right way, online teaching can serve as a nice compliment to more traditional means of teaching. It will not replace traditional teaching, but it could offer some nice opportunities for today’s students.

In the end, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to try an online course, and I am excited to see what it will mean for me as a teacher.

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2 Responses to Online Teaching

  1. Tracy Sockalosky says:

    I have been working on an online course design. It is hard! There are many challenges with regard to communication and relationship building. When I am in the classroom I use facial expressions and body language as a way to read my students, this can’t happen online. I agree that there are many possibilities with online education, I think the struggle is mapping those strengths to new curriculum design while also considering how this impacts the role of the teacher. I look forward to hearing your reflections. Good luck! – Tracy

    • Tracy, Thank you so much for your insightful comment! I agree with what you wrote, and I am curious to see how relationships will be formed in the online environment. Even though today’s students are used to creating relationships in a number of different ways, there is no doubt in my mind that as a teacher in an online course, I would have to work much harder (and in different ways) to foster a sound relationship between not only teacher and student, but between students as well. To me, one of the more rewarding aspects of teaching is to witness successful interaction and collaboration in the classroom. To be sure, this will happend in an online environment as well, but definitely in a different way and I am very curious to see how all of this will affect the roles of both teacher and student.

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