Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
I believe the goal for online educators is to stop viewing the online teaching environment as something totally different from the traditional classroom. How can we as teachers implement strategies that enable us to weave seamlessly between the classroom and the course blackboard? We can no longer compartmentalize our various teaching environments – there must be a smooth interface between them all if we are going to blend the traditional classroom with online instructional delivery.
Online teaching is here to stay and more and more students are demanding this educational option. They are also expecting their online courses to be engaging and visually sophisticated. The web is becoming more and more interactive and we as educators must follow suit if we are going to remain competitive as an institution. Students can shop around in search of the online course that best meets their educational needs. We no longer have a captive market due to distance (travel) limitations. This takes a creative and proactive instructional approach no matter what your course content is. I think we need to be asking ourselves some basic questions as we design and create our online courses.
Are you incorporating images and graphics to illustrate and reinforce your course content? Are you linking to unique and viable web sites that relate to your course content? Have you thought of using video, audio, multi-media in your online class and above all are you proactive and creative in your teaching methods.
We can ALL do a better job when it comes to online teaching. We must first be willing to rethink our teaching methodology. We can’t be afraid to ask ourselves if we are teaching our course content in the most effective, engaging and creative way. There is always room for improvement – our first step is to re-evaluate how we are teaching and look at our online courses through a critical eye.
My experience has taught me that one of the primary elements for a successful online class is fluid communication between teacher and student. Students want to know their instructor is accessible, engaged and monitoring the class. Students desire viable feedback on their discussion board posts, homework and exams. There are ways of doing this without spending exorbitant amounts of time. The Announcements page is also a great way to help keep the communication going. It’s a place to update and reinforce students to your course expectations and let them know what is going on or how they are doing as a class. It’s been said that online teaching isn’t for every faculty member and it isn’t for every student. This may be true when the faculty member or student just doesn’t know or understand how to work in an online environment. Our entire global economy and communications systems have migrated online and if our students are going to be successful in the workplace we as educators must replicate and function seamlessly in this cyber environment.