Who can teach Online?
Teaching online require teachers communicate through Learning Management System (LMS) by using tools such as chat rooms, email, discussions and assignment feedbacks. Teaching online require a variety of approaches to connect with students. As a result, online teacher must be able to express their ideas in writing.
Online teachers must use different strategies to create an online community where there is communication between teacher-to-student and student-to-student. Effective online communication skill are essential.
- Having access to a computer and the Internet, and be able to sit in front of your computer for at least an hour or two every day (most online teachers put in many more hours)
- Having the ability to interact with your students without seeing them in the classroom, be very comfortable with the tools/system that you will be using to teach online (Learning Management System, computers, etc.)
- Enjoy one-on-one interaction, as opposed to lecturing or group presentations, have a positive attitude toward distance education
- Having the ability to try new ideas and be creative, and feel very comfortable with typing your thoughts and critiques.
What Skills does an online teacher need?
The main skills for teaching online is grouped in three: technical skills, facilitation skills, and managerial skills.
1. Technical skills include:
- Writing, typing and word processing skills, electronic presentation skills, web navigation and search skills, file management skills, computer-related storage devices (disks, CDs, USB drives, zip disks, DVDs, etc.), and knowledge of your school’s course management system - be proficient using the basic elements of online courses: email, uploading files, threaded discussions, test/quiz functions, electronic grade book.
2. Facilitation skills include:
- Engaging the student in the learning process at the beginning, using appropriate questioning, listening and feedback skills, the ability to provide direction and support, skills in managing online discussions, the ability to build online teams, ability to promote active learning, accommodating students with different learning styles, utilizing appropriate learning theories, a capacity for relationship building, and motivational skills.
3. Managerial skills include:
- Knowing how to manage collaborative groups, having excellent time management, managing course material to be presented for different learning styles, managing online student disputes, being able to coordinate and involve students in activities, knowing institutional procedures and policies for implementing an online course, and knowledge of basic legal issues such as digital copyright, FERPA and ADA in the online environment.
What are the benefits of teaching online?
The flexibility of when and where you teach, more individual communication with your students, the challenge of trying something innovative, the variety of online materials available, and for some teachers, it may be a safer and less anxiety-producing teaching environment.
In addition, teachers may be interested in learning to teach online because they feel that it will increase their career opportunities.
What are some problems online teachers may encounter?
Some teachers decide that the online environment is not for them. Their reasons may include:
- online teaching is not what they expected or not what they are interested in
- the workload in an online class is too demanding for them and/or they lack the time management skills needed for online teaching
- they are overwhelmed by technical problems with their computer or Internet connection
- they are not encouraged to teach online by their superiors, colleagues, or family
- it is too difficult and/or time consuming to keep up with technology, and the compensation is not enough for the time and effort it takes to facilitate an online course.
What questions should I ask myself before deciding to teach online?
- Will I miss having face-to-face interaction with my students?
- Do I have the computer skills necessary to teach an online course?
- Am I willing to learn new teaching strategies?
- Do I have excellent time management skills?
- Do I have a quiet place where there is a computer to work on my class work?
- Am I a good group facilitator?
- Am I willing to give prompt feedback to students who are in a 24/7 class?
- Am I willing to invest the extra time that it takes to teach an online course?