In an ever-advancing technological age, online educational resources and providers are more prevalent than ever before. Due in part to the flexibility and ease of access, the number of K-12 online institutions has grown significantly; and consequently, many traditional classroom teachers are making the move from traditional brick and mortar schools to online schools and academies.
At first glance, teaching in an online environment is an extremely appealing option, but prior to diving in to the alluring waters of online instruction, it is essential for educators to consider specific aspects and factors necessary to becoming an effective and successful online teacher. Below are 5 key factors to contemplate before adventuring into the innovative world of online instruction.
In the dynamic world of online instruction, there is a plethora of innovative programs and software designed to augment the online learning environment, and each online program has its own preferred delivery method of instruction and unique assemblage of utilized programs. It is essential to have a solid foundation and understanding of basic technological skills in order to adapt to a variety of learning management systems, programs, and software.
Effective time-management skills and self-discipline are fundamental when it comes to working remotely. Creating a daily schedule for yourself is a necessity as is maintaining a workspace that is clear of common distractions such as television, pets, chores, and family members. Treat this space as you would your classroom or office, keeping it organized and professional.
Because online students have the option to complete their coursework at any point during the day or night, you will need to be flexible, particularly when it comes to communication. Many students enroll in online courses because they work and/or have various commitments during the day, so they may need assistance in the evening. Adjusting your schedule to meet the diverse needs of your students is essential to their overall success in your course.
Consistent communication and the cultivation of a strong online presence is crucial in an online classroom. Because you are not face-to-face with your students on a daily basis as you would be in a traditional brick and mortar classroom, bridging this gap can be a challenging task. Ensure that your students are aware of your availability and reach out on a regular basis so that they feel safe and comfortable communicating with you. Whether it is through videos, emails, phone calls, or synchronous sessions, make sure that students are aware of the fact that there is a “real” person leading their course.
Online schooling can feel isolating because students are not regularly surrounded by their peers as they would be in a traditional classroom. Cultivating consistent classroom discussions and group activities will assist in bridging this social gap and help students feel more invested and involved not only with their fellow classmates, but in their own personal success as well. Conducting daily or weekly synchronous sessions where the instructor is teaching a live lesson and interacting with students in real-time can also assist in creating a sense of community amongst students. Students are able to communicate with one another and the teacher is able to provide immediate feedback.
Adjusting to teaching in an online environment can seem like a challenging endeavor; however, the accomplishment of reaching a diverse audience of students is incredibly rewarding. Taking the plunge in to online education will not only benefit countless numbers of students; it will expand your horizons and experiences as an educator and lead you in to the next wave of innovative educational opportunities.
Nevada Learning Academy at CCSD