Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Online learning is undoubtedly an effective alternative to traditional learning in brick and mortar schools. Its growing popularity over the past few years is proof that students find a lot of advantages in enrolling in online classes, such as lower tuition fees and time flexibility. Online classes are not only benefitting the students, but the teachers as well. However, when deciding whether to teach an online class or stay in a traditional face-to-face class, there are a few things you will need to consider:
Handling Bigger Classes
An undergraduate face-to-face class would generally have a maximum of 75 students. With online classes, this could double to 150 which you will have to manage alone as you will not have a co-instructor or teaching assistant.
Demand for Timely Online Correspondence
Expect your online students to be asking questions regarding their assignments or projects, and because their performance will depend on your response, it will be necessary for you to be able to respond to online queries and clarifications in a timely manner. You may want to notify your students how soon you will be able to answer their emails or chat messages so they are aware of the wait time and when they can follow up.
Providing Dynamic Content
With online learning, providing slides and handouts are not enough. All modes of material, such as interactive modules, videos and audio recordings of lectures, and downloadable PDFs will be needed to effectively reach the very diverse student base in your class. Having different forms of resources incorporated into your curriculum will help keep all of your students engaged.
Absence of Personal Connection
Unlike an actual class where you get to know your students on a personal level and vice versa, online classes offer less opportunities to connect. You may ask them to introduce themselves and say something about their background at the beginning of the class, but aside from this, the lack of personal interaction will be limiting your relationship with students to a facilitator-learner level.
Accommodating Strange Questions and Requests
While it is normal for teachers to hear unusual questions or requests from students, online or traditional classes alike, the number of these strange queries may be greater for those enrolled online. You will have to possess a lot of patience and professionalism when dealing with these online, since the lack of personal interaction can lead to misinterpretations. Always respond to correspondence from students in a professional, straightforward manner and always end on a positive note.
If you are strongly considering to venture into online learning, you will have to look at the challenges that you might be facing as well as assess your personal capabilities in meeting the demands and complexities of your online students. While teaching online classes seem to be very enticing, with all the advantages it provides, this mode of teaching may not be for everyone. So, before you take the plunge into the online world, read back and if you answer yes to all of these considerations, good luck and have a great journey ahead!
Michelle Rubio has been writing for SMEs across the United States, Canada, Australia and the UK for the last five years. She is a highly-experienced blogger and SEO copywriter, writing business blogs for various industries such as marketing, law, health and wellness, beauty, and education, particularly on creating online courses such as those offered by CourseMinded.com.