Why should I take up Online Teaching?
Teaching is an art just like balancing the rock. It is not only about delivering your lecture. Audio, Video, Text, Discussions, Feedback every element influences the learner. To make that impact, every element has to be staked up create a balance. There are many ways that online teaching may actually surpass traditional Face to Face classes in quality and rigor. Also, what makes it distinctive is the early successes and potential of the online environment as a teaching/learning medium.
Here are 10 ways in which I believe online teaching excels:
1. Student-centered learning
Academics have recognized for years the shortcomings of the faculty-centered classroom, but it has been difficult to break away from the paradigm. Whether the classroom instructor uses lecture, discussions, role playing, small group activities, or any other technique, it is still the instructor running the show. In an online environment, however, the instructor soon takes a back seat. Students are empowered to learn on their own and even to teach one another. Particularly in the discussion group mode, students have the opportunity to explain, share, comment upon, critique, and develop course materials among themselves in a manner rarely seen in the face to face classroom. Sometimes, students themselves serve as instructors to their classmates, and together they work toward learning goals more effectively than if they had been provided with the answer by the instructor.
2. Writing intensity
The best way to teach students how to write more effectively is to have them write more often. Online teaching has made it a reality. On average, online courses are far more writing-intensive than traditional classes have ever been. In both Face to Face and online classes, major assignments are submitted in written form. But in an online learning, general discussions, requests for elaboration or assistance, answers to directed questions, group projects, most assignments, and many tests and quizzes are in written form as well. When instructors require that students submit carefully written and proofread assignments, the quality of work among students, improves over the duration of the course.
3. Highly interactive discussions
One of the most exciting features of teaching online is the discussion forum. In the traditional Face to Face classroom, the instructor asks a question, and the same four or five extroverted students inevitably raise their hands. They offer spontaneous, often unresearched responses in the limited time allotted for discussion. In the online environment, discussions enter a new dimension. When an instructor posts a question on the asynchronous discussion board, every student in the class is expected to respond, respond intelligently, and respond several times.
Many online students who hesitate to speak face to face “speak up” in the online class and that they enjoy the opportunity. Even for the instructors, it is a pleasure to hear the surprisingly compelling ideas of the introverted members of their classes.
In addition to prompting more discussion, online teaching fosters higher-quality discussion. Before students respond to an instructor’s discussion question or to classmates’ posted comments, they can refer to their course materials and think through their answers. As a result, students have the opportunity to post well-considered comments without the demands of the immediate, anxiety-prone Face to Face discussion, which often elicits the first response that comes to mind rather than the best possible response.
Also, Online discussions are not limited to a few minutes of live class time; they frequently last for a week, and it is not unusual to have 100 or more student postings during that period of time.
4. Geared to lifelong learning
The online environment fosters self-motivated education. Students direct their own use of Internet links, search engines, discussion boards, chat, e-mail, and other media. While such resources cannot guarantee student initiative, they establish a framework that gives precedence to the autonomy of the learner.
5. Enriched course materials
In Online teaching, you virtually take your course to any extent. For example, I read about a History Course Online, gives students the opportunity to “visit” recreations of battles, military museums, and various primary source documents. A well-constructed, creative online course can take anthropology students to cultures all over the world, archeology students to active dig, art students to the finest museum collections, and business students to corporations large and small. World-class resources can be accessed, viewed, and studied 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If they wish, instructors can also pair these virtual experiences with physical ones for an expanded benefit. An art appreciation instructor that I know requires his online students to visit a local museum and write a report on selective works that they either strongly liked or hated.
6. On-demand interaction and support services
Help is only a click away in an online course. Instructors can offer many types of interactive learning aids on their course sites (e.g., flash cards, immediate feedback tests, and PowerPoint presentations). Contact with the instructor and classmates through e-mail can occur at any time and not just during traditional on-campus office hours. Students can also use e-mail, chat rooms, and discussion boards to establish impromptu or scheduled study groups that defy conventional time and space restrictions. Just as importantly, an online teaching site can make a whole host of campus services available to students, including registration, academic advising, financial aid information and forms, services for students with disabilities, 24/7 libraries, and online tutoring through Smarthinking or similar vendors.
7. Immediate feedback
Even though they do not see a teacher across the classroom every day, online students generally have greater access to instructors. Traditional students rushing off to their next class or off-campus jobs often cannot squeeze in a question to their instructor. Online students, however, can and do e-mail countless questions to their professors and frequently engage in a dialogue that would be hard to duplicate in the Face to Face world.
On a more formal note, online tests and quizzes can be constructed with an automatic grading capability that provides immediate feedback and references to text and class notes that explain the correct answers. Assignments, including grades and editorial comments, can be returned to students more promptly and usually with more detail than in the Face to Face environment. There is no need to wait for the next class to return an assignment.
Students with family or work responsibilities are often unable to commit to a traditional course because they cannot be in the same place at the same time for 15 consecutive weeks. Even if a course schedule is acceptable, limited enrollment may be a problem. The advantages of online teaching, however, include giving ample opportunities for students to pursue their interest at any time that fits into their busy lives.
9. Online Teaching brings an intimate community of learners together
Strange as it may sound, one instructor after another notes the surprisingly close relationships that they have developed with their online students. They say that it is common for participants in online courses to develop a strong sense of community that enhances the learning process. Students are much more prone to open up and reveal information about themselves in e-mails and on discussion boards than they are in the Face to Face environment.
10. Faculty development and rejuvenation
Online Teaching brings the excitement and work of creating a course for the first time. Undeniably, Online Teaching is more work—frequently much more work—than teaching in a classroom. However, it energizes you with its creative process of achieving the same instructional goals in an entirely new format. The thinking, planning, research, learning, and effort that goes into constructing and teaching has rejuvenated those who were frankly going through the motions after numerous years of teaching the same courses, semester after semester, in the same classroom environment. Hence, nowadays, most respected faculty members are actually leading the movement to online teaching. They are not scared of the Internet, and they quickly master the course management systems the ones like our very own Learnyst.
In conclusion, Online Teaching is one of the most exciting enhancements to contemporary education. Online Teaching is neither right for all students nor right for all faculty, but it frequently meets the needs of both for an exciting, high-quality educational experience. As with any instructional mode, the quality varies, but the potential—often met and still expanding—is on a par and in some respects even better than with the traditional Face to Face mode. Admittedly, it is up to future research to support or reject the impressions I have reported in this article. The important point, however, is that online teaching can be done well, and the demand for it is such that we all have to work to make it better. It is here to stay for all of the right reasons.