I don’t see much differences in the expectations for online teachers vs. face-to-face instruction. The list of skills discussed in Section IV of NEA’s Guide to Learning doesn’t seem that new or foreign. Aren’t these skills that all teachers should naturally possess — not just relevant to online instructors? Education is education and teaching is teaching… I don’t see why there needs to be this feeling of a special set of skills / instructions / expectations for online teachers simply because they are teaching a course online. Online instructors are no more special than face-to-face instructors and to offer a specified set list of expectations that they should already be familiar with (they are teachers, after all) is a little insulting. To put another way, isn’t this all common sense practice? I can see many teachers pulling out their laptops and grading if they had to sit through something like that for professional development… this isn’t new — tell us something we don’t already know. It’s sad that we cannot seem to get new information on best practices, as Monty pointed out, since it is very surprising there isn’t that much (new) research out there.
I acknowledge that there is no 100% transfer of skill sets from face-to-face to online. Even “Best Practices…” states: “The direct transference of good instructional practice in face-to -face settings does not always translate to good teaching in online environments (Davis & Roblyer, 2005). Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the different set of skills for teaching in online learning environments.” I still believe a good teacher is a good teacher – regardless of the medium he or she is to operate in. A solid teacher should not have major issues in transferring their course work from a face-to-face environment to an online environment (especially in today’s society). While I disagree that transference of coursework is a major concern, I still hold fast to the idea building relationships is a struggle online (see previous blogs).
One question that has been bugging me regarding either best practices or just online teaching in general is how to hold students accountable. It seems that when students have access to “whatever” on the internet their accountability lessens as they can just google the answer/information at their whim… it is very hard to gauge individual thought. Also, how do we even know that the student him/herself is the one actually doing the work? Isn’t it possible (likely??) that a parent or friend is there doing it for them? How do you know that I am the real Brent Fleisher? This isn’t reserved just for online instruction, but I see it extremely more applicable to it. Even in face-to-face we are faced with students not doing their own work (just last year I had a parent get mad at me for a student’s low essay score…only to tell me that she wrote it and was insulted… needless to say, the student didn’t earn any credit then…#waytothrowyourownchildunderthebus).