How should an online instructor exist in a course?
As an online instructor, you might play multiple roles in managing your course throughout each week. At times you might find yourself facilitating a discussion, answering questions about the technology, instructing on materials, grading, or coordinating a schedule.
In the video below provided by The State University of New York, a cast of experienced online instructors and instructional designers share their insights on instructor presence and overall successful delivery of a course. You’ll notice that a lot of them emphasize similar strategies.
In the video below (yes, it’s an old video, but it is STILL valid), Dr. Curtis Bonk from Indiana University provides some useful strategies for efficiently managing an online course and interacting with students in a way that nurtures a sense of community.
The key in designing successful online learning in terms of teacher-student interaction is to create an environment in which the students INTERACT with the teacher online, rather than save all questions/comments/thoughts for email or trying to find the faculty on campus. This final video dives deeper into the ideas behind that type of interaction.
Effective communication can end up being the difference between a student feeling disoriented and confused and a student knowing what exactly is expected of them each week. In a face-to-face class, we typically get to explain logistics as asides to the the day’s lecture or lesson. In an online course, a lot of that explanation of logistics has to occur as text via emails, announcements, and thoughtful instructions in the actual course materials.
- In The 7 Cs of Effective Communication in an Online Course,” (but they only list 6) the University of Rhode Island summarizes a strong approach to communication with online students.
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