online teaching challenges
As an experienced online educator, I am confident that my students are not only learning but also excelling. Through our classroom activities and interactions, they are simultaneously mastering content and developing higher-order thinking strategies. Yet I am plagued with concerns that this is not enough.
If you’re new to the online classroom, or having been teaching online for years, we invite you to spend an hour with Oliver Dreon, PhD, director of Millersville University’s Center for Academic Excellence, for this one-hour online seminar. You’ll learn how you can use a half-dozen research-based, easy-to-implement practices to help you create truly student-centered instruction, and come away with a tremendous “toolkit” of ideas for making your online classes even better than they are now.
Online Seminar • Recorded on Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Anyone who teaches online has run into problems within their courses. Some of these problems can be complicated and if not correctly resolved can do major damage to the online instructor’s reputation and opportunity for teaching future courses. This month’s column tackles the worst of these.
Issues such as time and workload management, quality assurance, and the need for new skills and competencies remain real or perceived barriers for faculty who are new to teaching online. Join Lawrence Ragan of Penn State’s World Campus as he shares his observations, stories, and insights regarding where faculty struggle in the online classroom, and what can be done to help.
video Online Seminar • Recorded on Thursday, November 8th, 2012
As if teaching isn’t hard enough, now you have to deal with the added stress that the growing tide of incivility brings to the classroom. This online video seminar gives you the tools you need to take control of your classroom without judging, alienating, or demonizing students.
video Online Seminar • Recorded on Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Our courses are rolled out to online students with assignments scheduled for each week. Some of these assignments are relatively easy, meaning there will be weeks that are “light” in terms of scheduled assignments, while others will be “killer” weeks because of especially difficult assignments and/or a large number of assignments. While you need to prepare students to do all the assignments, it is especially important that you pre-assist them for those killer weeks. If you don’t do this, their anxiety can markedly increase, their involvement in and enthusiasm for the course can decrease, and you can lose them altogether.
When first visualizing an online mathematics course, I saw a barren, text-only environment where students learned primarily from the textbook and where instructors provided text-based direction, clarification, and assistance. But typing is not teaching and reading is not learning. Students deserve more from online courses than regurgitated textbooks and opportunities to teach themselves. With today’s technology, we can create a rich learning environment.
Teaching any online class is time-consuming and can be a juggling act. The instructor must keep students engaged and motivated, adhere to a variety of deadlines, quickly answer all student emails and postings, react to in-class “emergencies,” stay on top of all school policies, and teach the subject in an easy-to-understand manner—while remaining a patient, upbeat, and constant presence through it all. This is no easy task, and while we each have developed approaches to help us, there is one often underused “tool” that online instructors can employ: the students in one’s course.
Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Harassment: Navigating the Murky Legal Waters of Online Teaching
If you teach online, here’s a simple quiz for you:
- Are you familiar with your college’s intellectual property policy?
- Do you know if you own the class material you have created?
- Do you have permission to use all copyrighted materials you use regularly?
- Do you know how to prevent defamation and harassment issues online?
- Do you have a disability expert on campus that regularly assists in the development of online materials so that you do not violate disability guidelines?
Disruptive students, in any teaching and learning environment, are a challenge to manage, but they can be particularly so online. And it may take longer for an instructor to realize that a student is actually being disruptive online, since online communications can be ambiguous and one always wants to give students the benefit of the doubt.