The cliché that you only get one chance to make a first impression is especially true when you teach online. Each item you post—email, discussion message, announcement, etc.—must be created with much thought, and none is more important than the first post to your class.
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Online instruction invariably requires more time for logistics than does face-to-face instruction due to interaction needs, extraneous cognitive load (mental effort needed to attend to non-content-related course elements), and poor self regulation by students.
Shortcomings of an online course are not always obvious to the person who created it or teaches it. That is why it is helpful to seek other sources of information to determine whether a course is meeting its objectives. Mary Hricko, library director and associate professor of library and media services at Kent State University Geauga Campus and Twinsburg Center, recommends doing this in the following three ways:
The online learning environment offers great potential for individualized learning. One way to achieve this is through adaptive hypermedia—using learner use patterns to adapt course presentation, navigation, and content to suit individual students’ needs and preferences.
At the heart of every online course is the discussion forum. This is where ideas, information, and new material are shared, discussed, analyzed, built upon,
Online instructors receive poor evaluations for any number of reasons, including lack of experience, inadequate training, and poor communication skills. Other times, the poor reviews are more reflective of the course design than the instructor who’s teaching the course. That distinction is unimportant to the students.
It’s not easy to get unanimous agreement on anything these days, but on this most educators can agree:
- An instructor’s personality impacts student learning;
- More is learned in a class than just course content; and
- It can be difficult to show your personality in an online course.
Student participation is perhaps the biggest challenge of teaching online courses, says Deborah Raines, professor and director of the Accelerated Second-Degree BSN Program at Florida