If you are interested in teaching online, it is important to realize that, although there are many similarities between online & face-to-face teaching, there are also many differences. Explore some of the resources and skills that are important to have for successfully teaching online including digital access, an understanding of online instructional design, time management skills, strong communication skills, and technical skills.
- [Voiceover] If you're planning to teach online, it's important to realize that, although there are many similarities between online and face to face teaching, there are also many differences. In this video we'll take a look at some of the resources and skills that are extremely important to have for teaching online. The first is an obvious one, and that is digital access. You'll obviously need access to technology and an internet connection if you plan to teach online. This includes a device such as a desktop or laptop computer, which will allow you to upload resources, files, or software.
And it's beneficial to have access to other devices such as a tablet, Chromebook or smart phone. Many of your students will be using these devices to access your course, and it really helps if you can view and test out your site and resources from their perspective. Next, you'll need an online platform for your course. Although it's possible to run your course through a website you design, a wiki, emails, or some other method, the most convenient and manageable option will likely be a learning management system such as Canvas, Blackboard, or Moodle.
This is a topic we'll discuss in an upcoming video. You'll need an internet connection, as without one, you won't have the ability to communicate with your students or to receive the assignments that they're submitting. It's also beneficial to have access to software for video or audio editing, screen capture, word processing, or other things you want to incorporate into your course. There are likely several accessories that will improve the quality of your course and make your life easier. This may include a microphone. If you plan to deliver audio content or give audio feedback, remember that the quality of your audio is going to have a big impact on the perceived quality of your instruction.
Most computer microphones have very poor quality, and I'd avoid using a computer microphone. If you plan to record instruction, you may need a camera. Often the camera on a smart phone will be sufficient, or you may need a webcam if you'd like to provide online office hours, have discussions, or meet with students through video conferencing. If your computer has a built-in webcam, this will likely be sufficient, but it's something that you'll want to test out first. Other potential accessories include a wireless mouse or keyboard, external hard drive to store backup files, possibly a printer, USB cables, or others.
The accessories that you'll need depend on what you plan to do in your course, and it's something worth considering ahead of time. Along with access to technology, it's important to have a certain level of technical skills. While teaching online, there are a number of things that you'll need to do, including uploading and downloading files, using different internet resources, monitoring student progress, communicating online, and more. Generally these skills all fall under digital literacy, and it's important that you're comfortable with these tasks if you want to teach online. Since you don't meet face to face, you'll often have to help with additional problem-solving, including finding online resources that support your learning objectives for the course, as well as troubleshooting.
When your students have issues with their device, software, or other technology related issues, they'll likely go to you first. This doesn't mean that you need to be an IT expert in order to teach online, but it will be critical that you can either help them to troubleshoot their issues, know how to research the issues in order to solve them, know who to ask, or that you successfully create a collaborative culture in which your students also help to troubleshoot any technical issues. I suggest a combination of all of these. The more technical skills, or the better you are at digital literacy, the easier your life will be when teaching online.
Other important skills for teaching online include instructional design, which is obviously important for all types of educators, but in this case it's realizing that the instructional design for a successful online course may be different from that of a face to face course. It will be important to have strong organizational skills in order to get your course structured and easy for students to navigate, as well as for your ability to monitor the progress of students. Time management skills. Online instruction is a different experience than face to face, and it's critical that you find a balance between being available and visible online, yet setting some parameters to protect your time.
You'll need a flexible schedule, as students may be submitting assignments, asking questions, or engaging in discussions in the morning, evenings, weekends, or other times. You'll need strong online communication skills. This is extremely important. One of the biggest differences between face to face and online courses are the ways that you're able to communicate. It's important to have excellent writing skills and the ability to communicate in a way that builds trust and rapport without the benefit of being able to meet face to face.
Another really important skill to have is the ability to inspire communication and collaboration. One of the biggest factors in determining the quality and success of your course will be your ability to get students to open up, engage in discussions, collaborate with other students, and to feel comfortable enough to ask questions. Hopefully this video helped you understand some of the resources and skills necessary for teaching online. The good thing is that with a growth mindset and a little hard work, you can improve at all of these skills.
Staff author Oliver Schinkten draws the connections between high-quality instruction and online education. He provides a framework for creating a digital classroom—with or without a learning management system—and guidance to get students interacting with the course material, the instructor, and each other. Collaboration is the key to making the learning experience more dynamic. Oliver also shows how to incorporate digital resources and the latest ed tech into your classroom, and make sure the lessons are accessible to students of all ability levels.
- What is online education?
- Why does online education succeed?
- Understanding learning management systems
- Incorporating technology in the classroom
- Setting guidelines and expectations about online courses
- Writing learning outcomes and learning objectives
- Sharing and curating files and resources
- Tracking student progress
- Engaging students
- Fostering communication
- Providing feedback
- Making learning accessible to students with disabilities