One of the tenets of online education is meeting the needs of todays diverse student population. Online students make up a wide range of ages, ethnicities, and occupations its safe to say the typical student no longer exists. Further, these atypical students are learning at their own pace, often without a designated class time or meeting room. They study when theyre able to, whether its over coffee at 6 a.m., on their lunch hour, or after putting their youngest to bed. So what does this mean for online educators?
Photo courtesy of Plutor
Online classes must be structured differently to set students up for success. Its no longer enough to record and post lectures, though its an attractive proposition especially for educators who also teach in brick-and-mortar classrooms.
Below are a few best practices:
1. Set up, actively monitor, and participate in chat rooms and/or discussion boards this is critical since online students cant benefit from in-class conversation.
2. Outline and uphold your communication preferences; make yourself as accessible as possible.
3. Ensure online curriculum is engaging and timely, with an emphasis on projects and assignments that will help students retain information.
4. Clearly detail all instructions and deadlines upfront; its also helpful to estimate how long each assignment will take so students can plan accordingly.
5. Provide several examples so students feel confident that theyre on the right track.
6. Quiz students regularly to ensure comprehension.
7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis and course correct as needed.
Additionally, online instructors must fully understand the technology theyre using, especially since theyre presenting to a technologically savvy audience. This may require some training and personal investment, but it will pay off.
Wed love to hear what your best practices are for teaching online. Any major successes or lessons youd like to share? Please comment below.
online learning, online teaching