What it is to be an Online Teacher
This page provides links to a number of resources that are primarily concerned with the issues involved in teaching online.
Articles in date order, most recent first.
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"A 200+ page guide for people interested in tutoring online. Includes lesson plans, tech reviews, teaching guides and more..."
Added: 24 July 2006
From Tobyscafe.com, a comprehensive step-by-step guide for ESL teachers who want to teach English online.
"Scot Headley outlines five roles that online instructors can use to increase the sense of community and depth of learning in their courses; they are space planner, pacesetter, host, connector, and mirror. These roles underscore the importance of strong relationships between teacher and student, particularly in an online setting."
Scot Headley, innovate, October/November 2005, Vol 2, Issue 1
Added: 6 October 2005
"Headley provides examples from his own experiences as a distance educator, providing educators with a thorough description of their responsibilities and a laundry list of course design considerations that instructors should acknowledge in their quest to create a highly interactive, deep learning experience for their students."
"The effectiveness of distance learning must be measured in results-quality learning. Learner-center programs and competent instructors are two oft-cited keys to success in higher education. Teaching online requires specific skill sets (competencies). This paper identifies and describes 51 competencies needed by online instructors and outlines an instructor-training program that satisfies 3 of the 24 benchmarks for excellence recommended by the Institute for Higher Education Policy."
Theodore C. Smith, The Journal of Educators Online, Vol 2, No 2, July 2005
Added: 26 July 2005
Author concludes - "Future research should attempt to determine which of these competencies are best acquired via formal training, on-the-job internships, collaborative reflection and discussion, or some combination thereof."
"During the last 15 years, we in education have moved at light speed in the area of educational technology ... With that in mind, here is a comprehensive listing of the technology skills that every educator should have. "
Laura Turner, THE Journal. June 2005
Added: 29 June 2005
"Because as computer and associated technologies continue to change and evolve, educators must continue to strive for excellence in their work. Today that includes continued time and effort to maintain and improve their technology skills (as much as some educators do not want to admit"
"The text-based interaction of e-learning arguably creates more work for an instructor. That, coupled with the lack of face-to-face contact with students, makes teacher absenteeism easier to rationalize (and harder to notice). Online instructors often go absent from their classes for spans of time simply not tolerated in the traditional classroom. The irony is that the current model of e-learning sets student needs and instructor workload in opposition-online students need interaction with their instructors far more than their face-to-face counterparts. It may seem politically expedient to ignore such a problem. However, instructors, students and universities would all benefit from practical solutions to this dilemma."
Glenn Gordon Smith and Marypat Taveras, Stony Brook University in eLearn Magazine
Added: 27 January 2005
The discussion continues "There is a structural flaw with online learning that results in intermittent (but significant) instructor absences. What is to be done? There are two approaches to addressing the flaw: adapt to the existing model and infrastructure of e-learning, and redesign the infrastructure and model."
"This paper summarizes some of the best ideas and practices gathered from successful online instructors and recent literature. Suggestions include good online class design, syllabus development, and online class facilitation offering hints for success for both new and experienced online instructors."
Kaye Shelton and George Saltsman, International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, October 2004
Added: 24 October 2004
"Effective online learning requires careful preparation, design, implementation, and follow-up. This article combines best practices from a variety of resources - research studies, publications, and discussions among online instructors. The analogy of a garden is used to reinforce practices that will ensure a successful "harvest!"
"The final critical success factor to creating effective e-learning environments is to include a participative and active online instructor. The instructor is the glue that holds together the other four factors (student motivation, useable technology, opportunities to collaborate and interact, and the program blend)."
Jennifer Hofman, Learning Circuits, December 2003
Added: 21 December 2003
"The online instructor plays a vital role in ensuring that learners are successful. Whether delivering a traditional, synchronous, asynchronous or blended approach, participants need to feel as though they have developed a personal rapport with the instructor."
"Perhaps not surprisingly, the virtual classroom appears tantalisingly similar to its bricks and mortar equivalent and trainers can justifiably expect to make use of many of their existing skills. However, there is a difference in working with an audience that could be thousands of miles away and which, to all intents and purposes, is invisible. In this article, Clive Shepherd explores what it is that the e-trainer needs to do differently to make a success of virtual classroom training and realise the benefits that synchronous online communication can bring to just about any organisation with a distributed workforce."
Clive Shepherd, tactix, August 2003
Added: 24 August 2003
This concentrates on the trainer's skills in running a live e-learning session.
"With the great demand for online courses, there is an urgent necessity to reflect upon the roles and competencies of teachers who plan to deliver courses via Internet. This reflection is important due to the fact that some teachers believe that it is possible to simply transfer to the Web the material (curricular content) that is traditionally used in the classroom without any adjustment to the media. Each medium requires different approaches to be used. The teachers should be trained to work online and "instructed" so they can achieve their pedagogical goals in a more effective, creative and innovative way when using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)."
Vera Queiroz and Pollyana N. Mustaro, Internet TESL Journal, July 2003
Added: 3 August 2003
Summary - "The effectiveness of an online course requires from a teacher more than only technical knowledge, but a reflective and innovative attitude that prioritizes the learning process focused on the student."
"Anumber of excellent digital textbooks are beginning to surface, delivering information in an interesting and interactive manner to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms. But, where does that leave educators?"
Added: 15 May 2003
Summary - Probably not, but your role will change if it hasn't already.
"In colleges and universities around the world, "bricks and mortar" are being supplemented or even replaced by "clicks and monitors" -- and the transition, especially for the faculty, can be challenging. This article examines the trend and offers practical steps to make this transition easier for your staff -- whether they are working in academia or other organizations."
Marie Larcara, eLearning Developers Journal, 12 May 2003
Added: 15 May 2003
You will need to be a subscriber to this Journal to access this PDF article
"This paper will examine the impact of the Internet on the teacher's role and explore the types of skills and strategies that teachers will need to be effective and efficient in online learning environments."
Jan Herrington and Ron Oliver, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia
Added: 7 March 2003
Looks at the competencies for online teaching
"Distance learning always appealed to me, but I doubted the technology could ever make the experience equal to the classroom. I feared the interface would seem sterile and cold and that students wouldn't participate. What I found out, with simple adjustments to my communications, was much different. Here are my "lessons learned"."
Karen Hyder, eLearning Developers Journal, 25 November 2002
Added: 26 November 2002
You will need to be a subscriber to this Journal to access this PDF article
"Research is constantly reinforcing just how important the e-tutor is to the success of an online course. The courses that provide the best support also have the highest completion rates and the most satisfied students. But what makes an effective e-tutor? How would you know one if you saw one? Clive Shepherd goes in search of the perfect e-tutor and reflects on just what the job has to offer in return."
Clive Shepherd, Tactix, November 2002
Added: 10 November 2002
How to become an e-tutor, the skills required and "a day in the life of" an e-tutor
"Online teaching redefines faculty members' schedules, duties, and relationships with students."
Jeffrey R Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, 31 May 2002
Added: 30 May 2002
This is exactly what many academic staff fear if they were to run online courses, that it takes over their lives. Although many thrive on this increased interaction with their students, it doesn't have to be like this, if email is managed properly.
"This document details the e-learning attitudes and preferences of 201 trainers, training managers, and other human resource personnel. It explores e-learning issues and future trends, including e-learning access, obstacles, support mechanisms, tool preferences, completion incentives, motivational practices, and content outsourcing."
Added: 15 March 2002
Also available Online teaching in an online world, a survey of e-learning in academia (http://publicationshare.com/docs/faculty_survey_report.pdf)
"Following these simple tips can help you make your at-a-distance message just as (if not more) effective and interactive as a face-to-face presentation."
Added: 22 February 2002
A good set of tips
"What you need to know to be an e-learning expert"
Patti Shank, Online Learning Magazine, February 2002
Added: 4 February 2002
Patti asks some e-learning experts what they see as the primary skills needed to design, develop and facilitate online learning
"Some pundits predict that e-learning will lead to "trainer-less" learning. The idea of a portal containing all the high-powered learning in the world would make the training process magical, without the limitations of trainers."
Elliott Masie, e-learning Magazine, January 2002
Added: 15 January 2002
Elliott Masie presents his thoughts on the skills of the trainer of the future
"Tutors occupy a complex pedagogical space in which they are often asked to serve two masters: teacher and student."
Patricia Ericsson and Tim McGee, Kairos: A Journal for Teachers of Writing in Webbed Environments, Autumn 1997
Added: 29 December 2001
Although a good few years old still an interesting article to read
"There seems to be no correlation between quality teaching in the classroom and teaching effectiveness online. Even the best instructors in a face-to-face setting can falter in the distance learning arena if they are not comfortable with the technology. Yet, even as scores of faculty in U.S. postsecondary institutions now offer courses online, few have been trained in the proper development and execution of distance learning courses ... Understanding this problem, distance education researchers and practitioners in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) at the University of Florida began to develop a new training program."
Added: 21 August 2001
Researchers at the University of Florida conduct a survey to develop a model distance education training programme.
"Here's how some trainers learned how to deliver e-learning."
Karen Frankola, Learning Circuits, August 2001
Added: 21 August 2001
Also includes a useful list of tips for online instruction
"The facilitator plays a vital role in developing and maintaining an online program that is effective, smooth, and that will support the realization of the planned learning outcomes. Faculty delivering courses online must be more than transmitters of knowledge; they must become facilitators of learning. Some highly seasoned instructors from the traditional on-ground environment will easily adapt to the online model, while others may find the transition challenging at first. The facilitator in the online environment must possess a unique set of tools to perform effectively."
Illinois Online Network
Added: August 2001
Also What should participants of the online learning experience expect from the facilitator?
"The instructor's role in the success of the course, the program, and student retention and achievement is clearly documented. In online learning, this role is even more critical, as the instructor has to overcome potential barriers caused by technology, time, and place and create an optimal environment for achieving educational goals."
Learning Peaks, LLC
Added: 19 July 2001
This article looks at the instructor's role in four areas: administration, facilitation, technical and evaluation
"How the Web changes what training professionals do."
Learning Circuits, June 2001
Added: June 2001
"The following events at an internal training department are based on real facts. Names have been changed to protect the innocent--and my job."
Jennifer Hofmann, Learning Circuits, April 2001.
Added: April 2001
"This review of the research study's major themes should encourage those moving into the field of synchronous instruction to carefully attend to the human and social aspects of operating in an live online environment."
Strategic Visions International
Added: March 2001
"The purpose of this Guide is to introduce some of the basic characteristics of online education. It is intended for students or teachers who are new to this domain and looking for some suggestions and advice about how to make it a more enjoyable and worthwhile endeavor."
(1997) Greg Kearsley.
A Q&A session with Ken White the author of The Online Teaching Guide in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
"Classroom trainers have always worn many hats. The eLearning environment adds more. The on-line role is more challenging but more flexible and varied. The new job is to answer questions, to coach, to steer, to encourage, to lead -- but not to instruct. There's less travel and more variety. Let's call this new role "eLearning Guide."
"The top-down pressures that are mandating the delivery of web-based distance education courses are creating a problem because the responsibility for developing and delivering these courses is bottom-up and has fallen on the shoulders of unprepared University faculty members."
Carol Wilson, Computer Science Department, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume I, Number 3, Fall 1998.
"This Web Site offers extracts and tasters from the book, a version of the 5-step diagram explored and explained in the book, examples of the screen dumps of online training and induction, links to resources and people who feature in the book's pages."
Dr Gilly Salmon, Open University Business School, 2000
Gilly's book provides an alternative view on e-learning - not content-centric but communication-centric.
"This study examined incentives that encourage faculty to develop educational opportunities via distance and obstacles that discourage them from doing so."
S. Kay Rockwell, Jolene Schauer, Susan M. Fritz, David B. Marx, University of Nebraska. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Volume II, Number IIII, Winter1999
"The forecasts for the growth of e-learning are becoming more extravagant by the month. If these forecasts are even half right, the effect on the IT training industry will be enormous and even the most skeptical classroom trainer must now be looking anxiously over their shoulder. In this article, Clive Shepherd examines the implications of the e-learning revolution for those who have made their living delivering learning face-to-face, and looks at ways for trainers to make a contribution in an increasingly online world."
This article presents the roles and functions of the online instructor in computer conferencing (CC). Zane Berge
Reviewer: One of the leading authorities on the role of the online instructor
Greg Kearsley explains how his transformation to a virtual professor and involvement in distance education began as a matter of necessity. (1999) Performance Improvement Global Network Chapter.
"Everyone wants to be a millionaire, but ask a group of trainers whether they want to become distance learning instructors and you'll see them peer around at colleagues, wondering which brave souls will raise their hands. Here's what to look for in potential e-trainers and how to help them succeed in the transition from face-to-face to virtual space."
Learning Circuits, ASTD Webzine, July 2000