Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Teaching Online (Part II) - In the Beginning...

...reflect  Pretty high-tech I know, but an overlooked aspect in the excitement (or forced drudgery for some) of going online.  

     Teaching online and teaching face to face are certainly different experiences. As you begin to ponder teaching online there are some things you can do in a face to face course that you cannot do online and vice versa. However, there are many aspects of your teaching style that can be utilized in both modes of teaching (albeit sometimes slightly altered). When designing an online course take it as an opportunity to reflect on your current courses and teaching style.
  • How do you interact with students, engage them, prompt them?
  • How do you serve up content or provide information?
  • How do you assess/evaluate: discussion, student work, group work, quizzes, tests?
  • What works really well, what doesn't? 
     These questions are good to ask anytime, but especially as you begin to design your course online. Being honest and knowing who you are as an instructor will help you design a course that engages students. A well designed course will help to highlight your strengths and mask your weaknesses in order to provide students with a quality online learning experience.

     Reflection is an important part of the process but one that is often overlooked because of time.  It takes time to reflect and be honest, it takes time to make adjustments that will come from true reflection, and it takes time to implement those new ideas. Add to the equation that it should be a never ending process and it is easy to see why we often find reflecting hard to fit into our schedules.

     The bottom line is that reflection yields higher quality in all aspects of life/work and teaching is no different. If you first take the time to reflect as you prepare to transition to the online world you, your course, and your students, will be better off.

     What are your thoughts or comments about the importance of reflection?  Feel free to share below in the comments section.  In the next post we will talk about course design.