[Note: This article first appeared in ETCJ as a comment on "Online Learning 2012: Six Issues That Refuse to Die" (12/29/11) on 10/22/13. -Editor]
Improving education and instruction, whether it’s online or F2F, is all about the quality of the teacher. It goes without saying that a bad instructor will create a bad environment, in either setting. A great instructor will have a positive impact on students, no matter the environment. So the questions I would add are: What are the characteristics of a strong educator? Are there different characteristics for the online instructor compared to the F2F instructor?
What are the characteristics of a strong educator? Are there different characteristics for the online instructor compared to the F2F instructor?
A good online instructor must be well-organized, must create a solid structure within the CMS, and must be active and involved with the students. A good F2F instructor? Well, it’s similar, right? So what are the differences?
I think it helps to have a strong personality in the F2F environment, and for me, it’s that social interaction that I enjoy the most about teaching. I build rapport with my students, and I think that makes them enjoy class more and, thus, learn more. It sure makes me enjoy my career more.
Can we do that online? Many try, but it’s not quite the same. Then I wonder: So am I selfish? Do I just want to enjoy my work more? Maybe.
I do know without a doubt that teaching online has enhanced my F2F classes. It has improved my organization, my rubrics, my instructions, and much more in the F2F classroom. It’s easy to sit down and talk to someone about a topic or assignment. It’s significantly more challenging to clearly articulate strong discussion topics and assignments when teaching online.
I really enjoy thinking about these questions. I want to be the best educator I can be, no matter where I’m teaching. And I think it’s important for people to know that we can all learn from one another — that there is value in reflecting what we lose or gain in either medium of teaching. I want to keep asking questions like these and those in the article, and I want to get better at what I do without insulting anyone’s teaching or teaching preferences. Let’s simply strive to improve.
Filed under: Instruction