Online teaching, where the teacher and student are connected to each other solely by the internet, is certainly on the rise. Many freelance teachers now choose to teach solely online from the comfort of their home. This is partly because there are obvious benefits for both teacher and student. Flexibility of time and place are invaluable for busy teachers and students alike. Past concerns about technology glitches have been lessened by more reliable internet connections and video conferencing platforms. It is still a good idea, where possible, to work with a more stable wired connection (rather than wifi) and invest in a quality USB headset. Encourage your students to do the same.
Whether you use online teaching to supplement your face-to-face teaching course or if you teach entirely online, it’s important to be able to adapt your teaching to this different medium. This doesn’t mean that you have to discover and use a vast array of online tools. It is more important to create a bank of adaptable activity types that are pedagogically sound and motivating for your learners. At the end of this post there are links to some useful resources for online teachers to help with more advice and activities.
In the past one of the major challenges of teaching online has been to avoid unprofessional ‘online schools’ with poor standards or finding and retaining your own students. Fortunately, new companies such as www.perfectlyspoken.com are realising the potential of linking students with professional, qualified teachers.
So, where do you start?
It is a good idea to do a bit of research before starting out in this new area of teaching. One great place to start is to read Nicky Hockly and Lindsay Clandfield’s “Teaching Online” published by Delta Publishing which is available in paper and e-book format. The book starts by considering the theory of online teaching before moving on to cover the tools needed for successful online instruction. The second part of the book continues to offer an invaluable selection of practical techniques and activities drawing on both of the authors’ online teaching experience. The final part looks at further developing your online teaching and includes a useful section on developing your PLN (personal learning network).
Other useful resources:
eltjam’s 3-part beginner’s guide to teaching online:
Downloadable resources and extracts from Teaching Online
E-moderation Station [Nicky´s blog]
Nicky´s Teaching Online guest posts on the Delta Development blog