One of the first things we ask faculty to share in the Teaching Online Workshop (TOW) is their apprehensions and concerns about teaching online. The Teaching Online Workshop is an online course for faculty new to teaching online. Participants experience online education first-hand as students in this intensive four- week course.
Teaching online can be very different from what most of us have experienced in the traditional classroom. Many instructors have apprehension and see great challenges with this method of education.
After reading through module 1.1 about online learning and taking the faculty preparedness for online teaching self-assessment, what are your main thoughts or concerns about teaching online? What potential benefits might you expect?
Faculty Concerns (from 2013 TOW)
“My first concern is that I gather much feedback from the nonverbal communication between myself and the students during class regarding their understanding, interest, previous knowledge, etc. I am hopeful that I can still receive feedback to tailor my course for the students I will be teaching.”
“My concern is how to determine the optimum number of bells and whistles (news stories, blogs, wiki’s, video links) to include in order for students to stay engaged?”
“First, I am concerned about the fact that students who struggle with time management and/or have procrastination problems typically don’t fare well during an online course because some of the students who enroll in our class will undoubtedly fit into this category. Second, I have heard many students talk about how they just need to post something to a discussion board for credit rather than because they have a really thoughtful point they are intrinsically inclined to share, so I’m trying to think through how I can manage that issue. Finally, I’m nervous about how well I will do with creating an online classroom feel in which students engage in meaningful dialog with one another.”
“The challenge I see is keeping a balance of social chatter vs. specific assignment discussions, I have seen this get out-of-hand per some online classes. I always appreciated the online facilitator who encouraged more specifics from students who generalized; they also minimized extremely long posts by reminding students to stay on point and the importance of being succinct when discussing a point or adding a relevant comment.”
“I am also apprehensive about being organized enough to pull this off effectively and in a timely way. I always meet deadlines, but I tend to procrastinate up to those deadlines.”
I appreciate the honesty and variety of responses to this prompt and understand that these are all valid concerns for faculty new to online teaching. I will share more concerns later but my next blog post will highlight this groups’ perceived benefits of teaching online.