Advice for online teacher

Scenario: Professor Cannon, a faculty member who is new to online teaching, comes to you for advice.

She teaches two graduate courses on-campus, where the students seem to enjoy her lectures and find her perspective thought-provoking. 

In a 50-minute period, she usually lectures for about 40-45 minutes, leaving about 5-10 minutes for discussion. 

On occasion, especially before exams, she devotes the entire class period to discussion. 

The dean has asked her to convert one of the courses to an online format. 

She will be given some extra time and instructional design help to develop the course.


The instructional designer is recommending that the course be redesigned for active learning. Rather than a lecture approach with exams, he thinks the use of discussion forums and other collaborative tools should be used to engage students in group activities and interaction.


Professor Cannon is concerned about the role of the online instructor. How would you respond to the questions below that she asks?


 Questions to address:


*** As you think about being an online instructor in a collaborative course with group activities, what kinds of tasks, roles, or competencies would you find most challenging, and why?


I would advice her to focusing more and considering the time management skills, online courses may take a lot of the instructor time if he/ she did not plan to it perfectly, monitoring learners contributions and directing them to the right way for sure will take a lot of time.

Also, constructive/effective feedback is one of the urgent skills that the online instructor should master, and the main property of the effective feedback is to raising the student self-confident by not giving him negative massages.

Also, opening areas to students to practice and reflect their knowledge with a well designed activities and/or questions is important.


Finally, the online instructor should know that his main task in teaching online is to be facilitator more than direct instructor. 



**** Consider the common advice that instructors should interact with students to create teacher presence, guide discussions, and establish a cohesive group. Should online discussions always involve learner-instructor interaction? What advantages/disadvantages, alternatives, or issues come to mind?


Ummm.... to ensure better interaction, teachers should attend always, while in my opinion the attendance of the teacher may occur by two way:

1- Explicit presence, by discussing with students and contribute to the discussion and commenting on students work.

2- Implicit presence, by designing a dialog discussion activity, with well defined roles for the participant and continues hidden feedback for them.

both of these way lead to the importance of the learner- instructor interaction.


The second way may appeared as no learner instructor interaction, while in fact the role of the instructor was very effective in designing and monitoring this activity, and also it strongly support the learner - learned interactions.


However,excessive using to learner-instructor interaction could affect the learner - learner interaction which is not a good practice in online learning. 


Furthermore, i really like to keep some activities with full responsibility to learners to manage the interactions, these type of activities will add new skills to learners, especially metacognitive skills, so that the diversity of activities could affect learning




*** Do you agree or disagree with the common advice that an online instructor should be a facilitator or coach (guide on the side) rather than a content presenter (sage on the stage), and why?


Huge Question :)

I prefer the learner centered approach in teaching, and changing the instructor role to facilitator however, applying this approach without looking on the parameters that affect this approach in a big mistake.


In my opinion i think this decision depend on many parameters, learners,course goals and materials and instructor skills, let me start with 


Learners: many parameters could affect the decision based on learner, such as online-studying experience (do they have previous experience) motivation( do they motivated to contribute) tech. skills ( are they skilled students and can they use the tools perfectly ) meta cognitive skills ( can they manage their time) and more.


Course goals and materials, course goals may control the type of delivering the course, so that some of materials may support learners interactions discussions and debate, while some other materials may not (like math).


Instructor, Course instructor skills may affect this discussion , dose the instructors eligible to manage interactive course, dose s/he have the skills to ask open ended questions, does s/he have enough time?.


So that using this advice without taking care of the circumstances that affect the teaching approach is not a good practice.