Tips For Successful Online Instruction
Online education is all the rage now. I've taken a few online courses, at the International Webmaster's Association, and found them to be really great. A sample tour of their courses can be seen here. The freedom online courses is wonderful but must be tempered with serious dedication, or you are just spinning your wheels bound for nowhere.
Student satisfation with a class is mainly dependent upon the structure of the online environment, materials used and the skill and approach of the instructor (student commitment is an obvious given.) If you teach online, or are thinking of doing it, you should take a look at this free ebook, 834 Tips For Successful Online Instruction, sponsored by WebEx. (WebEx creates solutions for organizations worldwide to meet their goals for marketing, sales, training, and support.)
I personally do not believe that online education is the end-all for everyone. There is an intangible element to a "live" class that is not possible online. The spontaneity, the human mental chemistry so to speak, of discussion in a literal classroom is not possible online. However, for those who are a bit timid in face to face classroom discussion, online courses provide the opportunity to think out your comments carefully, before responding. In some environments lurking is easy, and students are left to their own devices to participate at length or not.
There is a large dependency on self direction involved in online education. Students must have the self discipline to make sure they comply in all areas to ensure maximum success. I have seen many folks treat online courses very laxly. There is the "no one is really watching me" attitude that less dedicated students which causes them to skim over basic ground work necessary for higher learning. Establishing a firm committment to the course(s) is critical. The benefits reaped from active participation is a collaborative experience that will serve students well into their professional careers in today's high tech society.
Whether or not you like the idea of online education, it is here to stay. See this article: Online College Courses Increasingly Popular, by Andrea Moore. Lifestyles are becoming too harried and the cost of living keeps going up. Some people hold two or more jobs, are busy raising children (or caring for elderly parents,) and have little time to travel to school to advance their careers. Fortunately for them, they can work from home or anywhere they can get online and take the courses they need for their path to greater success. You need to make sure you are not forking out your hard earned money to an uncredited institution, or at the worst a useless, fraudulent diploma mill. So do your due diligence and find a legitimate online school at which to teach or study.
Virtual classes that are set up for everyone to be online at the same time, as on a physical campus, with whiteboard simulations and real-time chat make participation more engaging. Today, most college courses require students to email assignments and questions to professors, so it is not too big a jump for the students of the millennium. For less computer savvy folks, it takes a bit of a learning curve, but worth the effort.
The online environment also offers the obvious benefit of collaborating with a vast network of global students, which otherwise would never be possible. As an educator it offers a wonderful feeling of professional satisfaction, to be able to empart your knowledge and insight to such a geographically diverse student population. As a student, you get to share ideas with peers who bring greatly varied backgrounds to to the discussions. Online study groups are fascinating!
For professionals interested in making online education a professional discipline you may want to look in on an organization called WAOE. I've belonged to this international association, WAOE (World Association for Online Education) for many years and have found it to be a wonderful consortium of educators from around the world, who collaborate on discussion and research in best practices, on wide range of global online education projects. Due to time constraints lately, I mostly lurk and absorb knowledge from the discussion list, but I highly recommend this wonderful virtual community. There are quite a few well known educators in WAOE, but the membership roster is only available to members, so no name dropping, sorry.
WAOE is an international nonprofit public benefit corporation (NPO), a virtual association of educators working to turn online education into a professional discipline."
WAOE is definitely worth checking out!
I downloaded the ebook, 834 Tips For Successful Online Instruction, and it is nice little ebook (71 pages in .PDF format) for instructors of online courses. Adobe Reader is necessary. To download a free copy click here: Adobe Reader Download - All versions. The price of the eBook and the Adobe Reader program can't be beat- FREE!
Published on Thursday, January 12, 2006 - 10:05 PM PST
The eLearning Guild announced the publication of a free e-Book titled "834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction." The tips were compiled from a survey the Guild conducted in 2005 resulted in the submission from 336 e-Learning professionals.
"I was amazed by the degree to which comments from hundreds of contributors converged into a set of coherent professional knowledge," said Bill Brandon, Senior Editor. "For example, contributors identified four instructor skills as critical to success; as far as I am aware, no individual writer or consultant has previously highlighted just these four skills. In the same way, the responses illuminated four selection factors that every manager of e-Learning must consider before assigning an instructor to a virtual classroom. This is an amazing accomplishment by our contributors."
"As organizations offer an increasing number of classes online, many traditional classroom instructors face the challenge of adapting their skills and techniques for the virtual classroom. '834 Tips for Successful Online Instruction' offers an extensive set of best practices that will prove invaluable for e-instructors," said Jack Chawla, Director, WebEx Training Center. "Loaded with practical advice from experienced e-Learning practitioners, this e-book will be an indispensable addition to any training professional's toolkit."
So if you haven't taken any online courses, now is as good a time as any to jump onboard the Information Super Highway and get up to speed. In previous posts I discussed a number of sources of free online classes. You can get your feet wet there and then move on to bigger and greater endeavors!
If you are currently teaching onine courses please share your expertise!
Whether you are a teacher or student, fasten your seat belt and hit the pedal to the metal. You're on your way!
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